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Game Freak teams with Private Division in what marks the Pokemon developer's first collaboration with a western publisher.

Justin Carter

May 9, 2023

2 Min Read
Concept art for Game Freak's announced game project with Private Division showing a character in the woods.

Private Division has a new development partner, and its name is Game Freak. The longtime Pokémon developer has teamed with Take-Two's indie publishing label to release its first non-Pokemon game in four years. 

It also marks the studio's first collaboration with a western publisher in its 34-year lifetime. The partnership isn't entirely dissimilar to Electronic Arts' recent team up with Japanese publisher Koei Tecmo and its subsidiary Omega Force, which led to Wild Hearts earlier in the year. 

Currently known as Project Bloom, Game Freak described the project as a "brand-new action-adventure IP." In a press release, director Kota Furushima further called it "bold and tonally different from our prior work."

Private Division is best known as the publisher of Obsidian Entertainment's The Outer Worlds, and more recently Roll 7's Rollerdrome. Furushima added that the publisher's previous work, along with its "global expertise, give us all the confidence to create a sweeping new action-adventure game that we can’t wait to share more about in the future.”

Similarly, Private Division head Michael Worosz said the company would "help Game Freak unleash their potential and we’re honored to be the first Western publisher to work alongside this exceptionally talented and proven team to bring a bold new IP to market.”

Game Freak may need to do some branching out 

It may be known for releasing a new Pokémon game (or expansion) on a semi-annual basis, but Game Freak has occasionally released its own original games over the years. One of the most well-known was 2013's Pocket Card Jockey (recently ported to mobile), and the most recent was 2019's Little Town Hero. 

Doing a franchise for decades naturally leads to a desire to branch out, and Game Freak may want to be known as more than "the Pokémon studio." One way to do that would be working with a modestly-sized publisher like Private Division.

Because Game Freak's had a grip on the popular culture for so long, that means whenever Project Bloom arrives, the game will almost certainly garner attention.

More importantly, having a new, non-Nintendo project on its hands hopefully means that the developers will have the time needed to avoid another Pokémon Scarlet & Violet situation. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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