Home   >   News

Pokémon developer Game Freak’s first mobile exclusive is new IP, Pand Land

Game Freak and WonderPlanet "sometimes clashed" during development but ultimately "achieved balance" with this seafaring RPG
Pokémon developer Game Freak’s first mobile exclusive is new IP, Pand Land
  • Pand Land is an original IP and "maritime adventure RPG"
  • Game Freak leveraged WonderPlanet's mobile experience to create its first mobile-exclusive game
Stay Informed
Get Industry News In Your Inbox…
Sign Up Today

Pokémon developer Game Freak has launched a mobile-exclusive "maritime adventure RPG" in Japan called Pand Land.

The title marks a rare project for Game Freak as one disconnected from the Pokémon world, and is also the developer’s first-ever mobile exclusive. It sees players team up with as many as 400 friends to search the high seas for treasure.

Typically, Game Freak is tasked with creating main series Pokémon games on Nintendo hardware, and its occasional independent projects have tended to land on PC or console rather than mobile, marking out Pand Land as a bit of a first.

A maritime on mobile

In fact, until now Game Freak’s only representation on mobile has been through cross-platform games Pokémon Quest, Pocket Card Jockey, and Pocket Card Jockey: Ride On!

Being a relative newcomer to the mobile space after decades as a console dev, Game Freak designed Pand Land to be "like a console game, but an easy and simple game that can fit in one hand".

Pand Land released on Android and iOS yesterday, June 24th, and was co-developed and published by fellow Japanese studio WonderPlanet - known for Jumputi Heroes, Sonic Beat feat. Crash Fever, and the puzzle RPG Alice Fiction.

The team-up therefore allowed Game Freak to leverage WonderPlanet’s mobile experience and craft a game well-suited to a casual mobile audience, but without sacrificing the depth the Pokémon dev hoped when setting out to create the seafaring RPG.

However, this did incur the occasional clash between developers…

"This is a rare mobile title for Game Freak. We have been working hard to create a large-scale adventure like a console game, but an easy and simple game that can fit in one hand. It was a difficult challenge for us to take on alone, but with the help of Wonder Planet, who have a proven track record in mobile games, we were able to make this announcement," said Game Freak developer representative Masashi Saito.

"I would be happy if you could play the game while exchanging tips and tricks with your friends, like 'There was a dragon in the western sea' or 'There was a golden island at the edge of the east'."

WonderPlanet CPO Masaaki Sumi added: "A few years ago, when I first heard about the Pand Land project from Game Freak's Saito-san, I was thrilled. I was convinced that this game would embody WonderPlanet's mission: Bringing fun to everyday life all over the world.

"I can say this now, but it was very difficult to incorporate the concept of Pand Land into an operational mobile game, and I was worried about whether we could create an interesting game. Although we sometimes clashed with Game Freak, we discussed what Pand Land was aiming for, and we were able to achieve the balance between casualness and depth that both companies were aiming for."

Pand Land’s art direction is notably similar to Pokémon Quest’s - the only mobile Pokémon spinoff Game Freak has developed. While the studio is at the forefront of Pokémon’s console catalogue, when it comes to mobile games The Pokémon Company has worked with everyone from Tencent to DeNA to Niantic.