He began to produce and direct games, and became responsible for approving new character models. His style seeks to keep games accessible while still adding increasing levels of complexity. His work sticks to older mainstays of the series, including a focus on handheld game consoles and 2D graphics. His music draws inspiration from the work of modern celebrated composers like Dmitri Shostakovich, though he used the Super Mario series as a model of good video game composition.
His video game ideas are generally drawn from everyday life and observation. Life Masuda was born January 12, 1968 in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. As a child, his family often vacationed in Kyūshū, where many of his relatives still live. There he spent his time catching fish and insects, an act that later influenced his video game design. Masuda modeled the Pokémon series' Hoenn Region after Kyūshū in an attempt to recapture his memories of summers there.
In high school, Masuda played the trombone; he soon discovered classical music, and was drawn in by works like The Rite of Spring and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. Masuda attended the Japan Electronics College, a technical school in Shinjuku, Tokyo, where he studied computer graphics and C programming language using a DEC Professional. His daughter Kiri was born in September 2002; he named a character in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire after her. Masuda has worked at Game Freak since the company's inception in 1989. Masuda has been involved in every title that Game Freak has ever produced, and was one of the original developers of the Pokémon series, beginning with Pokémon Red and Green.
He now serves as a member of the Game Freak board of directors. He was first hired to compose and program video games. His first game at Game Freak was Mendel Palace, a puzzle game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Next, he worked on Smart Ball, and then on Yoshi, the company's first collaboration with Nintendo. When the company first began releasing Pokémon titles, Masuda worked mainly as the composer, though he did minor programming work as well, and later began directing and producing them.
His work on the first games included writing the program to play audio in the games, music, and sound effects. He directed and composed the music for Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, and produced Pokémon Platinum. He also produced Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Masuda has been directly involved in the naming and design of many Pokémon. He has stated that one of the hardest aspects of design is making sure that a Pokémon's name and attributes will appeal to a global audiences.
Since Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, Masuda has been one of the main employees who approve or reject designs for new Pokémon. Most characters take around six months to design, while more central ones take more than a year. His favorite Pokémon is Pichu, his favorite type is the Water type, and his favorite move is the Water type Surf. He also oversaw the composition of the Pokémon Stadium level music in Super Smash Bros Brawl.
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