Pokemon developer 'humbled' by 23 years of fan support

Game Freak offers thanks for your dedication to catching 'em all.

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Sean Keane
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Pokemon developer Game Freak received a bouquet of flowers, Pikachu and Eevee to celebrate 23 years of the games.

Game Freak Facebook

It was easy to forget amid the unveiling of Pokemon Sword and Shield for Nintendo Switch, but Wednesday also marked the 23rd anniversary of the entire game series.

Developer Game Freak marked the occasion with a Facebook post thanking fans for sticking with Pokemon for so long. It's in Japanese, but NintendoSoup kindly translated.

"Today, Feb. 27, 2019, marks 23 years since… the day Pokemon Red and Green launched in Japan. We as a company are deeply moved by this day, and are humbled by everyone's support. We truly thank you for your support," the developer said in the post.

Pokemon Red and Blue's most memorable moments

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The developer posted the message with a shot of flowers it got from The Pokemon Company, which manages the overall brand. Sitting among the flowers are Pikachu and Eevee, in little outfits from Pokemon Let's Go (the most recent game in the series). The bouquet is currently sitting at the entrance of its office in Tokyo.

Junichi Masuda, the series' director, tweeted his own message (translated by Nick Mosier) marking the 1996 debut. 

"Since then, it's expanded to manga, anime, all kinds of products, and even went worldwide. Everyone's support made a day like today possible and I'm nothing but thankful. Thank you for your continued support!" he tweeted.

Since Pokemon is so strongly associated with Nintendo, it's easy to forget about Game Freak. But its work is the bedrock of the franchise, having guided Pokemon through eight generations of games from Game Boy to the Switch.

Sword and Shield are due to arrive in late 2019.

Game Freak, take a bow -- then get back to working on Sword and Shield, please.

Originally published Feb. 28 at 6 a.m. PT.
Update, 6:24 a.m.: Adds Junichi Masuda's tweet.

Watch this: Nintendo shows latest Pokemon game, Sword and Shield