Shigeru Miyamoto Is (Not?) Stepping Down [Updated]

The father of Mario and Zelda says he's leaving leaving his job, but Nintendo says otherwise.

Update: Investors responded negatively today to Shigeru Miyamoto’s statement to Wired that he was leaving his position as the head of game design at Nintendo’s legendary Entertainment Analysis & Design (EAD) studio. In response to its stocks falling off 2 percent, Nintendo went into immediate damage control claiming that their superstar designer was not in fact vacating his position.

“This is absolutely not true,” a spokeswoman for Nintendo informed Reuters. “There seems to have been a misunderstanding. He has said all along that he wants to train the younger generation.

“He has no intention of stepping down,” she continued. “Please do not be concerned.”

That sounds clear cut, but so did Shigeru Miyamoto’s words (see original story below). Is it possible that the man is indeed stepping aside and Nintendo simply doesn’t want anyone to know about it. It’s certainly possible. There’s no question that it would be in their best interest to keep stamping his name on everything: his is one of the elite few names in entertainment software that can entice gamers to make a purchase simply because he is attached to the project.

On the other hand, it’s also possible that Miyamoto just misspoke or his translator misinterpreted his words or meaning. It’s difficult not to feel skeptical in regards to that scenario, though; because the man is incredibly intelligent and is plenty capable of conveying his situation on his own, Furthermore, it’s not exactly as if the Big N hasn’t been utilizing translators for decades. What you have here is a crystal clear answer from a smart man delivered by what is presumably a highly qualified translator. It just doesn’t add up.

Yet another possibility here is that investors just read “Miyamoto is retiring…” and assumed the rest on their own. The publisher’s stock value then fell off and the brass in Kyoto scrambled to release these statements merely to assuage fears based on a half-truth that their most valuable employee was walking away from the game.

Nintendo stuck to its guns, however, telling Eurogamer that, “He attempted to convey his priorities moving forward, inclusive of overseeing all video game development and ensuring the quality of all products. Mr. Miyamoto also discussed his desire to pursue fresh ideas and experiences of the kind that sparked his initial interest in video games.”

Only another statement from the usually trustworthy Miyamoto is likely to completely clear up this mess that Nintendo has on its hands. For now, gamers are left to play “he said, she said.”

Original Story: A day that every gamer from Generations X and Y has long feared is here. The man who created Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Star Fox, and Pikmin is leaving his current position at Nintendo behind. Before you completely panic, know that he is not completely retiring from being a Nintendo designer. Speaking with Wired, the man who is just about unarguably the most ingenious game designer the world has yet produced said that he will only be working on smaller projects that require less time to develop.

“Inside our office, I’ve been recently declaring, ‘I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire,'” Miyamoto, 59, told Wired. “I’m not saying that I’m going to retire from game development altogether. What I mean by retiring is, retiring from my current position.” So he will continue to work on making games, but his days of managing the development of blockbusters like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword seem to be at an end.

Interestingly, he went on to say that his desire is to be at the “forefront of game development once again myself. Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small.”

That should come as good news to Nintendo detractors who have complained that the Miyamoto and the company in general has been low on original game ideas since his last major new IP, Pikmin, debuted on the GameCube. Also encouraging is the revelation that he plans to begin his next project in 2012 and show it to the public within one year.

“Anyway, I’m interested in doing a variety of many other things,” he said in closing.

There’s no telling what the famed director and producer who is known for concocting game ideas based upon his hobbies will bring us next. It’s also impossible to say how Nintendo’s EAD studio will fare without his watchful gaze. Here’s hoping they both bring us some of those “strange and wonderful things” you may recall hearing about in A Link to the Past.

[Sources: Reuters Eurogamer and Wired]

[Image via Total Video Games.]

Nick Santangelo
Nick Santangelo
Nick Santangelo

MASH Veteran

Nick has been a gamer since the 8-bit days and a member of the MTB editorial team since January of 2011. He is not to be interrupted while questing his way through an RPG or desperately clinging to hope against all reason that his Philly sports teams will win any given game he may be watching. Seriously folks, reading this acknowledges that you relieve MTB of any and all legal liability for his actions.

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