In an exclusive interview with Wired, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, the man responsible for most of your childhood videogame memories, is retiring. Well, retiring from his former position. He wishes to pass the torch for the larger games like The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and the recent Mario games to other developers in the company and focus on projects that he describes as “really small.” A good example he cites is that he wants to “start work on a project in 2012, and hopefully show the game off publicly within the year.”
UPDATE 1: According to a statement issued by Nintendo, Miyamoto’s words have been misinterpreted and he’s not going anywhere: “Video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto’s role at Nintendo is not changing. He will continue to be a driving force in Nintendo’s development efforts. In discussing his priorities at Nintendo in a media interview, Mr Miyamoto explained how he is encouraging the younger developers at the company to take more initiative and responsibility for developing software. 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.”
UPDATE 2: Nintendo has further clarified Miyamoto’s statements. The company told Bloomberg that Miyamoto’s “role should be more or less the same, as he oversees development as a chief producer,” however he will reduce his actual involvement in making video games to train the younger developers.
I get the feeling that Nintendo and Miyamoto have been leaning towards this for a while. Nintendo seems to want deeper experiences, but Miyamoto is a toy designer at heart and wants the experience to be simpler. The best example of this is the contrast between the experience of games like the Miyamoto produced Metroid Prime games which had a heavy focus on story and games like Super Mario Galaxy 2, which Miyamoto wrote and did away with the story entirely as he felt that the original Super Mario Galaxy had “too much plot.” Mind you, I do not think this is a bad thing, but one always has to wonder what the new games in Miyamoto’s various series will look like with their original creator removed from them.
Regardless of his position in the company he will still be making games, they will just be smaller ones. It is hard to feel like this isn’t the right move for both Nintendo and Miyamoto, and we will certainly be keeping an eye on Nintendo to see how they react to this news.