An excerpt from an upcoming Wired interview with legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto has revealed that the long-standing Nintendo personality plans to step down from his current position supervising the development of the company’s major releases. He will refocus his efforts on smaller titles with younger teams and a quicker development cycle.
“Inside our office, I’ve been recently declaring, ‘I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire,’” Miyamoto told Wired through an interpreter, a statement that might have caused alarm bells to start ringing in the minds of gamers everywhere. Thankfully, he went on to clarify, “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.”
Miyamoto, who recently celebrated his 59th birthday, is one of the most lauded game designers in the history of the industry. Thirty years ago, he was responsible for repurposing unsold Nintendo arcade cabinets into the game Donkey Kong, catapulting the firm into the world of video games. Since then, he has been responsible for masterminding a number of legendary franchises: Mario, Zelda, F-Zero, and Star Fox among them.
Despite this, Miyamoto says he feels comfortable moving away from his creations, in part because of the success recent titles such as Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword have enjoyed despite his limited involvement.
The reason for his repeated claims of retirement is in order to prepare his fellow developers for a future in which he is no longer around to give orders:
After all, if I’m there in my position as it is, then there’s always kind of a relationship. And the young guys are always kind of in a situation where they have to listen to my ideas. But I need some people who are growing up much more than today.
Miyamoto plans to begin working on a new title with his smaller development team in 2012 and hopes to have something tangible to show off by he end of the year. “What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself,” he said regarding his new position.
What do you think about the future of franchises like Mario and Zelda without Miyamoto’s supervision? Are you excited about what he has in store now that he’s back in a position at the head of development? Let us know in the comments!
[UPDATE] Reuters is reporting that Nintendo has released a statement denying reports that Miyamoto plans to step down. A Nintendo spokeswoman is quoted as saying, “This is absolutely not true. 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. Please do not be concerned.”
Nintendo’s shares dropped 2 percent yesterday following Wired’s article, which might have been the impetus for this new denial. Further clarification is hopefully forthcoming.