The internet was buzzing earlier today with news that Shigeru Miyamoto would be retiring from his current role as head of game design for Nintendo. The iconic videogame super-producer’s achievements run through the recorded history of modern gaming, including the creation of Super Mario, Legend of Zelda, Pikmin, Nintendogs, and countless other franchises. In what appeared to be a shocker to the industry, Miyamoto told Wired that he’d been talking about retiring. “What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself,” Miyamoto told Wired, adding, “I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small.”
On the scale of pop culture retirement, though, what could have been a Gene Hackman turned out to be a mere Steven Soderbergh. EW reached out to Nintendo of America and received the following statement:
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.
Looking back at the initial interview, Miyamoto never actually described any intention to leave the company — it sounds more as if he wants to get back into the trenches, like Captain Kirk in Wrath of Khan. Thanks to new technologies and new downloadable delivery methods — smartphones, console media services, Flash games on the internet — we’re currently in the early stages of a fruitful Renaissance in smaller independent games. It could be that Miyamoto wants to take a more active role in creating some of those smaller-scale games.
The timing of his statements is also intriguing, coming just as Nintendo is preparing to debut the new Wii U console next year. I’ll be sure to ask Miyamoto for his thoughts about Nintendo’s future (and his own) when I speak with the man himself tomorrow. (That is, if I can somehow prevent myself from only asking questions about The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.)
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