Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nintendo's Miyamoto scuttles 'retirement' talk

By Kyle Orlanda

Legendary Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto — creator of long-running series including Donkey Kong, Mario and The Legend of Zelda — set off a bit of a firestorm Wednesday evening when a Wired report quoted him as saying he was planning on giving up his current, executive oversight role with the company in favor of a more hands-on approach to developing smaller, more pesonal games.a

“Inside our office, I’ve been recently declaring, ‘I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire,’” Miyamoto said in the Wired report, referring to his current position at the company.a

Nintendo’s Japanese stock dropped 2 percent on the news before Nintendo put out an official retraction, stressing in part that “Shigeru Miyamoto's role at Nintendo is not changing” and that his future priorities are “inclusive of overseeing all video game development and ensuring the quality of all products.”a

Now, in an interview with’s In-Game, Miyamoto has repeated that assurance and clarified how he says his statements were misinterpreted.a

“There is no plan to retire. I have no intention to retire,” he said through an interpreter. “And probably they won’t allow me to retire,” he continued, before quickly noting that this last part was a joke.a

But what about that Wired quote that has him saying “I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire”?a

“What I really meant by this was that people have to retire someday, sometime, and I am not the exception at all,” Miyamoto said. “The company really has to get prepared for that kind of thing.”a

Miyamoto added that he’s long used mentions of his eventual retirement as a sort of motivational tool for his staff.a

“It’s not just quite recently, actually, but for many years now I’ve been repeatedly telling this to the team at Nintendo so they can be more responsible,” he said. “So they can take on more important assignments and take the initiative to make quality games to finalize and commercialize for the company.”a

“In that process, I say ‘You’ve got to be prepared for the time I’m going to retire,’” he continued. “In other words, I was spurring the younger developers to take on more important assignments.”a


“As a matter of fact, when we look at the most recent work from the teams I’m supervising, games like Super Mario 3D Land and Skyward Sword, they were shaping up quite nicely, so I think they are coming very very close to what I want these teams to be. This is the thing I was trying to tell,” he said.a

Looking ahead to that future retirement, which Miyamoto again stressed was not coming anytime soon, the designer said he was confident his team would continue to create the kind of experience Nintendo is known for.a

“That is a feeling (I have) that they are growing up so that sometime, someday, if I needed to retire, they are going to carry on the ultimate responsibilities — they are going to make Nintendo-quality games,” he said.a

“After all, a game is not made by one single person,” he continued. ”It is the result that reflects on the entire ability of the team. Now I think I have some meaning being involved in any development team.”a

“The question is, if I’m out of there, what sort of ability will the entire team be able to exercise? My impression is they are growing up today so that they are going to be able to make something really great without me,” he said.a

More from In Game’s wide-ranging interview with Miyamoto will appear here sometime next week.a

More video games newsa

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