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Why Miyamoto's Retirement Wouldn't Be a Bad Thing

Posted on Thursday, December 8 @ 10:46:45 PST by

It's Dangerous To Go Away! Take This!


Sure, if you asked any of Nintendo's stockholders, they'd probably react as violently as they did last night, dropping Nintendo's market value 3%. As important as Shigeru Miyamoto is to this industry and to many of gaming's beloved franchises, Nintendo's success no longer hinges on the fabled developer's next great idea.

In fact, I believe Nintendo would be stronger, more innovative, and more profitable if it learned to rely on the sum of its parts and not just the mind of one man in their organization.


Take The Legend of Zelda, for example. Sure, Miyamoto might nudge the production here and there, but the main man at the helm is no longer the father of Mario. Eiji Aonuma now leads development, and reviews of Skyward Sword suggest that he's not doing a bad job at all.

The same could be said of many developers in Nintendo's stable. How much does Miyamoto influence Retro Studios, arguably the best Western developers dealing with Japanese publishers today? Does Miyamoto butt-in when Masahiro Sakurai develops another Super Smash Bros. title?

It can be easy to write off the rest of Nintendo's organization. So many people did last night when Wired's interview broke, but allowing Miyamoto step away from EAD General Manager would mean others could come to the forefront.


In reality, the fabled developer isn't leaving Nintendo or retiring at all. Like anyone approaching 60-years old, he's ready for life to slow down and come full circle. Let the man enjoy smaller things in life. Don't forget that original idea like Pikmin came about because Miyamoto had the time to enjoy gardening. Some of Nintendo's best ideas come from the man when he has a moment to spare.

Leading so many projects and overseeing so many developers can't be good for his health, his mental well-being, or his creativity. As heartbreaking as it may be to realize, there will be a day when Miyamoto stops working and leaves Nintendo for good, but that doesn't mean he'll leave Mario, Zelda, or the company's hardware without good hands tending them and creating new ideas for new generations.


I've said this before, but it rings truer now than ever before. The most interesting ideas come from people who look at old things with fresh eyes. New talent will never hurt a brand or a character or a franchise. When things feel stale and bland and boring, it's time for someone else to look for the angle that will bring players back and reinvigorate their love for that old plumber with the red hat.

Miyamoto has lead the industry for years, creating new ideas, developing new ways to play with old characters and new. Lately, he's been the critic of others, helping them form their own creations. It wouldn't hurt for him to step back and allow them to grow on their own, while developing a few more revolutions we could call uniquely Miyamoto.
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