One question on a many Nintendo fan’s mind as Shigeru Miyamoto — the creator of Mario, Zelda, Pikmin, etc. — is now age 71, when will he retire? According to him in a recent The Guardian interview, he will never retire… not until he falls over at least, he says with a smile. 😀
Is Shigeru Miyamoto Retired?
To quote Miyamoto-san about video games:
When asked if he’s ever tempted to retire, he replied he has no plans to do so, because he still loves what he does. “More so than retiring, I’m thinking about the day I fall over,” he says, with a smile. “In this day and age you have to think about things in a five-year timespan, so I do think about who I can pass things on to, in case something does happen.”
“I’m really thankful that there is so much energy around things that I have worked on. These are things that have already gone out into the world … they’ve been cultivated by others, other people have been raising them, helping them grow, so in that sense I don’t feel too much ownership over them any more.”
But Shigeru Miyamoto is still synonymous with Nintendo, and with its fun-first approach to games (and life). Even if he did retire, nobody would forget his influence – not that he sees it that way… “There is a scene in Iron Man where the president goes to his own company and the guard man doesn’t let him in, and he points at the portrait and says: ‘That’s me!’” he laughs. “But I really hope that the teams I work with, at least, remember me as the creator of these things!”
Does Shigeru Miyamoto Still Make Games?
So does Shigeru Miyamoto still make games? Yes, but only as a projects overseer. Formally that role would be called Executive Producer.
Nintendo creative Shinya Takahashi answered that question back in a 2019 interview, where he commented on Shigeru Miyamoto’s role at Nintendo largely involving passing judgment on new prototypes.
To quote Shinya Takahashi about Shigeru Miyamoto’s recent work on games:
“He is not involved in the minute details of development, but does oversee entire projects from the prototyping stage to full development and identifies major issues: ‘This part is bad, this part is bad, THIS part is bad!’” he says, with a smile. “If he says something’s good, it’s rare. He’s actually a shy person; even when he thinks something is well done, he would not often say that to someone directly.”
Development at Nintendo now is intergenerational, with people who grew up with Mario or Zelda or Animal Crossing now working on those games alongside their original designers, who are still at Nintendo.
To quote Miyamoto-san about non-video game projects like movies:
Throughout his 45 years at the company, Shigeru Miyamoto has always kept doing new things. In the past 10 years, he’s been more involved with Nintendo’s efforts outside video games, from Universal Studios’ Super Nintendo World theme parks to Illumination’s Super Mario Bros Movie, which was a huge billion-dollar hit this year.
“[These days] I don’t think of myself as a game designer. I’m about finding unique opportunities for Nintendo. The way things work here is that, more so than having a plan and following it, we come across certain things and from there, we try to find our own new path. The movies, the amusement parks, I’m excited to see what kind of organic things result from those … I’m still very new to [the movie] industry and I’m still learning, but I’m trying to read a lot of scripts these days and learn about how they are developed, to see how we can create uniquely Nintendo films.”
Oh? You want to read more about Shigeru Miyamoto? We got you covered! Keep reading…
Back at E3 2015, Nintendo released many interesting behind-the-scenes interviews with Shigeru Miyamoto that Josh covered. Here you can check out these archived interviews about the creation of Super Mario Bros & Super Mario Maker as well as the making of Star Fox & Star Fox Zero.