Fri. Mar 31st, 2023
Satoru Iwata, 1959-2015.

Satoru Iwata, 1959-2015.

Nintendo of Japan issued a statement on Sunday confirming the death of the company’s longtime president, Satoru Iwata, on Saturday.

The short statement, which was also posted on Nintendo’s Japanese Twitter accountsimply stated that the 55-year-old died “as a result of a bile duct growth”. Neither the company nor Iwata had spoken about his health issues since the president had to skip the Electronic Entertainment Expo in 2014; as Kotaku reported last year, Iwata himself eventually responded to fans’ concerns about his apparently deteriorating appearance by telling them that he was “progressing well”.

Iwata has been a member of the Nintendo development community since joining game studio subsidiary HAL Laboratory in the early 1980s, where he worked on such famous franchises as Kirby, Earthboundand Balloon fight. In 2002, he succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi, the company’s president during its rise as a video game company. Iwata successfully led the company into its incredible Wii era. In more recent years, he responded to concerns about disappointing Wii U sales by taking a pay cut.

Kyle Orland van Ars, writing for Gamasutra, reported on a key Iwata speech in 2011 about the president’s development and leadership philosophy and overcoming jealousy of fellow developer Shigeru Miyamoto. “Mr. Miyamoto taught me a painful lesson: content, actually is king,” Iwata said to the audience at that year’s Game Developer Conference enormous margin. I then found out that engineering is not as important as imagination. Frankly, I was ashamed.”

In recent years, Iwata has been emphatically engaged in direct and personal interaction with the audience. He made English-language announcements in the company’s many Nintendo Direct videos and conducted lengthy developer interviews in the “Iwata Asks” series.

Nintendo’s statement named Genyo Takeda and Miyamoto as representative directors and senior executives, but it did not specify whether either of the men, or both, would serve as interim presidents in the meantime. No statement regarding Iwata’s death has yet been posted by Nintendo’s US branch on its dedicated press site or official Twitter account.

To update: Legendary Nintendo game designer and Senior Managing Director Shigeru Miyamoto issued a brief statement this morning regarding Iwata’s death. “I am really surprised and saddened by this unexpected news,” said Miyamoto. “The entire Nintendo development team will remain committed to our development policy that Mr. Iwata and we have established together and to deliver the development results that Mr. Iwata would appreciate.”

Nintendo of Europe President Satoru Shibata also issued a statement: “Nintendo of Europe today mourns the passing of Mr. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s Global President. It is difficult to put into words the sadness we feel at this time. Mr. Iwata was a strong leader, a unique figure in the gaming industry and an important part of Nintendo’s history. He was a visionary in every sense of the word and we will miss him dearly. Just as Mr. Iwata left us challenged to always move forward, we will ensure that his legacy lives on through our continued work to always delight and delight our fans. At this time, our thoughts are with his family.”

Nintendo of America tweeted an announcement that “In memory of Mr. Satoru Iwata, Nintendo will not post any messages to our social media channels today.”

And Earthbound developer Shigesato Itoi also wrote a blog post commemorating his long-standing partnership with Iwata, which is translated into English here:

I still can’t comprehend what happened. It feels like I could still get a light-hearted email asking me to lunch anytime — after you made sure lunch wouldn’t disrupt my schedule, of course.

You can invite me whenever you want. I also invite you.

So for now let’s plan to meet again. You can call me whenever you want, and I’ll call you too. I still have a lot to discuss with you, and if I come up with particularly good ideas I’ll let you know.

By akfire1

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