From the moment Donkey Kong first appeared in arcades back in 1981, Nintendo’s fortunes have been intimately tied to the creative vision of one man: Shigeru Miyamoto. No wonder then that Miyamoto’s recent interview with Wired’s Chris Kohler — in which the superstar game designer announced his intention to “retire” — has caused such a stir.
Though Nintendo was quick to refute the claim, news that Miyamoto would step down to focus on the development of smaller games that he could make himself caused the company’s stock to drop 2%. Nintendo has suggested that Miyamoto’s remarks, as reported by Wired, may have been the result of a “misunderstanding.”
Further complicating the story, yesterday an interview with Miyamoto appeared in the Wall Street Journal, and his latest comments appear to directly contradict the Wired post.
“We have to construct the structure so that the organization so that it can make it without me. I should also admit that it might be better without me; I mean that a different approach and different talent might emerge, though I shouldn’t dwell on this because then the article might indeed say ‘Mr. Miyamoto is thinking about retiring,’ because that is not the case.”
Given Nintendo’s insistence that “Miyamoto’s role at Nintendo is not changing,” can the whole affair really be attributed to information that was, quite literally, lost in translation? Absolutely not, according to Kohler.
Speaking with G4TV.com, Kohler strongly defends the accuracy of his story.
“Miyamoto’s comments as presented in our story are exactly what Miyamoto said, and presented with the full context of his remarks. We are absolutely standing by those statements as reported.”
Kohler goes on to note that translation duties for the interview were handled by Yasuhiro Minagawa, longtime translator for Miyamoto.
“It is Nintendo’s translator, not ours.”
So what is the real story here? Nintendo is resolute in its stance that Miyamoto has no intention of stepping down. But then, what other position could the company take? Miyamoto’s value to Nintendo simply can not be overstated, a point made extraordinarily clear by the stock price drop that followed the Wired interview.
At the same time, there is no reason to doubt the veracity or accuracy of the Wired interview. While it admittedly seems an odd venue for Miyamoto to announce a change in roles, who knows what he had in mind during the interview? Could he have been trying to accelerate a transition that had already been agreed to? What do you think?
The upside, of course, is that whatever went down, Miyamoto is still at Nintendo, still working on games. For now, that will just have to be enough.
Ranters, what’s your take on the Miyamoto/Nintendo/Wired situation?
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