Despite What You Might Have Thought You Read, Nintendo Would Like You to Know That Legendary Game Designer Shigeru Miyamoto is Not Retiring

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By Steve Delahoyde Comment

A high-profile controversy has bubbled up late this week in a fairly surprising place: game design. Earlier in the week, Wired conducted an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, the legendary Nintendo designer responsible for titles like Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda. Therein, the magazine seemed to grab a red hot exclusive in learning that Miyamoto was planning to retire, leaving Nintendo to go work on his own, perhaps start something like a new game company on his own. However, by yesterday, the game company was on serious damage control, adamantly denying, as their shares on the stock market fell because of the news, that there was any truth to it whatsoever. Turns out, it was perhaps all just a mix of a fairly devious headline on Wired‘s part (“Nintendo’s Miyamoto Stepping Down, Working on Smaller Games”), and an audience who perhaps didn’t read beyond it, or didn’t quite get what he was trying to say in the rest of the piece. In it, Miyamoto fairly clearly states that he’s merely using threats of retirement to encourage younger developers to realize he won’t always be there and they’ll need to start doing some innovating of their own. “The reason why I’m stressing that is that unless I say that I’m retiring, I cannot nurture the young developers,” he tells the magazine. So while he might be making a move within Nintendo, the designer, unless he’s pulling a Will Alsop-style bait and switch, isn’t moving away just yet.