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Shigeru Miyamoto Changing Roles at Nintendo [UPDATED]

Creator of Mario, Zelda to focus on making smaller games at the company. Or maybe not.

UPDATE: In a move that is perhaps unsurprising given the fact that Nintendo's stock dropped 2% following the spread of this story, Nintendo is now denying that Miyamoto's role is changing at all. The publisher sent out an official statement late last night to refute the quotes from the Wired story.

"This is absolutely not true," said a spokeswoman for Nintendo. "There seems to have been a misunderstanding. He has said all along that he wants to train the younger generation.

"He has no intention of stepping down. Please do not be concerned."

"Please do not be concerned" sounds exactly like the kind of thing you say when you're trying to soothe panicky investors. Another, later statement went even further, specifically stating that Miyamoto's role is not changing at all.

"Video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto's role at Nintendo is not changing. He will continue to be a driving force in Nintendo's development efforts. In discussing his priorities at Nintendo in a media interview, Mr. Miyamoto explained how he is encouraging the younger developers at the company to take more initiative and responsibility for developing software. He attempted to convey his priorities moving forward, inclusive of overseeing all video game development and ensuring the quality of all products. Mr. Miyamoto also discussed his desire to pursue fresh ideas and experiences of the kind that sparked his initial interest in video games."

The odds of this being a gigantic mistranslation during the interview don't seem great, when you consider that Miyamoto is rarely interviewed without several Nintendo reps flanking him. It's certainly possible that his role shift is not something that's happening in the immediate, and that his talk with Wired simply jumped the gun in making it known. Or maybe his translator really is just that bad. I don't know.

What I do know is that Nintendo would really, really like to continue saying that Shigeru Miyamoto is involved in developing all of their major franchises. And it seems like their stockholders would really, really like for them to continue saying that as well. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what Mr. Miyamoto says next.

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Shigeru Miyamoto is not retiring from game development, but things are definitely changing for gaming’s best known designer.

The creator of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda has been the guiding hand of Nintendo creative efforts for years, generally overseeing the company’s biggest projects.

Wired reports Miyamoto will be changing his role at Nintendo, remaining at the company but working on smaller projects, allowing some of the younger staff to step up their roles.

“What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself,” said Miyamoto. “Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small.”

Miyamoto said he expected to start on a new project in 2012, and will hopefully show his new creation off in the next year. He expressed interest in moving away from overly long development cycles.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen something truly personal from Miyamoto. Hey, maybe this is a good thing.

Patrick Klepek on Google+