Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s Global President since 2002, has sadly passed away today from cancer at the unfortunately young age of 55.
While to the business world, he may have just been another president of a billion dollar company, he was something truly special to the close fans of Nintendo. As the public face of nearly every Nintendo Direct for the past 4 years and E3 conferences before then, Mr. Iwata has undoubtedly had a unique connection to Nintendo fans, in a similar way to the late Steve Jobs and the famous Apple keynotes of the past.
Unlike many presidents of large companies, he was not simply a businessman, but rather a computer programmer who started at Nintendo working at HAL Laboratory on classic games including the original Kirby games. This strange background for the CEO of a massive company like Nintendo gave him a unique perspective on how to run the company and understanding the woes of game development, while sitting at the top.
Nintendo’s flag is of course at half-mast today pic.twitter.com/QpIJPK7bwB
— Dylan Cuthbert (@dylancuthbert) July 13, 2015
Related to this background, one of the most significant parts of Mr. Iwata’s recorded legacy is the long series of developer interviews he conducted over the years called Iwata Asks. These fantastic interviews by him have offered an inside look at the development of many Nintendo titles, including Animal Crossing.
As we mourn the loss of Mr. Iwata today, I urge you to take some time out of your day to read through the Iwata Asks interviews for both Animal Crossing: City Folk and Animal Crossing: New Leaf, even if you’re read them before.
Also, a fantastic article has been published by The Verge summarising Mr. Iwata’s impact and contributions to Nintendo over the years that I highly recommend reading. You can find that here.
As both a big Nintendo fan, and someone who has been reporting on their news for years now, it certainly will be strange without Iwata around anymore. His presence will definitely be missed. Thank you for everything. We’ll miss you dearly. <3