A new book published to celebrate the life of Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s late president who passed away in 2015, includes a series of touching personal insights from Shigeru Miyamoto.
The book, simply titled Iwata-san, is currently only available in Japanese. Translated excerpts have today been been published by IGN.
“To me, he was a friend more than anything,” Miyamoto said. “It never felt like he was my boss or that I was working under him. He never got angry; we never fought about anything.”
Iwata and Miyamoto first met when the former chief was still running Kirby and Smash Bros. studio HAL Laboratory. One early encounter Miyamoto recalls is the first time the two went for dinner. Both men had been working late into the night, and decided to go get ramen.
“Nintendo doesn’t pay for social expenses, so we had to go Dutch on the bill,” Miyamoto said. “That became a tradition that lasted even after he became company president and I became an executive.”
Often, these lunches were used to discuss Miyamoto’s next idea for a game.
“[Iwata] left many words and structures that live on in the work of our younger employees today,” Miyamoto continued. “The only problem is that, if there is some good-for-nothing idea I come up with over the weekend, I have no one to share it with the next Monday.
“That I can no longer hear him say ‘Oh, about that thing…’ is a bit of a problem for me. It makes me sad.”
The book also includes insights from Shigesato Itoi, creator of Earthbound, who also knew Iwata well.
“On the day of Iwata’s funeral, it rained in torrents, and Miyamoto and I were waiting around,” Itoi said. “Suddenly I decided to ask him how much chance Iwata himself had believed he had to be cured.
“Miyamoto responded immediately, in a very natural manner. ‘He totally believed that he would become better. He didn’t have the slightest intention to die.’ That answer made me realise just how close Miyamoto and Iwata were, and to what extent they understood each other.”
Again, there’s more over at IGN.
Satoru Iwata’s death in July 2014, aged just 55, sparked an outpouring of tributes from fans and messages of condolence from across the video game industry.
“For the players of Nintendo’s games,” Eurogamer’s Martin Robinson wrote at the time, “they have lost someone who, through his direct approach and his self-identification as a gamer at heart, they came to consider a friend. The legacy of fun that came through Iwata’s illustrious career shall remain with them.”