Mario creator teases retirement

The video game industry’s top developer seems ready to step back from game making. Miyamoto

Shiergu Miyamoto, creator of Donkey Kong, Mario and The Legend of Zelda, has told Wired.com that he plans to step away from major game development and focus instead on smaller projects and training younger developers. He does not, however, plan to leave the company.

“Inside our office, I’ve been recently declaring, ‘I’m going to retire, I’m going to retire,'” Miyamoto said. “I’m not saying that I’m going to retire from game development altogether. What I mean by retiring is, retiring from my current position. … What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself. 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.”

The news came as a shock to gamers (who expected Miyamoto to be with the company forever) and apparently for Nintendo as well. The company’s shares fell 2 percent Thursday and it quickly went into damage control mode as reports that Miyamoto was retiring fully made the rounds.

“This is absolutely not true,” a Nintendo spokesperson told Reuters. “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.”

Miyamoto has been critical to Nintendo’s success over the past 30 years, having a hand in virtually every major hit game the company has put out, from the arcade standard Donkey Kong to Super Mario 3 (which sold more than 18 million copies) to this year’s critical hit The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.