At the same media event where he expressed his desire for Nintendo to “challenge” Disney, Shigeru Miyamoto discussed how his approach has changed to managing the persona of his greatest creation, Mario. According to a Nikkei synopsis, Miyamoto tried for many years to maintain consistency and a specific style with Mario. This lent the character a welcome familiarity, but at the same time, Miyamoto conceded it also could cramp the character’s style.
Thus, he has loosened up on how he allows Mario to be portrayed over time:
This has inspired Miyamoto to avoid casting Mario too rigidly, giving him freedom to explore different character scenarios. “I’ve become more interested in creating greater opportunities for a larger audience to enjoy” the Mario world, Miyamoto says.
It is not just a sense of altruism that has guided Miyamoto. The approach ensures that Mario will not die with him, essentially leaving successive generations of creators with a template that can evolve with the times, just as Mickey Mouse has done long after the death of Walt Disney.
There are few things more awful than imagining a world without Shigeru Miyamoto, but that aside, it is comforting to know that his humble hero will outlive us all. That is what cultural icons do, and Mario is surely in safe hands with Nintendo.