Satoru Iwata was not your average CEO. He was a talented programmer, an honorable leader, and the beloved face of the company. When he tragically passed away in 2015, the gaming community responded with a flood of beautiful tributes. Years later, we’re reminded of him every time a new Nintendo Direct airs. Countless people miss him dearly, but few truly feel his absence like Shigeru Miyamoto.
The legendary Nintendo developer was a long-time friend and co-worker of Iwata. Miyamoto was older and had been in the business longer, but Iwata eventually became his boss. Despite this, there was never any bad blood between the two, and they remained close friends after Iwata’s promotion.
Normally, if someone younger than yourself with fewer years of experience becomes president, it might be difficult to get along with each other, but it was never like that. It had always been obvious that he was more suited for the position (than me), so it never became a problem. I think it allowed us to naturally become true friends.
As their friendship grew, the two regularly went out to eat together. On Mondays, the two would get lunch, and Miyamoto would share ideas he had thought up over the weekend. According to EarthBound creator Shigesato Itoi, these Monday lunches were one of Iwata’s favorite things. Although Miyamoto believes that Iwata did plenty to ensure the company’s success after his passing, he still misses those Monday lunches dearly.
Since he passed away, Nintendo has been doing just fine. He left many words and structures that live on in the work of our younger employees today. 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.
We feel you, Miyamoto. Many Nintendo fans will never stop missing Satoru Iwata. But we’re thankful for all the wonderful memories we have of him. And we know he’d be happy to see how successful the Switch, one of his final ideas, has become.