Masahiro Sakurai, the lead developer behind Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros franchise has broke his silence regarding the recent passing of Nintendo CEO & President, Satoru Iwata.
In speaking with Famitsu (Thanks for the translation Kotaku), Sakurai revealed that Iwata was one of the main reasons that he received his job over at HAL Laboratory and became so involved with Nintendo’s gaming process. ““Our positions and locations changed throughout our long association.” Sakurai said. He was the best superior I ever had and a man who understood me better than anyone.”
Masahiro Sakurai began talking about what kind of a man Satoru Iwata was in five ways:
He was a man of virtue. Where a normal person would get annoyed or angry, he would never show such emotions and would instead analyse, organise, and offer ideas. He was someone who could bow his head and apologise for things that weren’t his fault. I often worried about his stress levels, but he always talked with a smile.
He had a brilliant mind. Even when people would talk at length or without focus he was able to quickly say, “so, what you’re trying to say is…” and quickly summarise their point. He was able to see to the heart of people and things and was a master of simplifying them so that anyone could understand their point. He could immediately make a call on changes to improve. I have no doubt that many people were saved by this quality.
He was a man of effort. Even though he didn’t start out in the managing field, he read numerous management books, he would ask for advice from the necessary people that he would take to heart, and managed to become the president of Nintendo. What he gained from his years as a programmer allowed him to take many long-term projects to successful fruition.
He was open and generous. Things like his Iwata Asks, and Nintendo Directweren’t things that necessarily required the president of Nintendo to stand at the front and do. There was always the risk of frivolous criticism. And yet, by being the spokesperson, I believe he showed the importance of properly conveying a message to his audience.
He was empathetic. After he became the president of Nintendo, he would write emails to all employees to communicate and as hard as it was, took a stance to try to treat everyone as equals. He would often ask third parties to see how people were doing. As an individual, he had no self-righteous qualities.
Sakurai’s last memories of Iwata was described as a car ride for a business trip back in January: ““It was this past January. I had dinner with Mr. Iwata at a Tokyo hotel and then drove him to Narita International Airport for a business trip to Seattle. He was still very healthy after his surgery and happily said, ‘I’ve recovered enough that I can eat this much meat!’ During the drive, we talked and laughed about many things.”
When we reported on this article on July 12th, 2015, we were, and still are, deeply saddened by the fact that the gaming industry has lost a major symbol who we all looked up to.
From the bottom of our hearts at InformedPixel, #ThankYouIwata.