Games industry pays tribute to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata


Today brought the devastating news that Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has passed away. At the company’s headquarters in Kyoto, Japan, flags are flying at half-mast marking their respects for the sudden loss.

But while the games industry has been darkened by his loss, many have shared anecdotes of their interactions with a company president that had a remarkable and personable impact on those he encountered – I’ve tried to compile as many as I can find.

(Respective Japanese translations are courtesy of Cheesemeister3k, unless otherwise linked.)

Masahiro Sakurai

“Nintendo President Iwata has passed away. He was my boss at my last company, and even changing positions and locations he was the person who most understood me. As a hard worker and a virtuous person, he always quickly derived balanced summaries and proposals. I thought that he was the best possible leader. I pray for his happiness in the next world.”

Shigesato Itoi, EarthBound creator

“What I said about extinguishing lamps was in regards to the very bright Saturday. Now, I think that Iwata-san would say ‘Don’t make it dark, but live and enjoy today to its fullest.’ Of course, I will do so.”

Junichi Masuda, Game Freak

“Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo has passed away. He understood Pokemon well, and was an amazing leader. When I saw him the other day he looked healthy. From the bottom of my heart, may you rest in peace.”

Katsuhiro Harada, Bandai Namco Entertainment

“I heard the news right after getting back to Japan, and I’m at a loss for words.
I owe an incredible deal to Iwata-san. Not only Nintendo Direct and Iwata Asks, the precious time he gave me at the start of last year, talking about many topics. I pray for his happiness in the next world.”

Hideki Kamiya, PlatinumGames

“We offer our sincere condolences at the loss of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, and express our tremendous respect for his life and work.”

Phil Spencer, Xbox
“Sad day for Iwata-san’s family, friends, and gamers everywhere. His passion, creativity & leadership elevated our industry.”

Larry Hryb, Xbox

“I had the chance to meet Iwata-san at E3 one year, and he was such a gentleman as I fan boyed out. Today the industry lost a huge force.”

Shuhei Yoshida, Sony Computer Entertainment
“Mr. Iwata was a major contributor in the development of the game industry. I pray that he rest in peace.”

Adam Boyes, PlayStation

“Really sad to hear about Iwata-san’s passing today. As a fan of Nintendo since the NES, my heart goes out to his family, friends, & fans.”

Markus Persson, Mojang Co-founder
“Please, I don’t understand. #ThankYouIwata”

Neil Druckmann, Naughty Dog

“RIP, Mr. Iwata. Thanks for all the incredible fun and inspiration.”

John Vignocchi, Disney Interactive

“I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Mr. Iwata. We should all say prayers for him and his family during this tough time.”

Geoff Keighley

“I am beyond heartbroken to hear about the passing of my friend Satoru Iwata. He was a gamer, a developer and a champion for our medium. RIP.

“I first met Satoru Iwata at TGS in 2005 when I interviewed him for G4. He spoke in Japanese and showed off the Nintendo Wii controller.

“So at the end of the interview, after the cameras were off, he turned to me and started speaking in English. ‘Geoff, I really liked out interview. I can tell you are a gamer so I wanted to show you something.’ He turned the controller sideways.

“He held it like an NES controller with D-pad and the A B buttons. He smiled, I think to hint at Virtual Console. I’ll always remember that. I felt a great connection with him then, he wanted gamers to know that Nintendo would always think of us. He was such an honorable man.

“His smile said so much. He was and is one of us. He loved game, and wanted to make the world a better place with them. And he did.”

Warren Spector

“Sad day. Satoru Iwata has passed. I was lucky enough to be interviewed by him. He knew way more about dev than me.”

Entertainment Software Association (ESA)

There has also been some wonderful pieces of artwork from fans, a few of which I wanted to share below!

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