By Benny Carrillo / July 12th, 2015
Nintendo of Japan has posted a document stating that Satoru Iwata, the President and CEO of Nintendo Co., Ltd., as well as the CEO of Nintendo of America, has passed away at the age of 55 due to a bile duct growth.
Iwata was notable for becoming the first President of Nintendo that was not related by blood or marriage to the Yamauchi family, which founded the company. Upon taking over in 2002, he presided over the company during the eras of the Game Boy Advance, GameCube, DS, Wii, 3DS, and Wii U, helping to shape the then struggling company into finding a new identity and into the Nintendo we know today.
Gamers however, are more familiar with seeing him as one of the three faces of Nintendo alongside Shigeru Miyamoto and Reggie Fils-Aime, either onstage at the yearly E3 media briefing, before stopping them in 2013 which was one of his first decisions after becoming CEO of Nintendo of America, or in the various Nintendo Directs the company has produced, as well as the “Iwata Asks” interviews that featured him sitting down with game developers and discussing their projects and backstories.
Before becoming the President of Nintendo, Iwata worked as a producer and programmer at Hal Laboratory, Inc. where his first game as producer was Rollerball for the NES. From there he would go on to working on several games including:
- NES Open Tournament Golf (Main Programmer)
- Kirby’s Adventure (Producer)
- Earthbound (Programmer, Programming Director, Co-Producer)
- Super Smash Bros. (Producer)
- Pokémon Snap (Producer)
- Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (Supervisor)
- Super Mario Sunshine (Executive Producer)
- Metroid Prime (Executive Producer)
- Fire Emblem: Awakening (Executive Producer)
In 1993 he was promoted to President of HAL Laboratory before eventually taking a position at Nintendo as the head of its corporate planning division in 2000 where he remained until his promotion to President and CEO in 2002.
Satoru Iwata’s influence has helped shape the Video Game industry in many ways and will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends, family, and co-workers during this difficult time.
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