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Satoru Iwata (Japanese: 悟 岩田, Hepburn: Iwata Satoru, b. December 6, 1959, d. July 11, 2015) was a Japanese businessman, video game designer, programmer and (executive) producer. He was the fourth CEO and president of Nintendo. He was best known for contributing to series such as EarthBound, Kirby, Mario, and Super Smash Bros.

Development of Mother 2 & 3[]

Whilst working at HAL Laboratory around 1992-93, Iwata was approached by his close friend Shigesato Itoi, during the development of EarthBound. Development was progressing much slower than anticipated, and Itoi was growing nervous that the title would fall under cancellation. After asking for Iwata and HAL's help, Iwata and a small team from HAL agreed to help Itoi and his team from Ape. While Ape worked on internal data, text, and mapping, Iwata and his team worked specifically on programming, the prime cause of the slow development cycle. After EarthBound released, Itoi has credited Iwata for saving the game from being shelved.

During the development of a sequel to EarthBound, Itoi, Iwata, and Nintendo higher-up Shigeru Miyamoto were working on a sequel for the Nintendo 64 Disk Drive (64DD). However, technical limitations and inexperience with 3D games led to the title being pushed to a regular N64 cartridge, leading to various assets to be lost. A new development team was brought in, and Iwata had to be dismissed due to having other commitments outside of Japan, leading to the eventual cancellation of the project. However, the game was brought back to fruition on the Game Boy Advance, and led to Mother 3 to release in 2006.

Outside of the Mother Series[]

Outside of the Mother series, Iwata is credited for many aspects of Nintendo's key marketing decisions, such as appealing to non-gamers with the Nintendo DS and Wii, and attempting to not compete with other top gaming competitors, Sony and Microsoft. Although sometimes these decisions led to weaker sales in general, it only connected Nintendo and their fans together more. Iwata was also seen as a great public figure during the lifespan of the Nintendo Wii U, as seen through various Nintendo Directs and other announcements.

Unfortunately, in July 2015, Iwata passed away from a tumor in his bile duct, a problem that initially surfaced from June 2014. Following the announcement of his death, members of the gaming industry expressed their condolences.


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