Legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto is "retiring" from his current role at the company in order to make smaller, more personal games, according to an interview with Wired today.
"I'm not saying that I'm going to retire from game development altogether," the Nintendo senior managing director told the site. "What I mean by retiring is, retiring from my current position."
Miyamoto told Wired that he wants to "be in the forefront of game development once again," working on smaller projects, either alone or with younger developers. Currently, he oversees longer-term projects that take as long as five years to make. Miyamoto said he hopes to start work on one of his smaller projects soon and be able to show it off before the end of 2012.
Miyamoto's career stands alone in the gaming industry. The creator of iconic franchises like Mario, Donkey Kong, and Zelda received a a lifetime achievement award from the Game Developers Choice Awards in 2007 and was the first inductee in the Academy of Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1998.
However, Miyamoto's reach extends far beyond the gaming industry. The developer was named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of the Year, and in 2009, he received the Jim Henson Celebration Honor, named for the late creator of The Muppets and given each year to a recipient who "makes the world a better place by inspiring people to celebrate life." Previous Jim Henson Award winners include former US vice president Al Gore and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
[UPDATE]: Nintendo has denied that Miyamoto is planning on retiring, saying instead that his comments had been misinterpreted. "There seems to have been a misunderstanding. He has said all along that he wants to train the younger generation," a Nintendo spokesperson told Reuters. "He has no intention of stepping down. Please do not be concerned," the spokesperson continued.