I finished New Super Mario Bros U recently. Fantastic game, one of the more fun NSMB games. Everything felt solid and polished to perfection, music and sounds were crisp, clear and catchy and it was a great launch title. But as I sat there in the credits, collecting coins and seeing names appear, one caught my eye.
It was Koji Kondo, legendary Nintendo composer of some of the greatest gaming music of all time. I looked at his credit for the game. “Sound Advisor”. It got me thinking not only about his previous works and the games, but also about other people, such as Hideo Kojima, Tim Schafer, Warren Spector and most importantly to me, Shigeru Miyamoto. These are legends in the field. Designers and developers who’ve created classic games and long lasting legacies, about how they’re slowly and surely passing the torch to younger developers. We’ve seen it in recent Miyamoto interviews, about how he won’t be around forever and that he’s teaching the young blood about how to make games and carry on historic franchises.
And while I think it’s great we get some fresh blood into the industry, with new ideas and concepts to create fantastic games, it also makes me sad. Sad that these people will eventually retire or relegate themselves to advisory positions, being the wise old sage who grants wisdom and advice to those who seek it. It makes me sad that eventually they won’t be making new games for us to enjoy, that we won’t be able to see their skills brought to electronic life. But in the end I guess it’s a reality we have to face.
Some people realise the need for change, look at Hideo Kojima! He’s been trying to pass on the Metal Gear story ever since Snake Eater, but when he tells people, they complain and send death threats, forcing Kojima back into the game. He sees the need to pass on the torch and to invigorate the franchise with new blood, but he can’t! Maybe we’re scared and resistant to change in that respect?
It’s the same in any other field though, sports, music, television, movies, you name it and I’m sure there’s people you’ll miss in those when the time comes they have to leave. I guess as long time gamers though, we’ve grown up with the beginnings of the consoles such as the NES and Atari all the way to the Xbox, PS3 and Wii U. We’ve seen games grow from a hobby to a full blown billion dollar business. We’ve seen Mario and Sonic evolve and change and seen Link become the Hero of Time over and over. We have a special attachment to not only those characters but the people who made them. They helped shape our gaming experiences and brought us countless hours of entertainment because they love this as much as we do. It’s a special bond on both sides.
I’m 23 years old and I’ve always played video games since I was 3. Playing Sonic and Mario games and falling in love with games. While it will be sad when Miyamoto finally stands up on a stage and says “Goodbye to all my fellow employees and fans”, he’ll always have a legacy behind him, and a ton of budding developers ready to continue what he started. And who knows? Maybe once they go, we’ll see some amazing ideas that breed new legends? Only time will tell.
What do you think about your favourite developers growing up and moving on? Will you miss them? Or will this be good for younger developers? Leave a comment below!