As the CEO and President of Nintendo until his passing on 11 July 2015, Satoru Iwata had considerable influence on the development of the Nintendo Switch. In the same interview with Toyo Keizai Online, translated by Kite Stenbuck, Iwata’s role in Switch development was detailed.
For previous consoles, Iwata, Miyamoto, and Takeda all played a decisive role in console development, however, for the Switch, the decisive role fell to Takahashi, Koizumi and Kou Shiota. It does not mean that Iwata, Miyamoto, and Takeda didn’t have a role in the Switch’s development, but they were advised by Takashi, Koizumi and Shiota instead.
As Iwata did not make the final decisions for the Switch development, when he passed away, there was minimal impact on the console’s development. The rest of the team just had to continue with what they were dong.
In past developments of Nintendo hardware, there were 3 people who managed them: The late president Mr. Satoru Iwata, The father of Mario Mr. Shigeru Miyamoto, and Mr. Genyo Takeda who had been managing hardware for many years. For the development this time [for Switch], did you also have a focus on 3 people?
Takahashi: There are 3 people in the final decision making of the development: Me, Koizumi, and the leader of the Technology Development team Kou Shiota. Even in the past it didn’t mean that the trio of Iwata, Miyamoto, and Takeda developed without hearing opinions from anybody else, as we also got involved properly in the development. In that sense, this development structure does not change from before.
However, this time we have the stance of “We’ll think together with you if needed, but in the end you’ll need to think by yourselves,” so we’re overlooking them as counsellors. I think we’re overlooking them with chagrined faces is a fact though (laughs).
Koizumi: Actually, at the end of every counsel we’d say “Well, it’s okay if you all decide on it” (laughs)
Mr. Iwata passed away in 2015, and people were worrying that it would also affect the Switch’s development.
Takahashi: That was already an abrupt topic. Anyway we only had the mind to properly do our jobs. But as we have talked about just before, we were the ones who had to make the final decision making, so the development itself didn’t have any major shifts.