It's been common knowledge for a couple of years that Shigeru Miyamoto's role has evolved at Nintendo. Once a producer with a heavy hands-on influence on multiple franchises, he still serves a role of oversight but with less micro-management, with the famed game designer and Nintendo President Satoru Iwata regularly emphasizing the ongoing desire to develop and support a new wave of talented leaders to take franchises forward.
In an interview with Official Nintendo Magazine for its 100th issue, Miyamoto-san outlined how a series of trusted producers are leading key franchises, even if the ultimate responsibility still rests with him; he started off by using The Legend of Zelda as an example.
As you saw at our presentation at E3, Mr Aonuma chased me off stage… he doesn’t need me any more! The final responsibility for the title still comes down to me and I’m still involved in the games, but I’m definitely able to leave the series up to him in a way.
... I don’t have to look at every minute detail of every game any more. I know there’s going to be the level of quality that we expect under his supervision.
Similarly we have Koizumi-san, who’s the producer or the Mario series and it’s the same type of situation. And certainly Konno-san with Mario Kart, too. And Mr Eguchi, producer of the Animal Crossing series. These are the main producers that we’ve trained who are talented enough and we can allow them to oversee the project and manage all the details and still maintain the Nintendo level of quality.
Nintendo's clearly preparing for the day when Miyamoto-san, such an integral and iconic figure within the company, finally steps aside; recent entries in key franchises have, in our view, maintained that "Nintendo standard", so it seems the internal changes are working relatively well.
As an extra treat, below is the special edition cover that ONM subscribers will have received on their 100th issue, which includes a Miyamoto illustration to enjoy. Congratulations to Official Nintendo Magazine for hitting such an impressive landmark.