Takaya Imamura, designer of iconic characters like Tingle and Captain Falcon, has officially retired from Nintendo.
Imamura, only fifty-four years old, announced the news in a heartfelt statement on his social media accounts. He included a selfie in front of the “empty” Nintendo headquarters in Kyoto, as most staff are still working remotely. “I’m lonely when I think I’ll never be here anymore,” he wrote, “but I’m tired after 32 years!”
Imamura came aboard at Nintendo in 1989 as a graphic designer for F-Zero, and went on to work on all of its subsequent games. His next role was Star Fox, where he designed “the graphics that weren’t drawn using polygons“—including Fox McCloud, his friends, and the game’s overall atmosphere.
Many of his biggest contributions were for Nintendo 64 games. Imamura served as art director for Star Fox 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. As such, he’s responsible for designing many of Nintendo’s most recognizable and kooky characters, such as Captain Falcon, Tingle, Majora’s Mask, Termina’s Moon, and Feirce Deity Link.
After the Nintendo 64 era, Imamura directed the Steel Diver games, an assignment given to him by Shigeru Miyamoto based on his track record with vehicle-based games. He also contributed to Starlink: Battle For Atlas, and supervised both Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.