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Fox McCloud's Creator Retires From Nintendo

Takaya Imamura, the artist and designer responsible for many of Nintendo's most loved characters, is retiring after working at the company for over three decades. He posted a picture on his personal Facebook page and Twitter of himself in front of the Nintendo offices, announcing that it would be his last day at work.

Even on his last day, Imamura showed appreciation for his time at Nintendo, saying, "This is my last day going to work. I took a selfie with the empty office. I guess I won't be coming in here anymore. As you'd expect, I'll miss it" (translation from Kotaku). Kotaku notes that the Nintendo offices remain closed due to the ongoing pandemic.

Fans will know Imamura's work, as he's designed many characters for Nintendo franchises over the years. Imamura first worked on F-Zero and Star Fox character designs and then continued to work on those series as they moved to the Nintendo 64.

He also served as the art director for 2000's The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, designing several key elements of the game, including Tingle, the grown man who purports to be a fairy who provides Link with important maps throughout the game.

Most famously, Imamura created the design for Majora's mask itself, even creating the name of the iconic object by mashing together his name with Jumanji. Of course, Imamura enjoys putting aspects of his own life into his creations. Characters in Star Fox were based on Nintendo staff members. While the late Satoru Iwata suggested that animals serve as the protagonists of the series, Imamura decided that the main character should be a fox, to recognize the Shinto shrines that commonly appear in Japan. He also decided to create animal characters that reminded him of his coworkers. He even based the villain Andross on his boss.

Star Fox is only one of Imamura's creations, but it might stand out as his most remembered. The Star Fox community experienced heartbreak last year when Rick May, the voice of Peppy, passed away due to COVID, and Imamura's retirement may feel like another disappointment for fans of the Star Fox series and Imamura's work. All the same, his career featured a long list of achievements at Nintendo. Fans are wishing him well on platforms reporting his retirement and thanking him for his years of service to the gaming community. Even when Star Fox hasn't been at its best, fans still have a lot to be grateful for.