Nintendo - E3 2013 - Shigeru Miyamoto

The passing of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has hit the industry hard. Other than his family, though, it’s tough to imagine someone hit harder than Shigeru Miyamoto. The two worked closely together for decades to bring us piles of great Nintendo games. With Iwata’s passing, Miyamoto is currently the front-runner to take over the position. Miyamoto released a statement to the Wall Street Journal.

“I am surprised at this sudden news and overcome with sadness,” Miyamoto said. He added that he intends to keep up the game development focused stance that he and Iwata maintained.

Miyamoto, along with Nintendo’s other remaining executive, Genyo Takeda, will handle responsibilities in the interim. Takeda comes from the hardware side of Nintendo, having worked on consoles like the Wii and Nintendo 64 as well as contributing elements like the battery backup system used to save data to NES cartridges, since he joined the company in 1972.

Nintendo hadn’t set a plan in place for someone to replace Iwata yet, so it’s unknown exactly what will happen. The company still expects to speak about its upcoming smartphone games later this year, and information about its next console, code named NX, is likely to follow shortly after.