Yesterday’s Nintendo Direct presentation saw a new person at the helm: Yoshiaki Koizumi, the company’s deputy general manager of the Entertainment Planning and Development Division. A combination of boyish good looks, charming personality and pleasant screen presence won Koizumi positive reviews from Nintendo fans still reeling from the loss of Nintendo Direct’s most familiar face, Satoru Iwata.
Koizumi presided over the half-hour stream with confidence. With a new host came a new setup for what can occasionally become rambling Nintendo Direct presentations. Under Koizumi, we were treated to Nintendo Direct “headlines,” giving us a preview of the news we could expect on the docket for the show’s duration.
We even got some likely signature moves from him — nothing as memetic as “Please understand,” but his constant finger-snapping from segment to segment was endearing. The entire Nintendo Direct ran along at a steady clip under Koizumi’s guidance, even with a 35-minute runtime.
Viewers tweeted their approval of his performance during and immediately after the presentation:
I enjoyed the NEW Nintendo Direct. Seems the finger snap has replaced the 'direct hands' though. I do like Koizumi... :) pic.twitter.com/zf5BKjvDlC— Aaron Cooper (@azwah) April 12, 2017
Pretty cool that Koizumi will be taking over Iwata's role on Nintendo Directs from now on.— Jason C. (@setaimx) April 12, 2017
So Koizumi is Iwata's replacement for Nintendo Directs. Smart choice really.— Squirrel Emperor (@SquirrelEmperor) April 12, 2017
I'm very happy to see Koizumi as the face of the Nintendo Directs.— 我が名はMinachi (@Rhapsody39) April 12, 2017
I'm really happy Koizumi is the new Nintendo Direct guy. I really like him.— Tim (@SquirtleSquad7) April 12, 2017
The new Nintendo Direct was amazing! I'm SO happy they got Koizumi to do it like everyone wanted. What a great guy :)— 101Leafy(Cole Flott) (@101Leafy) April 12, 2017
Yes, Nintendo Direct presentations are pre-recorded, so any gaffes could have been edited out. But since former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata passed, the company has struggled with how to continue on with the semi-regular events. Iwata’s last appearance as host came in 2015; he skipped out on Nintendo’s E3 showing that year, with regulars like veteran designer Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime filling in.
After Iwata’s death later that year, the company put the Nintendo Direct format on hiatus for a few months. Upon its return, Nintendo went with highly specific themes or gimmicks to make up for the key missing talent at the fore.
If Koizumi does go on to become the regular host of Nintendo Directs going forward, it will be a position rightfully earned. He held his own on stage during Nintendo’s major Nintendo Switch reveal event, a stage show for press that was broadcast live around the world back in January. Koizumi’s ease with a crowd was apparent even then.
He also has the game design chops to cement him as a knowledgeable presence on-screen, much like Iwata was. He’s a lead producer on Switch software, which is why he had so much screen time during the Switch reveal.
CNN producer Ravi Hiranand summed it up on Medium in January, after Koizumi and other next-generation Nintendo names made their starring turns at the Switch show.
“Nobody can match the legacy of the man who created Mario,” he wrote, referring to Miyamoto in a sense passing along the torch to lesser known names during the Switch live show. “But Koizumi’s work has been incredibly important in shaping modern Nintendo, and having his guiding hand over their new console bodes very well for games on Switch.”
Just a few titles on his resume: Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Smash Bros. That’s a pretty spectacular list of game credits, if you ask us.
His experience, it seems, bodes well for the future of the Nintendo Direct. We look forward to the next one, whenever that may be.