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Downwell creator joins Nintendo

‘I’ll do my best,’ says Ojiro Fumoto

an explosion in Downwell
An explosion in Downwell.
Moppin/Devolver Digital
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Ojiro Fumoto, the creator of the acclaimed indie game Downwell, is now working at Nintendo, he said today on Twitter.

Fumoto announced on Facebook in mid-December that he had taken a job at Nintendo and would be starting in January.

“It was super fun developing games as indie, and I can’t wait to see what it’s like to develop games as part of a bigger team,” said Fumoto. “Way excited!!!!”

Fumoto goes by the handle Moppin online, and he released Downwell under that moniker in October 2015 on iOS and Windows; it launched on Android, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita the following year. The vertically scrolling roguelike platformer, which drew comparisons to Spelunky, focuses on a “young person falling down a well battling enemies with gun boots and collecting treasure and sometimes visiting shops.”

The mid-20s indie developer has had an interesting path to this point. Fumoto began making Downwell in March 2014 while he was studying opera singing at the Tokyo University of the Arts, according to Cara Ellison’s book Embed With Games. Ellison mentioned Fumoto and Downwell in a Guardian article, which quickly led to indie publisher Devolver Digital offering him “a large sum of money” to bring the game to market, Ellison wrote.

“Got a job at Nintendo! I’ll do my best,” Fumoto said on Twitter today.

It’s unclear what Fumoto’s new role at Nintendo is; we’ve asked the company for details, and will update this article with any information we receive. There’s also no word on what this means for UFO 50, a collection of 50 indie games that was announced last summer. Fumoto was collaborating with developers such as Derek Yu on the project. We’ve reached out to Fumoto and Yu for further information.

Fumoto has some experience with designing in a Nintendo game already, thanks to Polygon. We had him create an 8-bit Mario level in Super Mario Maker — a water level that’s actually good! You can check out that video below, and read our interview with Fumoto from PAX East 2015 for more.

The next level of puzzles.

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