Fumito Ueda (born April 19, 1970) is a video game designer and artist. He is best known for his work on the Earthbound and Ico franchises for Nintendo.
Fumito Ueda was born in Tatsuno, Japan. As a child, he enjoyed keeping animals, animation, and making artwork.
In 1993, Ueda graduated from the Osaka University of Arts. In 1995, after trying to make a living as an artist, he decided to pursue a career in the video game industry. Ueda found work at the developer WARP working on the game Enemy Zero for the Sega Saturn. He found his time there "arduous," due to the fact that the game fell behind schedule.
In 1997, Nintendo hired Fumito Ueda to help develop the game Earthbound 64, known in Japan as Mother 3. Due to his experience creating 3D animation in Enemy Zero, Ueda was able to help designer Shigesato Itoi's team, which was new at creating 3D environments.After Earthbound 64 was released on March 22, 2000, Shigesato Itoi retired from video game development to pursue his other interests. Recognizing Ueda's talent for animation and potential as a leader, Nintendo created a new studio devoted to the Earthbound franchise, Team Mother, to be led by him.
Mother 4, as the GameCube iteration in the series came to be known, was a long time coming. During that that time, Fumito Ueda led a team of twenty to thirty people. He left a unique mark upon the game, which sacrificed much of the series' wordplay and color in favor of largely silent characters and a mixture of dull colors and impressive lighting effects. Finally, Mother 4 was released October 2004, and was met with glowing reviews. Critics mourned the loss of much of the series' charm, but praised the unique atmosphere of the new game. Fans were split, with some considering Mother 4 to be a betrayal of the series's roots while others felt it was a natural progression for the series after the surprisingly dark Earthbound 64.
Team Mother's next project was to be an entirely new action-adventure franchise, Ico, made from the ground-up for Nintendo's upcoming console, the Revolution. However, the game, originally intended for a 2007 release, was repeatedly delayed. The game was ultimately released in July 2010 to positive reviews but fairly poor sales. Nintendo responded by dissolving Team Mother, incorporating its members into its EAD division. Nintendo offered Fumito Ueda a job as a manager, but he declined, saying "it was time to move on." On November 20, 2010, he announced his departure from Nintendo.
In February 2011, Fumito Ueda announced the creation of a new studio, Shadow Entertainment. By E3 2012, he was ready to announce the studio's first game, named Project Wander. Project Wander was to be a first person "exploration" game, released for the eighth generation of game consoles.