The CEO of The Pokemon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara, recently shared an interesting story during an interview with the Japanese website 4Gamer (translated by Siliconera).
Game Freak initially had no plans to localize Pokemon Red and Green, the first two Pokemon carts, for a global release, holding the opinion “overseas development is just a dream within a dream.” Legendarily scary Nintendo head Hiroshi Yamauchi, however, insisted localization happen at some point. Yet everyone at Game Freak was too busy plotting out the next generation, Pokemon Gold and Silver, to concern themselves with making that English version happen.
It was Satoru Iwata, then president of HAL Labs, who took the first step. He asked to borrow the source code, looked through it thoroughly, then mapped out where and how a conversion to other languages could be accomplished. Ishihara remarks that it was very unusual, and still is, for a president of any company to spend their entire day on a task like this.
What a fella. Gone TOO soon.