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Okay, here’s the next set of questions and answers! Thanks to everyone who posted questions yesterday – hopefully the answers are helpful, insightful, or whatever-ful! I’ll keep doing these posts over the next few days/next week or so, so if you have any questions, just post them in the comments and I’ll get to them 😀
Apple Kid asks:
I have a question (that is unlikely to have an answer) why are most of the items in presents? Wouldn’t chests in like in Dallam make more sense for some parts of the game? Or maybe a picnic bag/box for food items? Thanks in advance.
Well, I didn’t make the games, but my take on it is that when Itoi first started working on the series, he was like, “Hmm, how can I make modern versions of everything found in Dragon Warrior-style games?” Villages became modern cities, evil wizards became hippies, potions became hamburgers… “But what about treasure chests? What modern equivalent is there? …Present boxes!”
I do think it’s silly that there are wrapped present boxes absolutely everywhere – in reality it’s actually really rare to see wrapped gift boxes except at parties and Christmas and such. But I guess it was that or generic cardboard boxes that look bland. And garbage cans.
That’s just my opinion though – if you have any other thoughts, share them in the comments!
1) The response for the Mother 3 fan translation seems to be overwhelmingly positive, and it’s the standard I compare all other fan translations to. However, have you received any criticism about the translation? What specific areas do you personally feel were lacking?
2) I’ve been following your Legends of Localization, and in a recent EBCentral post, you say that you’re interested in doing something similar for Mother 3. Assuming you get all the legal issues worked out, when would we plan on seeing it? Would it be one of the first ones you worked on, or would it be further down the pipeline? I’d love to see a LoL-type writeup for Mother 3.
1. Probably the biggest criticism I get about the MOTHER 3 translation is the fact that we localized some of the names, particularly Yokuba to Fassad. I covered the reasoning for some of these changes in the readme and in these preliminary translation notes, but there are people who still don’t like it. I can understand where they’re coming from – I’ve been translating stuff professionally for a long time now and there’s always going to be a group (or groups) of people who don’t agree with your translation choices.
If anything, though, I feel I didn’t localize names enough – an official Nintendo localization would’ve certainly changed names and such way, way more than our localization did. I guess I was trying to aim for the best of both worlds.
The issue of swearing comes up too, and I can understand the opinions on this too. To this day it’s still something I’m not quite happy with – I didn’t want to censor myself to meet player’s preconceived expectations (and it seems weird to worry so much about a few words but not care so much about the killing, death, blood, sexual innuendo, suicide, and more in the game) but looking back I really feel I could’ve done a better job. I’ll probably cover the topic in more detail in my translation notes someday, but out of everything this is in my top five or so of things I’m unsatisfied with.
2. Having put so much time into the translation it’s hard for me to see it with the eyes of a complete outsider, so maybe this is just me, but I’ve always felt that my translating style is a bit “wordy” and always maybe a tad too close to the original text. That’s a good thing and a bad thing, I guess. I’m always impressed by translators who are better at using colloquialisms that are a bit further from the original Japanese text. So sometimes when I’m reading certain lines in the MOTHER 3 translation I’m like, “Agh, this is terrible writing.” But from what I’ve seen during LPs/Funfests, nobody bats an eye at these things, so maybe I’m just a crazy perfectionist person, I dunno.
Why isn’t Kumatora’s name Leonita?
Was that someone’s suggestion way back then? It doesn’t ring a bell but then again we started on the project five years ago.
I remember a number of possible localized names were thrown around among the team. I don’t remember what they were off the top of my head, though, I’d have to check the old project discussion site. I think I finally settled on Kumatora for good when Brawl came out and she was mentioned in one of the descriptions as “Kumatora”.
Are there any other RPGs or games deserving of a translation unrelated to MOTHER that you hope you can translate someday?
One that I wanted to do for years and years was Tengai Makyou Zero: Far East of Eden. I had to give up the project a while back (before even really starting) but luckily it’s already well on its way to getting a translation patch, courtesy of byuu and Tom. If I had to explain it, it’s like this: You know how EarthBound is a parody of Western culture as seen from Japanese eyes? Well, the Tengai Makyou games are like that, except they’re parodies of Japan/China/Asia.
But I would ESPECIALLY love to see Tengai Makyou: The Fourth Apocalypse translated into English. It’s an RPG set that takes place all over America – but it’s an America that’s based on the way Japanese people see America, with the stereotype level set to maximum. There’s more info here.
Some quick examples: You got your over-the-top cowboy characters, your native Americans, your motorcycle-riding werewolf characters, towns you visit include San Francisco and Seattle, and a map of America that’s hilariously inaccurate.
I’m sure there are a lot more games I wish I could translate, but those are the big ones that come to mind right away.
In Mother 3 (fan translation 1.1), the game slows down for few seconds after entering all names. Does this happen in 1.0?
Yeah, sadly this is something I was never able to fix, no matter how hard I tried. I don’t understand why it happens – it’s just a simple fade-out that shouldn’t slow anything down, but for whatever reason our text hacks cause it to stutter for a few seconds. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever fix it; the menu text system was a nightmare to work on.
Daniel asked via e-mail:
Since Mother characters will most likely be in the next smash bros game do you think that Nintendo will reconsider a virtual console release or a full reboot since the subject is being brought up?
Honestly, I don’t think so. I think people hoped this would happen when Brawl was released too, but nothing came of it. In fact, Brawl had its EarthBound stuff REMOVED. At this point I don’t expect Smash Bros. to have any real effect on the MOTHER series.
I know a lot of the names in Mother 3 were localized- Yokuba, Yoshi-Koshi, Tamekichi, etc. Yet several of the names were left alone for the translation- Hinawa (because that’s the name everyone knew her by already), Kumatora (because her name was mentioned in Brawl), etc. Yet, Murasaki forest seems to have kept its original name (as far as I know?). Was that name in English in the original or something like that? Teri forest became Sunshine Forest, but what was the story behind Murasaki? (and while I’m here, were Caeribe Falls and Chupichupyoi Temple the same names, respectively, in the original? I still have no idea how to pronounce them.)
The original Japanese name was “Murasaki Forest” as well. “Murasaki” means “purple” in Japanese. I remember sitting there trying to think of different names for this – “Purple Forest” sounded pretty lame and “Violet Forest” was: 1) too similar-looking to “Violent Forest” and 2) Kumatora’s alternate name was already “Violet” by this point in the project, so I didn’t want to make it sound like this forest was connected to her in any way. This is one of those things I wish I had done differently – although now that I think about it, the Japanese version was filled with lots of foreign-sounding place names, so this isn’t too out of place. Still, I wish I’d handled it better.
“Teri Forest” (as many people called the first forest in the game shortly after the game’s release) was actually more of a mistranslation – “Sunshine Forest” is likely much closer to the original intended meaning. I touch on this particular name in the prelim translation notes, actually.
I don’t have my translation files on this computer, but I do think Caeribe Falls was a localization change we made. I might be wrong though. Chupichupyoi was definitely the same in the original text – it was meant to sound weird and foreign and unusual so there was little reason to change it. I personally pronounce “Caeribe” as “Kah-eh-ree-beh” and Chupichupyoi is “choo-pee-choo-pyoy”, with that first “y” sounding like the “y” in “yes”.
Talking about all this stuff makes me want to do that MOTHER 3 translation notes project/book thing all the more 😯
Do you think there is still a possibility of Mother 3 being released in the U.S.?
I do, but it wouldn’t be anytime soon at all. I can see it happening maybe 10+ years from now, but I have no hope for the forseeable future.
(…) it may not be directly Mother-related, but I sometimes wonder what you did to learn Japanese. For instance, was it a college course, or did you use something else, like that Rosetta Stone program? I would probably be better off emailing you about that one. :p I don’t have any Mother-related questions right now, really…
I pretty much started when one day I found a Japanese textbook for second year students in a local library. Trying to figure it out was fun, so I kept going with it. I taught myself from books for a short while, then I took Japanese classes at my (somewhat local) university during my high school summer breaks. Later on, when I finally entered college, I studied more there, then spent about a year in Japan, came back, studied more, did unofficial translation projects to learn more, and that’s pretty much it. At the time, things like Rosetta Stone didn’t exist.
If you’re interested in learning the language well, I recommend reading this, even if you don’t necessarily want to be a translator. I also touched on this subject a little bit in an interview I did for Gamasutra some years ago here.
Mr. Tenda asks:
Do you have an opinion on why Giygas is focused on attacking Ness in Mother 2 instead of Ninten? Since Giygas specifically vows to take revenge upon Ninten at the end of Mother, it seems strange that Giygas’ goal is to destroy Ness in Mother 2 and no mention is made of Ninten.
Some people are set in their opinions on how the games connect, but I don’t have any firm thoughts on the subject. If anything, it feels like Itoi made the first game, then, when it came time to make the second game, he didn’t care too much about making any sort of chronological connection to the original game – he just wanted to make a game with lots more ideas that he came up with or that he couldn’t put into the first game. So it has a lot of parallels to the first game but isn’t necessarily connected to the first game (despite the game’s subtitle). Contrast that with MOTHER 3, with which he DID clearly make chronological connections to MOTHER 2.
If an official Mother 4 was made today, would you expect it to be Japan only once more?
I ask this because of all the talk to make a new Mother game, I think it’d be a toss up of whether or not NA would get it.
Absolutely – despite all our efforts and Iwata’s past mentions, I don’t think NCL knows how strong of a following the games has outside of Japan. That said, even I don’t think the game would sell like crazy outside of Japan. I think Nintendo is more interested in releasing games that are safe and guaranteed to have good sales numbers – like Zelda sequel 95, Mario game 588, Animal Crossing Yet Again, and all the other big-name games that seem to be released on a conveyor belt-like schedule.
What made you guys enjoy the earthbound series (yes I am meaning all of you who made this blog if possible)
A common mistake is that there’s a staff on this site – nope, it’s just me, one dude who runs it.
I first got into the series because of the Nintendo Power coverage of the game before the game’s release. It had a lot of heart to it. The game itself was a blast. Helping build a community of fans was a lot of fun too. I also enjoyed digging into the game’s history, and when the prototype ROM came out that was a crazy new experience and revelation. Even digging into the game’s programming is like an adventure of its own – every time I go into the ROM I usually find something new to share or come up with some program or hack to share. There’s just so much to see and do with the game – even when it doesn’t involve playing the game itself. I think ultimately it boils down to the fact that the game’s generated a great community – even with only one official release it’s the fans’ creativity and joy that makes EarthBound/MOTHER fun for me. That’s why I post lots of creative fan stuff on here all the time 😛
I have a question. I’ve been playing through Mother 3 recently and I was wondering what’s the purpose of the rooftop area you can access in Chimera Labs. I think you enter it from the storage room with the old magazines.
Unless you revisit it at some point, I don’t think there’s ever any NPCs, events, or enemies there (unless I missed them)
I’m not 100% sure, but it might be there to help you escape if the Ultimate Chimera gets into that room. Anyone else got any ideas?
This isn’t a huge issue, but there’s an issue with Mother 3 that causes Duster to only use one sound clip when regularly attacking enemies. I saw a topic about this and it was concluded that it would not be fixed in the translation. I find it really annoying, and I can’t find a fix. What was the team’s reasoning for leaving it in there? And do you think a fix could be made?
I actually only learned about this yesterday, so it’s not something the translation project would’ve dealt with. To be honest, I have no idea how the music combo/music programming works at all, so I wouldn’t have been able to fix it anyway. I’m sure it’d be possible to add his sounds back in if someone was skilled enough, but it’d be a lot of work and need some pretty smart brains.
Would Nintendo of Japan or America ever remake Mother 1, 2, and 3 on to one disk or cartridge like they did with Mother 1 + 2 and also every body knows Mother 2/ Earthbound isn’t on the Virtual Console in America but what about Mother 1/Earthbound zero?
I can see it happening maybe in many years from now. But nothing anytime in the near future. Given the fact that MOTHER 1 and 2 haven’t been released on the Japanese Virtual Console I don’t expect ANYTHING much to happen with the games for many years. As much as it pains me to say it, the only thing I can suggest is to send NCL letters/postcards/whatever politely stating that you’d like more MOTHER stuff to be released. I made a post about this a few years back – you can see it here. Even then, I wouldn’t expect much, but it’s the best option I can think of at this point in time.
That’s all the questions I have for now – post any more you have in the comments and I’ll get to them in the next update!
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21 Comments to EarthBound Central Q&A #2
Featured Item on eBay:
EARTHBOUND Mother (NINTENDO FAMICOM 1989) VGA 85 ARCHIVAL CASE
- DJ: From what I’ve gathered I’m pretty sure he still writes copy, so they’re an ad company.
- cosmodos: What does his company even do? Is it actually lucrative? From what I can gather (not knowing Japanese), it’s just his blog, and he...
- Jason: http://www.ipokiso.com/company /2017/hobonichi.html The anticipated price per share is 2,300 yen. As for those wishing to purchase a share...
- Leeaux: Hey I just saw this! Really interesting watch to. Lots of little fun facts.
- Mary: The “behind the scenes” video on how the Ness animation was made is great too. The animators channel is A + Start.