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Tips for Buying EarthBound

January 28th, 2008 | EarthBound 64, Interviews, Itoi

I’ve been wanting to translate this stuff for years now, but never had the time. But I CAN do a quick summary of each page! If you’re an EarthBound fan, be sure to check this stuff out! I’ll try to do a new page every so often 🙂

The original is here, there’s a translation of that page here, and today’s page is here.


Itoi, Miyamoto, and Iwata decided to do this announcement before Spaceworld 2000, so that people wouldn’t be shocked that MOTHER 3 wasn’t on display there. Itoi wonders if calling it “Canceled” is really the best word for it, though.

Iwata says the game was originally planned to be a Super Famicom game for a very short time (probably before MOTHER 2 was even finished, according to other stuff I’ve read), then for the N64 Disk Drive, then for the regular N64… it spanned 6 years, basically. Iwata says that Itoi hasn’t decided to give up working on the series forever, though, and nothing’s been decided about what to do in the future, but all he could definitely say was that it won’t be coming out on the N64. He apologizes for breaking the promise made to everyone who was waiting for the game.

Miyamoto feels bad, but says it’s more correct to say that the project just couldn’t continue on. The project was taking too much of a toll on progress for the upcoming Dolphin (later called GameCube) system. It wasn’t because the game wasn’t progressing well or that it wouldn’t do well, it was just because of the GameCube development stuff. It just couldn’t continue on. But he says you could also turn that around and say, “We can do it again when we’re able to,” though saying that at the moment would be irresponsible of him.

Itoi says he often gets asked what percentage the game was at. He himself wonders what percentage it was at right before he stopped working on it.

Iwata says it’s hard to give a percentage, because there are so many different aspects to consider. That said, he got the feeling that it was 30% done, though he admits there are so many factors that go into it that it’s pretty pointless to give it a number like that.

Miyamoto disagrees, and says it seemed more like over 60% done to him. The year before, he felt a real sense of danger because the programming was really lagging behind the story work. But in the past year, a ton of work had been done in the programming, and it was getting close to the point where data just needed to be entered and then some leftover extra work and then it’d be done. He asks Iwata if his 30% was more about the entire story itself.

Iwata says that his 30% represents how much of the entire planned game that players would be able to experience if they played the current build. He says that from the developers standpoint, it probably is more like Miyamoto’s 60%.

Miyamoto mentions how they had done a quick assessment before to see how much work was left, and 30-40% seemed to be the general amount.

Iwata says he worked as hard as he possibly could to struggle against having the game canceled, and how he tried really hard to help with all the problems and get things fixed one by one. Doing this helped accelerate the project and get it to the 60% Miyamoto mentioned. But the timing was really bad because of all the other stuff going on at the company, so the remainder of the work wasn’t going to be possible to do.

Itoi asks what exactly the remainder of the work was.

Iwata says it was mostly putting all the data, text, graphics, and all that into the game now that most of the base programming was set up for it. If they were to completely ignore polishing the game, it could probably be done in a short amount of time, but would they want to sell something so unpolished? Of course not. He thinks the polishing part probably would’ve taken the most time, after everything was put in. It’s important to make sure the game doesn’t feel awkward and that it’s fun for the players.

Itoi says that people hearing it put that way would naturally say, “In that case, can’t you manage finishing it somehow?!” And probably people on the staff felt, “Are you sure we can’t finish it?!” Even he admits he felt that way, too. He thinks that since his name was always a main focus of news about the game that he’ll be blamed for the cancellation. When he was working on MOTHER 2, people blamed his gold mining adventure for MOTHER 2’s big delays and near-cancellation, too.

Iwata says that that was completely different, though.

Itoi says that after that, people complained that all his fishing stuff and all his Internet work was slowing down MOTHER 3. He says people probably seek reasons using only the limited info they have at hand, but those complaints weren’t valid.

Iwata says that people around him had been asking him to reconsider things and not cancel the game for a while now. As the producer, he, himself had been steadfast that the game MUST be completed, especially given how far they had gotten. But now he had to do a complete reversal on that thinking, because other projects coming up needed attention and energy and resources badly. He says that the MOTHER 3 project needed a special kind of energy, it wasn’t just a matter of getting a bunch of people together. He doesn’t feel it was a lack of staff that ended the project; it’s more like that the project would’ve succeeded had it been done differently.

He continues by saying that as projects get bigger and bigger, things get exponentially more complicated. His work at HAL had had similar problems, as Nintendo had often asked HAL to help fix projects that had gotten too big and complicated, but MOTHER 3 was on a level all its own. They even tried to scale down the game partway through, but there was still so much game there. Also, for some time now, because of his new job, he had to go to America every month for a few weeks at a time, and now he’s been needed at Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto even more than before, so he’s had less time for MOTHER 3. He wished he had been able to pass on all his knowledge and info and such about the game to other people so they could pick up where he left off, but he wasn’t able to do that very well. So, as a result, his increasing distance from the project wound up in it being in more and more danger of being canceled.



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17 Comments to EarthBound 64 Cancellation Pt. 2

TheReaper09 said on Feb. 23, 2009

I never knew that this game was originally planned to be release first on the super famicom and now I am wondering if there is any type of old magazine pics, videos or sound clips on the internet showing early work on this game for the super famicom for the short time they did work on it.

Keiji Dragon said on Mar. 9, 2009

Whatever happened to Part 1? 😛

Mato said on Mar. 9, 2009

It’s linked to in this post. Here it is again: http://starmen.net/eb64/itoi/page1.htm

Ryan said on Nov. 4, 2009

I looked at the origenal page and then something asked to translate the japanese and the dialogue was differnt from the “already” translated document (sure the japanese grammar was strange). I think that is strange. Most of the japanese document is still understandable!

Ryan said on Nov. 4, 2009

The some of todays page says,
Until August 24 and 26
“Nintendo Space World” is
That it be held,
Earlier, this content
Now that you posted.
I have 24 new product announcement is made in the Sun
So the 『MOTHER 3』
Announced that it is not

Ryan said on Nov. 4, 2009

I hope you, stands to be surprised.
Advance, where to find anyone
『MOTHER 3 is no longer published』
Situation, I would like to talk with three people.
The decision is a little bit before I go back,
Unfortunately, indeed, that 『MOTHER 3』
Product development is now discontinued.
“Stop” by saying that, what am I?
(well of course the grammar sounds strange)

Keiji Dragon / OKei said on Jan. 16, 2010

So any chance we’ll see a translation to the rest of the conversation, Tomato?

Mr. Saturn said on Apr. 18, 2010

What’s with the whole 『MOTHER 3』 thing? What’s with 『』? What are they for?

Yoshimad123 said on Apr. 18, 2010

@Mr. Saturn
I’m just guessing, but it’s probably a bit of Japanese punctuation.

Catson said on May. 14, 2010

This is a bit late, but they’re the Japanese equivalent of quotation marks.

OKeijiDragon said on Aug. 5, 2010

This may be redundant to ask, but…

Mato, do you have any intention to translate the next part of the interview sometime in the near future?

fat kid said on Sep. 17, 2010

Why cant they just make it VC.They wont have to worry about running out of time.they said wii would have a long time span.

thomas1up said on Aug. 2, 2011

So if the gamecube was never made mother 3 64 would have come out…………AND BEEN RELEASE OUTSIDE JAPAN?

Oh well the GBA one is good enough for me.

Anonymous said on Aug. 7, 2011

The Gba version has multiple cuts from the main story. In short the Gba version is a semi detailed story.

Zoom! said on Aug. 15, 2011

Can I get a link to the part of Itoi’s site that has the EB64 music and screenshots?

Mato said on Aug. 15, 2011
Zoom! said on Aug. 20, 2011

Thanks 🙂


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