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Tips for Buying EarthBound

June 24th, 2015 | EarthBound, Interviews, MOTHER 1, MOTHER 3


In a recent interview with Kotaku, Reggie Fils-Aime discussed the EarthBound series – and MOTHER 3 – a little bit more! Here are key snippets from it:

Fils-Aime, in reference to MOTHER 3: “Look, again, I think this is an example that demonstrates we’re constantly listening. We’re hearing what the fans say. And we thought it was great to bring back the very first Mother, Earthbound Beginnings here in the market. It’s been out for sale and doing quite well in the eShop. Again, we’ll never say never, but there’s nothing to announce right now.”


Fils-Aime: “The Mother/Earthbound series is quite niche. And so for us it’s constantly thinking about the investment and then return for a game like that. There is quite a bit of localization to be done and we just need to make sure that volumetrically there’s enough volume to offset that investment.”

Totilo: “Is it safe to assume that you guys are pretty happy with how Earthbound was received last year and that helped motivate and get Mother 1 out?”

Fils-Aime: “That’s exactly right.”

You can read the full article here.

The giddy EarthBound fan in me wants to read too much into what he’s saying, especially the “for now” part, but the logical side of me says that he’s saying what he’s said for years and years. Here’s Reggie in 2006 saying “not yet” to plans for MOTHER 3, for example:

This “not yet” actually got LOTS of fans excited back then, and he’s said the same thing almost every time since then. But, given all the recent circumstances, even I’m starting to feel more optimistic about an official MOTHER 3 release this time!

Reggie mentioned that there’s a lot of localization to do… which is precisely why I made my offer to Nintendo a good while back. If it turns out to be too costly to localize MOTHER 3 because they’re not sure that “volumetrically there’s enough volume to offset that investment”, then my offer for Nintendo to use my translation materials for free still stands. I’d of course sign whatever legal documents are necessary, and I’d even offer to edit, fix, or alter anything necessary for free. I’d even offer to act a as a consultant for free, as long as it helps an official translation of the game get released. I’m a professional translator and have been in this line of work for 13 or 14 years now.

It’s common for Nintendo to hire other translation companies like 8-4 to handle game localization when Nintendo’s localization department is already too swamped to handle more work. If that’s ever a consideration or the case with MOTHER 3, my offer to assist stands – whether it’s with Nintendo or anyone else, I’m willing to help in any way to ensure the game gets an official translation, whether it’s by offering my already-translated materials outright or in some sort of other capacity.

Like I’ve said before and during pretty much every EarthBound Central Live stream, I understand there’s like a 0.001% chance of the offer ever being accepted. It HAS happened in the past with other companies and other games, but I don’t expect it of Nintendo. Still, I just wanted the offer to be out there in case the fate of a MOTHER 3 release ever came down to a budget, time, or manpower problem. And given that’s what Reggie mentioned in this interview, that does seems to be a concern.

In any case, if or when an official MOTHER 3 translation ever gets released, I hope fans will rally around it the same way fans have been rallying around EarthBound Beginnings. That’s why the fan translation disclaimer has been saying this since Day 1:


Having an unofficial translation is one thing, but having an actual, official release that will support the creators and developers directly while also avoiding the shadiness of ROMs and flash carts (and especially the ensuing reproduction scene) would be much nicer, you know? Plus it would open up even more opportunities, like more official MOTHER 3 merchandise being released outside of Japan.

Whatever happens, my hopes are a little higher now!


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47 Comments to Reggie Volumetrically Discusses MOTHER 3

Leeaux said on Jun. 24, 2015

I’m rooting for it! And I’d love for you to be a part of in the official release Mato. You’ve earned it!

Samuel said on Jun. 24, 2015

There has been SOOO much talk about MOTHER 3 in the news lately that I have no reason but to get excited. Seriously, if MOTHER 3 got released, it would all be over. No more people asking Nintendo for worldwide releases of the MOTHER games. Then, we could just be one big fan community discussing the games and why we love them, without the addition of the unrest of not having all series titles. That will be the day where many tears of joy will be shed. And, with MOTHER being my favorite video game franchise, it will also be one of the happiest days of my life, as I am sure it will be one of yours. Until then, MOTHER 3 for the world. #OperationWorldBound

Someone Else said on Jun. 24, 2015

I really really want them to use Mato’s translation. It’s so perfect.

I have a question.
How is it certain that Nintendo is aware that the offer to use it still stands?

MysticalRecord said on Jun. 24, 2015

I’m sure a Treehouse translation would differ in some ways, so they likely wouldn’t want to use your translation as-is, but supposing they did use it, would you be okay with any graphic edits (Magypsie sprites) or name changes (Kumatora, perhaps) they might want to make?

Mato said on Jun. 24, 2015

Someone Else: When I posted the offer a few years ago, some friends in the company let me know they passed it on to the people who needed to know. I doubt the offer was taken seriously, of course.

MysticalRecord: Like I said, I’d be okay with editing, revising, or changing stuff as they’d like. Ultimately, the game belongs to Itoi and Nintendo, so if they want to change stuff, that’s totally their call to make.

Neko Knight said on Jun. 24, 2015

With Earthbound and Earthbound Beginnings receiving TEEN ratings, I’d say that the MOTHER 3 fan translation can be left as-is without changing anything at all, and receive a TEEN rating as well.

j said on Jun. 24, 2015

Mother 3 is the best game ever made.

KaisaJesta said on Jun. 24, 2015

You know Mato, I think it may be the time to really formally and privately contact the more higher-up people at Nintendo to seriously consider taking your translation, at least as the template for what they may want to do with it. How you’d do that, I have no real idea but I think with just how likely this is seeming to us with EBB and EB released to big eShop sales, I imagine they’d be a lot more tempted if the offer was made right in front of them rather than by publicly offering it.

Of course, now I’m imagining you and Bill Trinen working together on this and it makes me really want that to happen 😀

Halloween said on Jun. 24, 2015

The Mother series is quite niche. Hitting #1 on the Best Sellers chart, beating Nintendo’s new IP? Quite niche if I do say so myself.

Alezicarus said on Jun. 24, 2015

2013 we got EarthBound virtual console release
2015 we got EarthBound Beginnings release world wide
2017 we get Mother 3? Being a Mother fan, all I think is wishful thinking

alan said on Jun. 24, 2015

Using a fan translation for the official script is, I think, doable, but I think they would want to insert the translated text into the source code, rather than using a hack.

At least, that’s how I would see it, were I in their shoes.

yeahman said on Jun. 24, 2015

Its happening! just smooth sailing from now on until the day

Paula Polestar said on Jun. 25, 2015

It’s bizarre why Magypsies,o2 Machine,Barrier Trio sprites have transvestites.It’s like Thomas Neuwirth disguise as Conchita Wurst.Maybe I’m Xenophobic and Homophobic,but for European people like me it’s not point of tolerance.On IGN forum there are some critical aspects of that game.Maybe I’m weird,but that’s the truth.

Paula Polestar said on Jun. 25, 2015

Way past cool

Gaffer Tape said on Jun. 25, 2015

@Paula Polestar I’m not quite sure what you’re saying. First off, I think the Magypsies, O2 Machines, and the Barrier Trio are all great. Well, I hate fighting the Barrier Trio, but other than that… But of the three groups you listed, only the Magypsies are cross dressing, if you can even technically call it that since they’re not really human to begin with.

Kyosuke said on Jun. 25, 2015

Here’s the plan:

1. Nintendo hires 8-4 to localize Mother 3.
2. 8-4 hires you.
3. Let the copy/pasting begin.

DJMankiewitz said on Jun. 25, 2015

At this point, I’m pretty sure major character names are fixed even at Nintendo. Even “Ninten” (which was never an official name but a generic “placeholder” name across various Nintendo Famicom games) eventually just BECAME the official name. (Oddly enough, nowhere in the Earthbound Beginnings digital manual do they reveal the official NOA approved names for any of the other 3 characters.) Pokey seems to now be Porky, Kumatora stayed Kumatora, and so on. The only thing I can promise at this point is they’ll rename the game to Earthbound, and a new logo with transition and all will need to be made. I wouldn’t have said that a month ago, but with Earthbound Beginnings, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t leave Mother 3 as just “Mother” at this point.

Here’s the sign I’m looking for. When Mato gets “suspiciously quiet” for a few months about anything Mother 3 translation related, I’ll suspect an NDA just happened and good news is to follow.

DJMankiewitz said on Jun. 25, 2015

Paula Polestar, I don’t actually “get” the barrier trio being put with those other two. Heck, the o2 machine isn’t even transvestite looking, it looks like a weird man trying to give your whole party a kiss. The only “transvestites” are the magypsies, and well, I guess whichever European country you’re from may have issues there, but I don’t think that’ll affect the US release. Actually, the bigger concern is that their “look” could offend transgender people, potentially misrepresenting them as “ugly pretenders to their gender”. Now, I think it works in the context of the game world (no one denies their nature and they seem to be fully accepted by all the main characters at least), but it is the biggest potential for trouble I can see.

Queue said on Jun. 25, 2015

What an interesting time to be an EarthBound fan. I don’t know if all this attention to the series lately will last, but it certainly feels like a resurgence. Neat!

On another note, I just realized how weird it would be for us to be used to these characters we’ve grown so familiar with and how there is a distinct possibility that Nintendo could very well change any of their names. They could switch Kumatora to Skyler if they wanted to. That could be an odd adjustment, but if it’s official I guess that’s how it goes, right?

Oceanity said on Jun. 25, 2015

I think most of the decision is going to come down to sales of EarthBound Beginnings and continued sales of EarthBound in USA and Europe, and I’m definitely predicting the game will have outstanding sales both due to the EarthBound fanbase and the amount of buzz the game has been getting since it’s rerelease.

Honestly though, I don’t even mind if it takes another few years for them to get to Mother 3. Seeing Itoi appear on an English Nintendo stream followed by a reveal of the first Mother in the West was hands down the happiest I’ve been about a Nintnedo reveal in ages, right when I had almost lost hope for any Mother-related news happening again.

As far as censoring things like the Magypsies, I honestly hope they won’t. The reason the Mother series is great is how amazingly original it managed to be among countless other RPGs around at the time of their release, and censoring the creative vision of the game ruins part of that originality.

DexterTheThird said on Jun. 25, 2015

I think the positive reception to Earthbound Beginnings has shown Nintendo that Mother 3 would be a big hit. I just highly, highly doubt that they would release it as a VC title.

There’s just too much effort that Nintendo would need to put in to translate and reprogram the original Mother 3 ROM in the same way the Fan Translation did, and as convenient as it would be to use the Fan Translation, I feel like there’s too much legal grey area for Nintendo of Japan to even consider it, even if NOA is on board. Not to mention concerns of a hack running stable on a Wii U GBA emulator (it’d probably be okay, but again, too much effort for Nintendo to exert to make it happen.)

If If they’re going to bring us a localized Mother 3, it will almost certainly have to be a remake of some kind. I would love a touched-up remake for 3DS that preserves the visual style and that would be a perfect chance for NOA to make a localization happen. The unfortunate thing is, Japan has to have interest in a Mother 3 remake/remaster first before it would be considered for the U.S. And if Mother 3 has as mediocre of popularity in Japan as the internet had lead me to believe it has, then it may not really happen for a long time, if ever.

I fully believe NOA would like to have Mother 3 localized in some form, but the only way that make sense is restricted by Japan, really. I’m hopeful, but not optimistic.

Oceanity said on Jun. 25, 2015

@DexterTheThird The difference between the translation patch and a VC release is that Nintendo wouldn’t need to resort to romhacking to modify the game. Opening the game’s source and allowing for English text and modifying the game script on Nintendo’s end would actually be relatively simple, and they could compile a new GBA image using their in-house tools just as they made localizations for other games.

I would honestly love a 3DS game, though. It could be like Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby where the gameplay remains mostly the same but utilizizing cel-shaded 3D models and 3D effects.

Mattiac said on Jun. 25, 2015

I like Kyosuke-san’s plan and music! ^_^ I might buy it.

Mattiac said on Jun. 25, 2015

@Oceanity-san: I only buy portable games that aren’t available for consoles because I prefer to play games on a TV because it’s much more comfortable for me, but I would of course buy a 3D version of Mother 3 for 3DS. I own a white 3DS XL, but I would otherwise buy a 3DS to be able to play a 3D version of Mother 3.

DCMC said on Jun. 25, 2015

Honestly black screen after pulling final needle really creeps me out like Tane Tane Island.There’s one not officially translated location called Chipichuoi Temple.They should turn back unused scraped game stuff I think.Game would have more interesting scenario.

DJMankiewitz said on Jun. 25, 2015

If they used Mato’s script, yeah, they’re very likely to just alter the source code instead of resorting to a ROM hack. The result would be a lot cleaner without the bugs that are in the hacked ROM (though Mato did an amazing job cleaning up what he could, seriously check out his various log entries on the work to translate and bug fix the game).

However, as I’ve said before, I worry that Brownie Brown might not have been good stewards of the source code. If that’s been lost, they’d have to do a ROM hack after all. If that’s the case, better to do a 3DS/Wii U port.

In any event, if they release it as a GBA ROM, I hope they go for both portable and console versions. As I’ve said, the 3DS plays GBA games pretty much natively, without the need for emulation, and I don’t mind the loss of various background 3DS features during a playthrough, I just like having those GBA games on the go.

Paula Polestar said on Jun. 25, 2015

Both versions means unused soundtracks?I don’t think it’s 3D hybrid of original and final MOTHER 3 graphics this time likewise Final Fantasy XV and Final Fantasy Zero powered by DirectX12 not DirectX3.0 for EarthBound 64.I can’t stand fact Lucas is coddled crybaby,but gameplay of MOTHER 3 existing in GBA form done better than EarthBound Beginnings.I was really enjoying of combo bits in battlefields.Well don’t get me wrong I’m not hater of mother 3.

TragicManner said on Jun. 25, 2015

They’d also have an opportunity to have translations in several different regions if they were interested. I would let them use my translation project for free as well, but I don’t know that they would need a Brazilian Portuguese translation now that they’ve pulled official operations out of the country.

At any rate, I’d be willing to help prepare the game for an official release for free as well. We all just want to see Mother 3 actually get the recognition it deserves.

GastonRabbit said on Jun. 25, 2015

The use of a fan translation as the basis for an official translation has actually happened before. XSEED Games based the official translations for Ys I & II Chronicles and Ys: The Oath in Felghana on fan translations.

Paula Polestar said on Jun. 26, 2015

What about EarthBound Trilogy in 3D with High Definition?

Oceanity said on Jun. 26, 2015

@DJMankiewitz Yeah, it really annoys me that lack of save states and a few other small features is the only thing preventing GBA games from being sold on the 3DS eShop. If they just called them “GBA Titles” and not “Virtual Console Games”, it’d be perfectly acceptable.

I’m also still not 100% sure how they aren’t able to get SNES emulated on a 3DS when people have gotten it to run on DOS, but that’s another thing entirely.

@Paula Polestar I would love to have that, I’d sadly probably even buy whatever the NX is going to be if Nintendo used it as a console-pusher like they did with VC EarthBound.

Queen Mary said on Jun. 26, 2015

Here’s more about MOTHER 3 Beta.Honestly I didn’t know original EarthBound 2 supposed to be creepier than final Itoi’s RPG game from GBA in 2006.Here’s proof.All unused stuff from EarthBound 64/MOTHER 3 Beta are really disturbing likewise Experiments chapter from Conker’s Bad Fur Day Beta gruesome cutscene absolutely disgusting.

PK_Noose_Man said on Jun. 26, 2015

An 11 year old kid can dream… can’t he?

Mother2fan said on Jun. 26, 2015

This is such an interesting time to be an EarthBound fan. I discovered the series in 2012, and it has had a profound impact on my life. But, in an almost selfish way, a nostalgic way, it makes me kinda sad. MOTHER 3 is our thing, no official translation can top Mato’s. That said, I would immediately buy an official MOTHER 3 in an instant, and I would be overjoyed, but in a way, it loses some of the things that made me fall in love with it. We (the fanbase) banded together for this game, for years, because we loved it, because it was more than a game. To us, anyway. Starmen.Net/EB Central is a home for us, away from the pampered fans of other games, like Pokemon or Mario. Just my musings, please don’t be mean if you disagree with me. It’s just, these games mean so much to me, as does the fanbase. I just don’t want that squandered as more people play the games. Thanks to anyone who took the time to read this.

Shimee Smizz said on Jun. 26, 2015

Nostalgia isn’t sin.It’s enjoyable experience of life’s past.It’s nothing bad at this point so what do you mean?

Mattiac said on Jun. 26, 2015

@DJMankiewitz: What bugs in the hacked ROM?! 🙁 Mato-san’s translation group fixed bugs that were in the ORIGINAL game! Bugs that Nintendo never fixed!

Anonymous said on Jun. 26, 2015

When translating the game, they had to do a lot of hacks, some of which created small issues not present in the original game. For example:

-When scrolling through menus really fast, sometimes the screen won’t have time to properly refresh like it did in the JP version, resulting in some text being carried over from the menu you were switching from.

-When selecting “OK” or whatever it was on the name select screen, the game will begin to lag and stutter as if it’s about to crash. The translation team said they tried everything they could to fix this, but never found a solid solution.

-Every once in a blue moon the main text will slow down when being printed. Not sure if this only happens on the fast message speed or if it effects all speeds.

Those are three I can think of off the top of my head. There may be one or two more I’m not remembering.

Shimee Smizz said on Jun. 26, 2015

Is EarthBound 2:The Reboundening hack just dream or reality?

Wiggle Waggle Mangle Frackle said on Jun. 27, 2015

Lucas is a really awesome-developed character. They showed that not every-day-heroes are strong and brave, Even crybaby cuties can take the lead. shows development from a crybaby to someone who got strong emotionally and physically. The game was definitely emotional but really-well done. Hoping to be released soon! :3

Gamerz31w said on Jun. 27, 2015

Originally he was the brave one.

DJMankiewitz said on Jun. 29, 2015

Oceanity, I see what you mean. To be fair, an older PC (which I assume is what you mean when you say “DOS”, as I’ve actually got DOS as an alternate OS on my current PC) had trouble with emulating as well. Those earliest emulators took a LOT of shortcuts to get those games running at something resembling a playable frame rate. Early versions of SNES9X and ZSNES were pretty buggy even on their best days, and NESticle was a joke. Both of those SNES emulators run a lot better now, but then again they also have steeper system requirements now too. For accuracy that’s as good as it gets, BSNES (or whatever the project is named now) requires some pretty steep hardware. I can actually see them deciding the Wii U had better hardware for such emulation, even if, when push came to shove, they should be able to make one work for the 3DS.

Paula, I’m another who actually really likes Lucas, partly BECAUSE he starts out as a cry baby.. I saw more of myself in Lucas than I did in Ness, actually.

Mary, I would say to remember that “more disturbing” does not equal “better”. Could the evil clown in Inside Out have been a far scarier monster? Sure, but that wouldn’t exactly be a good idea in that movie. The movie would be worse for it, I think. Itoi himself decided to scale back the more disturbing plans he had for the ending of Mother 3, and I think he made the right call. Too disturbing, and it becomes a major distraction from the brotherly love story he’s trying to tell at that part. There’s an important balance to reach if you intend to have a certain tone in a scene or a whole story. I might have wanted to see some more of those flashbacks, but then the battle itself would have dragged on even longer, and so he may have made the call to cut it off after he felt the point had already been made.

I recall a lesson from Miyamoto to the Retro developers, “Just because the idea is good doesn’t mean it has to go in the game.” What this means is that a game’s design, or a story, needs to have focus. The detail might be good, maybe the best thing ever, but if it disrupts the flow of the game or story, it’s got to go. Maybe it can later be adapted into another game later on, but in a good game, good ideas can get cut for good reasons, not just lack of time or money. Tropical Freeze is the game those Retro developers were discussing, and that’s an amazing game. One can imagine what kinds of ideas they might have been wanting, but when the end product flows as smoothly as it does, it’s best to see those ideas as possible seeds for future games than “missed opportunities”.

Pixar is a company that seems to finally be learning this lesson. They’ve always made good movies, but all too often with their more experimental stuff, they will cram it with contrasting ideas that don’t mesh well together. “Up” is a good movie. The main portion of the movie is an enjoyable adventure. The first 10 minutes is, all by itself, one of the most moving and emotional things I’ve EVER seen. However, when they put those two together, there’s a rather noticeable clash that never seems to get resolved. The first 10 minutes are, in my opinion, TOO good for the rest of the movie. The rest of the movie is good, don’t get me wrong, but it NEVER gets as good as that first ten minutes, and that’s a disservice to the rest of it. It would have been better to either space out bits of that first section as flashbacks to make the old man more understandable, or make the old man seem rather cantankerous and hard to understand until that whole ten minutes is revealed near or at the very end, giving an amazing closure to the whole thing. Wall-E is another example, where the first section and the second section really don’t seem to mesh well together at all. With Inside Out, Pixar finally resolves these issues, and the movie really feels like a “complete” whole, every part finely crafted and necessary to the story, with only a couple occasional (and funny) weird parts here and there, just for spice. I would love to be a fly on that wall, because I imagine there were plenty of really good ideas that Pixar’s team decided to cut because they hurt the flow of the movie. They’ve learned the lesson of where to cut, and that’s a great one to learn. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Anyway, to summarize, the deleted content is interesting, but I don’t think it’s necessary and the game feels “complete” as it is. Well, aside from that ending. That ending is pretty divisive, isn’t it?

Gamerz31w said on Jun. 30, 2015

Did EarthBound 64 has some game engine?I really like to no what’s going on with MOTHER 3 for SNES,Bound to Something and EarthBound 2: the boundening.?

NessinEagleland said on Jun. 30, 2015

Is the Earthbound series REALLY that niche anymore? Just VC games are dominated nintendos digital sales charts

Gamerz31w said on Jun. 30, 2015

Niche cliché

Zelda said on Jul. 2, 2015

As for ranger of health heterosexual morality against GENDER and LGBT reality for MOTHER 3 cross dressing fashion I decided I’m putting censorship for EarthBound 2 in unofficial individual way submitting game data on mediafire(not available for YouTube.

Nintendo of America said on Jul. 3, 2015

Most of the Forest Prayer Sanctuary is obscured by a hill with trees, as well as the stone ‘bed’ near it.
In chapter two we have balcony outside Osohe so NOA should about that depth.I bet Barrier Trio butt dance will re-appear in EarthBound Forever After GBA VC for Nintendo Wii U.

Obama said on Jul. 6, 2015

Is there a shard of chance for MOTHER 3 outside japan re-release date?


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