You can make a laundry list of theoretical reasons why Mother 3 hasn’t seen a Western release over the years, both plausible and conspiratorial — poor release timing on an increasingly outdated console, general obscurity, Reggie Fils-Aimé just liked drinking the tears of Mother fans (I saw that one a lot on starmen.net back in the day actually) — but it turns out the people who made it have their own thoughts on the matter. In a Q&A with the Kit & Krysta Podcast, Producer Shinichi Kameoka answered a variety of questions, and the leadoff one was about why he believed Mother 3 has never made it overseas. His response:
“Personally, I think the biggest selling point of Mother 3 is Shigesato Itoi’s unique writing style; translating the charm and nuances of his writing into other languages is quite a challenge, and maybe that’s why it’s taken so long to consider international releases of Mother 3.”
It’s a simple answer, but honestly dead-on. Localization is always a tricky process, and especially so when the writing style of a game is so unique and flavorful. There’s a reason that Clyde “Tomato” Mandolin, lead translator for the Mother 3 fan translation, runs an entire website and brand devoted to the practice. Heck, he wrote an entire book on the translation effort of EarthBound (which was done primarily by Marcus Lindblom, who had to write certain portions basically on his own), and that was a massive undertaking. Localizing Mother 3 at all is no small feat, and we should be thankful that the fan translation that exists is as amazing as it is.
Kameoka discussed other bits in the Kit & Krysta interview, including his favorite Mother 3 characters (the Magypsies) and his recent NintendoSwitch game Egglia Rebirth. Check out the full Q&A for more!
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