The following article is a three-way discussion between Shigesato Itoi, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Satoru Iwata concerning the circumstances of the Earthbound 64 cancellation. The discussion goes on for quite a long time as they pore over every detail they could possibly think of to explain exactly what happened when they pulled the plug on the ill-fated Nintendo 64 game they’d been working on for a total of six years.
This discussion was posted alongside the official cancellation announcement on August 22nd, 2000, so it’s 13 years late to make it out of Japan, which isn’t surprising considering the volume. I recommend sitting down to read it when you’ve got time to burn.
(Original article can be found here.)
To Everyone Who Waited
A Discussion between Shigesato Itoi, Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto about the cancellation of MOTHER 3.
MOTHER 3 creator/scenario writer
MOTHER 3 producer
Former president of HAL Laboratory, current head of Nintendo’s corporate planning division and consultant at HAL Laboratory
MOTHER 3 producer
Head of Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development
Itoi: We’re publishing this discussion before the opening of Nintendo Space World which runs August 24-26, 2000. Upcoming games are announced on the 24th, but some people may be surprised to see MOTHER 3 absent from the lineup. So before that happens, I’d like to have a discussion between the three of us so everyone can understand why MOTHER 3 disappeared. I’m very sorry to say this, but we’ve recently decided to discontinue the game’s development. Is “discontinue” the right word?
This issue celebrates the magazine’s one year anniversary with a discussion between two of the video game powerhouses at the time: Shigesato Itoi and Shigeru Miyamoto. They discuss their professional relationship, the unpopular Japanese TV advertisements for the Nintendo 64, the 64DD (two years before its release), and lots and lots of random personal questions!
Shigesato Itoi recently sat down with Satoru Iwata to share a discussion in commemoration of the MOTHER 2 release on the Japanese WiiU Virtual Console. Iwata did most of the talking, and former Weekly Famitsu editor and current Hobonichi employee (and token MOTHER 2 guy in the office) Yasuhiro Nagata headed the interview.
Shigesato Itoi’s Hobonichi office has a tradition of celebrating the release of every Animal Crossing game by turning office-wide gameplay into an actual work project. (Jealous yet?) Almost every person in the office participates and keeps a blog of their town and experiences. You can read each person’s blog by clicking on their picture. (For those of you who for whatever strange reason can’t pick out Itoi’s face, his AC blog is here.)
In conjunction with this tradition, Iwata and two members of Nintendo’s EAD visited Itoi’s office last month to hold a group discussion about Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS a few days before the game’s release.
Near the end of the discussion, Iwata brings up MOTHER 2 and reveals some interesting insight about his work on the game:
Itoi: It’d be great for people who have never played the series to play this game. It’s—well, it’s a game that doesn’t have many struggles to it. It’s just filled with wonderful things.
Iwata: “Adults, children, and even your older sister.”
Itoi: Yeah. (laughs)
Iwata: This is kind of a personal thing, but when we made MOTHER 2 and you wrote the phrase “Adults, children, and even your older sister”… if you hadn’t been focusing on that idea, I don’t think I would have ever announced Nintendo’s intentions to expand the gaming population [when I took over as president]. So that slogan of yours turned out to be critical advice for me.
Itoi: And that sense of “Adults, children, and even your older sister” is quite clear in Animal Crossing.
It’s really heartwarming to see the MOTHER series have enough of an effect on people to influence the direction of Nintendo as a company.
You can find the original Japanese article here.
I went to a Christmas event recently where there was a gingerbread town on display. One of the gingerbread houses immediately stood out to me–it was a really well-made Japanese dojo, complete with koi pond, rock garden, and ninjas practicing with Pocky!
Whenever I read kanji, the English meaning comes to mind faster than the Japanese reading does, so when I read the kanji they’d drawn onto the piece, something seemed off.
Then I realized, once the Japanese reading hit me, that they’d come across a homonym and, unfortunately, used the wrong “dojo.”
Today’s Japanese vocabulary lesson: sympathy. Reading: dōjō. Kanji: 同情
Also featured at the event was a Lucky Cat themed tree. It was awesome! (And the golden cat’s arm moved!) I love seeing Japanese stuff in America, it makes me feel like there’s a lot of love between our countries and that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside ♪
Thanks to generous MOTHER fan Nabeneko-san, I’ve acquired magazine scans for a large handful of retro gaming magazines. These interviews with Itoi and other MOTHER staff were the bulk of my NaNoTraMo work, but I decided to wait on posting these until I managed to get images for the articles.
Lo and behold, after much scanning and organization, our Japanese hero sent me the files to accompany the translations. It will be time consuming, but I will now be able to slowly edit and upload all those magazine interviews I slaved over last fall. Apologies for the mysterious lack of follow-up.
To start it off, I’ve provided a special full-page article translated as-is for you to essentially read straight from the magazine. This is one of the earliest interviews for Earthbound 64, as it is the November 1996 issue of The 64Dream (significant because it was the first official issue of the magazine, and Earthbound 64 was supposed to be one of the first games available for the console). Even though the translation was already posted, the graphics are a lot of fun (or radical, should I say), so even if you had read the original text, I recommend skimming through it again because I also made some edits in the translation. I do not plan to continue full-page editing like this; I’ll cut out all the images and paste them into text posts as I had done previously.