Mother 3 was considered for western digital release, possibly using Japanese version
Posted on May 3, 2022 by Brian(@NE_Brian) in GBA, General Nintendo, News
Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime has opened up about Mother 3, and specifically how the title has never been made available in the west.
Reggie released his new book today, and the audio version contains a bonus interview with Geoff Keighley. At one point, Keighley asked if Nintendo felt it just wasn’t worth bringing over.
Reggie said in response:
“The initial decision not to launch the game had happened before I joined the company, but certainly afterwards I had many conversations with Mr. Iwata about this game, about the fan passion, and certainly the perspective was the first game on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System had not sold all that well. Certainly as I’ve gone back to look at it, the marketing wasn’t great. I think it was marketed some bizarre way like ‘this game stinks’ or something like that. It really was not the best marketing activity behind the launch of a new game. Because it hadn’t sold well, because yes there’s a lot of time and financial investment in localizing this type of content, it just really wasn’t a priority. And then when it’s at the point where we’re putting all of our effort on Nintendo DS and games like Metroid Prime Hunters and Mario Kart for DS and Pokemon for DS, it really just was not a strong business priority. But boy, the game journalists had to ask me every single time.”
Reggie was then asked if it was ever possible to do something with Mother 3 and release the game in any form. It sounds like there was a good deal of consideration to a digital-only launch during the 3DS era. Based on Reggie’s comments, one possibility would have involved simply releasing the Japanese version on the North American and European stores without English localization.
“There was a serious conversation during the Nintendo 3DS days, and as we launched the Wii U, that we should look at making the game available digitally through our digital storefront, because at that point the production and distribution costs are the minimus. We had already had conversations about having a group of games that were not localized, that it was the pure Japanese game made available. And we did that for a number of titles. They did okay. Mr. Iwata and I had that conversation about Mother 3.
What ended up happening is that we launched the first Mother game called EarthBound Beginnings on the Wii U eShop. That’s a sense of the conversations that were happening and the thought process. And who knows? If Mr. Iwata had not passed away, if maybe the Wii U had done better in the marketplace, maybe the Mother 3 game would have made it at that point. So there were certainly conversations, but it would have needed to have been done the right way.”
Finally, Reggie reflected on the memorable moment from Nintendo’s E3 2014 video presentation in which it poked fun at requests for Mother 3 localization:
“It was a great way to recognize that certainly there was fan energy and fan support for this game. Certainly, it was a bit of a wink and a nod to that journalist community who was constantly asking me about the game, and having a little bit of fun in our video-based E3 presentation to throw a fireball at a journalist who had asked me just one too many times, ‘Reggie, what about Mother 3?'”