PLEASE NOTE: This is an English translation of a Nintendo Dream magazine article.
I Assumed MOTHER 3 Couldn't be Restarted
- (Imitating the voice in the initial character naming screen) OK desu ka?
Itoi (laughs) Yeah, OK desu.
- That "OK desu ka?" voice is yours, isn't it?
Itoi I didn't even know that my voice was recorded! It was over ten years ago when Hirokazu Tanaka1 tricked me into saying it after he'd hidden a tape recorder. Now it's even being used as-is in MOTHER 3, without any remastering.
- When I heard it, I thought, wow, MOTHER really has returned.
Itoi A lot of people have mentioned that. That, and "What about MOTHER 1? It didn't get an 'OK desu ka'!" (laughs) Everyone is using MOTHER 2 as a sort of scale of measurement. I've come to understand that quite well.
- Even so, MOTHER 3 sales are going great, aren't they? Congratulations.
Itoi Thank you. I've been really tired since its release, though.
- I'm sure you were extremely anxious even before the release.
Itoi Oh, I was! Software really is like a child.
- It's like a child that refuses to be born finally making its appearance into the world.
Itoi That's about right. I never would have thought that I'd come to feel this way.
- I know it was an extremely long production period, but what were your feelings?
Itoi Well, besides the times when nothing was being made at all... (laughs) No, well, in the beginning it was extremely interesting. When I thought up the story and when the production was coming to an end were really the heaviest periods. Of course, because it's a team project, there isn't a whole lot you can do directly yourself, so a lot of the time was just spent worrying about it.
- All of the fans were left in suspense worrying about it, too.
Itoi Yes, I'm sorry. (laughs)
- The N64 version was cancelled back in 2000, and after having completely given up, the new development was announced three years later.
Itoi Yeah, that was at the time of 1+2's announcement.
- Everyone was delighted when they read Mr. Saturn's "MOTHER 3 is coming, too" message, but...
Itoi They said, "You're lying!" (laughs) But, even though so much time and effort had been spent on the game, once its cancellation had been announced, I assumed development on MOTHER 3 couldn't be restarted.. So this time around, the job felt like I was marching with the spirits of MOTHER 2 and 3 behind me. Like I was crossing the river Styx. (laughs)
An extremely joyful message from Mr. Saturn.
Born November 10, 1948. Hometown in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture. Blood type A. Head of the very interesting "Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun" website, and has worked on the copywriting for Studio Ghibli. Also the mother of the MOTHER series.
Favorite Thing: Home Run
Favorite Food: Croquette Rolls
Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun: www.1101.com
Note 1: Hirokazu Tanaka & Keiichi Suzuki
Music composers for MOTHER and MOTHER 2.
- But once you managed to complete it so perfectly, tons of postcards came in from readers expressing their appreciation for you and the staff.
Itoi It's greatly appreciated. But that's also why it's so exciting. It's not quite like any other kind of created work. And it wasn't like a vengance-driven battle--I'm not exactly sure what it was--but it really was a feeling like that of a prayer. A feeling like, "If I pray hard enough, everyone can go to heaven!"
- Fans weren't the only ones happy about MOTHER 3's release. Mr. Iwata2, who announced the cancellation, and everyone who had been involved in the production were jumping for joy too, I'm sure.
Itoi You can say that again! Mr. Iwata has been the producer of MOTHER 3 since the N64 version. (laughs) But come to think of it, the decision to cancel MOTHER 3 eventually connected to all of the hit titles coming out for the DS now. And so, if Mr. Iwata had not become the president [of Nintendo], rereleasing MOTHER 3 never would have been the "adventure" it was. So I often say it was like a tiny bug climbing a great mountain, only to find itself atop a pile of dung.
- I'm not sure if that's really the best way to...
Itoi That was the wrong way of putting it. (laughs) It was like we skinned the wrong cat. Wait, no. When it rains, it pours... Well, all of those are wrong. (laughs) We had to deal with some pretty trying things at that time, but I learned this time around that if you really put your heart and prayers into it, things will happen.
- This may not be MOTHER 2 but prayer is still important.
Itoi Praying is important. So is singing.
In the ends of MOTHER 1 and 2, "Sing" and "Pray" are key.
|Note 2: Satoru Iwata
Currently the company president of Nintendo. Served as producer and main programmer of MOTHER 2 during development.
It's Not Like Making Pancakes
- Let's get back on track. When the main screen appears, it's very comforting to see the warm, MOTHER-like pixel art.
Itoi Those dots really hit the spot. (laughs)
- What were your thoughts behind choosing a pixel style in a time when gorgeous CG is flooding the market?
Itoi Flashy CG just isn't an option for me. I often find myself thinking how ordinary CG is. It's all you see when you watch movies and TV. CG isn't something to associate with the words "pretty" and "luxurious" as much as people should be saying, "Well, it's just your average CG." I figured because we're drawing a picture, it's better to just draw something suitable and disconnect it from the trends around us.
- I can't help but feel as if it's instead connected with the recent retro gaming boom, especially with the 20th anniversary of the Famicom.
Itoi Oh, that's just a coincidence. It's a special characteristic of my teams and I to completely drag out production time. For example, I've been asked why we didn't just release the game on the DS, but the DS was released afterwards. (laughs) You see, we started making 3 before the DS was even announced. So when I'm asked why we chose a pixelated style, all I can say is, "Well, hasn't it always been that way?!" (laughs) It's not that easy to just take your hands off the wheel. But once the state-of-the-art Game Boy Micro came out, I started saying how happy I was that we could put it out for the Micro, then.
Itoi But now, people are asking why we chose the Game Boy Micro. You can't just change something like that so easily, you know? Seriously, it's not like we're making pancakes here. (laughs)