Shigesato Itoi TELLS ALL about MOTHER 3

Lucas and Claus"Love Theme" Written at End of Development

- Shogo Sakai's music is just magnificent.
Itoi   It's good, huh?!
- It really is!
Itoi   I felt like Sakai's ring-side supporter. Basically, Sakai wasn't competing with the music director of MOTHER 2, Keiichi Suzuki. He was instead competing with Keiichi's fans.
- Yes, the music from 1 and 2 was magnificent as well.
Itoi   It's because the music in MOTHER and MOTHER 2 has reached its zenith. It's become a sort of monument with the way everyone raves about it. Like a "Monument of MOTHER Music".
- Yes. (laughs)
Itoi   People treat it that way, almost as if they're paying their respects to this "monument". Dealing with that kind of immortalized perfection as competition is really tough. And Sakai had to deal with that battle all on his own.
Shogo Sakai
Sakai has also worked on Smash Brothers Melee and Kirby's Air Ride. Notice the shirt he is wearing.
- So Mr. Sakai was the only one in charge of MOTHER 3's music?
Itoi   That's right. And there was an insane number of songs to be taken care of. If you look at the number of songs, you'll see what I mean.
- There are 250 songs in the sound player.
Itoi   If you think about it, I had to assign the music to someone in the development team, someone who understood the game the most. I realized this even before we started development, so I couldn't just request a musician outside of the project like Keiichi and have messages passed on for each and every song request. Plus, Hirokazu Tanaka is the president of Creatures, Inc. now.
- And busy with the music composition for Pokemon as well, I would guess.
Itoi   Yeah. And only someone with plenty of time to dedicate to the project could do it. Said person would have to be so involved that if he couldn't contribute pencil-sharpening duties on the development site, he couldn't have worked on the music. On top of that, Shogo Sakai knew the most about MOTHER 3's story. He would tell the person making the scenario stuff like, "About this scene, I think we should do this." (laughs)
- The same musical feel from 1 and 2 is really present this time around, too.
Itoi   It is. And achieving that is really difficult. Because the things you like and the things you've learned are both so important. Technique, too. Sakai really was like a pillar of support. I really don't think that MOTHER 3 could have been possible without him.
- We, as fans, are truly grateful. Which of Mr. Sakai's songs do you particularly enjoy?
Itoi   I really don't think I can answer that question... They're all very good.
- After finishing the game, the Love Theme is a real tear-jerker.
Itoi   Actually, that song was made specially, later on. Actually, we didn't even have that song until far into the game's development. When the ending was still unfinished, we were considering just using the Pigmask theme, (sings tune) Dadan-dan-daan, dadan-dan-daan, for our main song. Personally, at the time, I was perfectly content with using the Pigmask song as the main theme.
- Oh, really?
Itoi   But during an extremely important scene, we decided it was necessary to have a new song created that would have the greater impact regarding what we wanted most to portray.
- And when did that come up?
Itoi   It was December of last year [2005]. When I announced on Hobonichi3, "It's almost finished!", the "Love Theme" didn't even exist. But it added a sense of emotion that practically changed some of the actual story.
- Mr. Sakai sure produced a fantastic piece in a short amount of time.
Itoi   Essentially, Mr. Sakai was waiting for the order. He said, "Oh, that's going to be tough," with a big smile on his face. Then he completed the piece almost immediately, brought it to me and asked, "How's that?" (laughs)
- I hear you requested a melody that could be played on the piano using one finger.
Itoi   Yes. Eight Melodies4 shows up in elementary school textbooks, and I even received e-mails telling me how people heard the song played on the flute at school. After that, I imagined, this time, a child who can't really play the piano, sitting in the school music room playing the piece with a single finger. I told Sakai how I wanted a song that anyone could hum along with, and he came up with something really magnificent. I was really thrilled.
Note 3: Hobonichi
Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun. A website run by Itoi, with the tag line, "Lifting spirits with mediocre media."
Note 4: Eight Melodies
The Eight Melodies song played a vital role in the MOTHER adventure.