Shigesato Itoi TELLS ALL about MOTHER 3

Feverish LucasMOTHER 3: For the Big Boys

- The way you learn PSI is portrayed a little differently this time.
Itoi   It's like, umm... It's like menstruation.
- ???
Itoi   One of my themes is representing the physiology of the human body. It's a lot like the Asthma Spray6. A character will start sweating while realizing PSI, almost like with a teething fever. Whenever a human being develops or learns a new ability, the body really takes a beating. I've had this experience myself--whenever I'm feeling sluggish and exhausted, it's absolutely certain that good things will follow. When you're given an overwhelming problem you just can't deal with, the only way to cope with it is to completely mobilize your heart and your mind and make a strenuous effort to get through it.
- Ah. Now that you mention it, when Lucas first starts realizing PSI in the tunnel stage, he's told to "just deal with it" by a Magypsy.
Itoi   Almost like, "What's about to happen to him?" (laughs)
- (laughs)
Itoi   Only a grownup could've created a story development like that. (laughs)
- The sense of Lucas's growth into an adult in that scene is very strong. (laughs)
Itoi   Most games are made by people who deal with young people and children, and they make their games with a child's heart in mind. So I wanted to approach things from an older man's perspective. I love doing things like that. (laughs) I want children to understand that, too. But children are good at picking up the general idea behind things. In the future, if I happen to live to be 90 years old, I want one of those kids to come to me as a grownup and say, "A long time ago, in third grade, I played MOTHER 3. I was really nervous and confused about what was going on in the hot spring in that tunnel... And that's what led me to the place I am today."
Both: (laugh)
- What place would that be? Oh, man, this is getting iffy... (laughs)
Itoi   Even now, there are people who grew up with "Naughty Good Boy"7. I think it's really similar to that.
realizing something
A coming-of-age trial? You wonder what on earth is going on in the pitch darkness... but then!
- Of course, CERO8 designated MOTHER 3 suitable for all ages.
Itoi   Of course it's suitable for all ages. (laughs) Now that you mention it, showing Duster's leg dragging was okay, too.
- Why did you give Duster a bad leg?
Itoi   I figure that because there are handicapped people in our world, it would also be part of the world of MOTHER 3. After all, there's no way that any two people have the same physique or even the same personality. Just like with the Magypsies, I included Duster so we could have someone with bad breath, a disabled leg, and living as a thief. The MOTHER 3 world is all about having friends like them. Perhaps you could call them symbols of not rejecting such people.
- Even though Duster's leg is bad, he attacks by kicking...
Itoi   You can speculate whatever you like about it. For example, some people might think that there is a metal rod inside it. Others might guess that it's stretched out because it's normally not very useful. I leave it entirely up to your imagination.
Note 6: Asthma Spray
The main hero in MOTHER has asthma and uses the item "Asthma Spray" to treat attacks.
Note 7: Naughty Good Boy
A column Itoi wrote about 20 years ago in a Japanese subculture magazine entitled "Bikkuri House"
Note 8: CERO
The Japanese equivalent of the ESRB game rating system in America.

ghostsPumped about Creating the Pump Chimeras

- Osohe Castle was a strange place, with its ghosts.
Itoi   Whenever trying to portray something, how to represent the flow of time is always a source of debate. No matter how correctly you portray a time period, it's easy for that depiction to become really shallow. But when you dig up a fossil, you realize that there was a time when this thing actually inhabited this world. All kinds of historic ruins hold this kind of power, the Nazca Lines, for instance. So I created Osohe Castle to act as a time scale of sorts.
- Osohe Castle is truly a relic that communicates something about the past. Tanetane Island is a very strange place, too.
Itoi   I had a hard time with that island. It has that Moonside vibe to it9, and it's like a mirror of the player's mind in that it reflects their worst nightmares. Even the temporary dialogue I had used there at first was so unpleasant I couldn't stand to look at it. So I tried to tone things down just enough by rewriting it. But that island definitely isn't pleasant at all.
- When I played it, I felt like I really had to get out of there. It was like an innate defense mechanism.
Itoi   That's because it's meant to make you feel that way. Right now I'm keeping up with the American drama "Lost"10, and they both share some of the same "flavor". I love stuff like that. I watched other things like "Twin Peaks"11, too. But if I had to say what my worst kind of nightmare might be, it would involve my friends and family all being evil.
Tanetane Island
Tanetane Island. Nightmares involving friends and family are the scariest.
- All kinds of strange Chimeras appear in the game, but which one is your favorite?
Itoi   Well, let's see, there are so many that show up... I'm going to remain quiet on that matter.
- There are so many Itoi-ish Chimeras that show up...
Itoi   That's only because I was pleased with the Chimeras I kept coming up with. Even names that I tacked on temporarily easily made it through to the final version. The Squawking Stick was really something, wasn't it? (laughs) But I really got a kick out of the Bucket Brothers and the other Chimeras that help pump out the water.
Bucket Brothers
Itoi's beloved Bucket Brothers. They really tried hard.
- The pump Chimeras are fantastic! Though they're more funny than strange. (laughs) But actually, since I rushed through the game, I accidentally chose the right Chimera first.
Itoi   You dummy! (laughs) You're not even playing around in the world of MOTHER 3!
- I'm sorry! (laughs)
Itoi   It was written all over his face that he was the right choice. I even went so far as to have the person say, "Oh, it's just some ho-hum thing..." when you select the right Chimera! (laughs)
- So that's why I thought it seemed like too easy of an answer. (laughs) But I'll be sure to use the Bucket Brothers when I play through the game a second time.
Itoi   Those guys are great. Doria even cheers them on and says, "Look at them try so hard!" (laughs)
Note 9: Moonside
A hallucinatory city from MOTHER2. Even down to the conversations, every little thing was unexplainable.
Note 10: Lost
A story about a plane crash on a deserted island. Friendship and betrayals paint a picture of the contradicting psychology of humans.
Note 11: Twin Peaks
A television serial drama that ran from 1990-1991. Its enigmatic but alluring story was a big hit in Japan. Directed by the distinctive David Lynch.