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EarthBound Fans Take Matters Into Their Own Hands

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the if-you-want-something-done-right dept.

59

Reid Young writes "EarthBound fans have waited 11 years for Nintendo to release the game's sequel, Mother 3, which came out in Japan in April 2006. However, following a recent announcement by a Nintendo employee that it almost certainly won't happen, the fans are taking it upon themselves to get the job done by organizing a fan translation with some of the finest names in ROM hacking. Is it ethical? Does Nintendo even care?"

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Bah, who cares? (3, Funny)

Lordpidey (942444) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789781)

I'm too busy playing my never released in America fan-translated Secret of Mana 2.

Is it ethical??? (4, Insightful)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789883)

It probably isn't legal by a strict definition, but you'd have to have a pretty twisted sense of ethics to have an ethical problem with this. Nintendo hasn't released it in the US in over a decade and has indicated that they probably never will, so who could the fans possibly be hurting by translating it themselves? One might argue that everyone who wanted to try it out would be _more_ ethical if they imported a japanese copy of the cart before playing the translated ROM, but given that Nintendo has taken steps to try and prevent imported games from working (though admitedly pretty lame attempts for the NES and SNES) and that any carts you could get ahold of at this point would almost certainly be used so no money would be going back the original creators anyways, i think that argument doesn't hold much water.

Re:Is it ethical??? (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792656)

With the recent ruling against Lik Sang, it may be soon that folks will not be able to buy the Japanese import of any game, since precedence has been set. Sure, the case was in Europe... but how long before such cases are launched in North America? What I don't understand is why they would have such a grudge against used games, or worse, used and OLD unsupported games. I guess it's a case of "If we can't have any money from that transaction, then neither will you."

Re:Is it ethical??? (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#16793852)

2 items:

1) Lik Sang did not go to court. There were no rulings. They were not found guilty.

2) Not all European countries have precedence. In France, even if Lik Sang had been found guilty (or liable) it would have no bearing on any future cases, related or other-whys.

-Rick

Re:Is it ethical??? (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#16796818)

What I don't understand is why they would have such a grudge against used games, or worse, used and OLD unsupported games. I guess it's a case of "If we can't have any money from that transaction, then neither will you."

Competition. If you are busy playing a fan-translated Secret of Mana 2, you won't be in the shop buying Generic RPG 3. People only have so much money to use on entertainment, and even if the old game was free, only so many hours in their day, and competition risks lowering Nintendo's profits.

Remember, corporations hate free markets and competition. Getting rid of them is almost always the motivator for seemingly senseless corporate behavior. Of course it is wrong to try to stop people from selling their old games, but the whole idea of a corporation is to allow for individual profits without individual responsibility, so it gets done anyway.

Re:Is it ethical??? (2, Insightful)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16793456)

The game in question is Mother 3, which is the sequel to Earthbound. It was just released for GBA in mid 2006, and the GBA is region free.

I agree wholeheartedly with your point, though I just wanted to clear up that it is very possible (and is being done by alot of SM.net members) to import the Japanese cart. However, it is very difficult to find an original Earthbound cart!!!

As far as I know, Nintendo doesn't seem to have a big deal with imports... at least not as much as Sony appears to... I'm sure everyone has seen the slamming Sony has taken because of Lik-Sang.

Re:Is it ethical??? (1)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795294)

I seem to recall hearing that at least the first party Wii games will also be region free; third party developers will have the option of adding region encoding, but it's not clear yet how many of them will enforce region encoding.

Re:Is it ethical??? (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16796262)

However, it is very difficult to find an original Earthbound cart!!!

It's not hard at all, there are always several on eBay. But you do have to be willing to pay $40+ for a SNES game, which I haven't been able to bring myself to do yet.

There's another group further underway... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16789895)

Don't misunderstand me, the people behind this patch are GOOD at what they do. I have NO doubt that they will come out with a high-quality translation, but I also know that there's at least one other group already translating it, and I believe they're really close to finishing it. I wish them both the best of luck, I can't wait to play the game.

They can be found here [mother3.org] .

What I would like to know is... (1)

Durrok (912509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789897)

As someone who never played the game (my parents would only get me mario titles for my snes) would it be worth busting out the still working SNES and finding a copy of it or grabbing the ROM?

Basically, would a 23 year old who loves RPGs love this game today?

Re:Do your job Zonk. (1)

Nakarti (572310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792522)

I'll give that question a definite probably.
I was replaying Earthbound in an emulator(Have the cart, retired the SNES) two years ago at 22, and I've been playing FFIV on GBA till I beat it thoroughly (emulating it next to actually get those rare items.)

Re:What I would like to know is... (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16793490)

I still own my SNES, and still have the working cart I bought the first day of release! I play it from time to time, and will tell you that if you enjoy RPGs you will most likely enjoy Earthbound. Picking up the cart can be expensive, although it is possible. Ebay is really your best bet though, unfortunately. Most game stores never see a cart pass through.

Re:What I would like to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794078)

Yes. It is the most quirky, charming RPG I have ever played. I think the only way you would not like it if you were lacking a soul.

Re:What I would like to know is... (1)

wikdwarlock (570969) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794700)

As a kid, this title was definitely near or at the top of my RPG list. It's one of those that actually sucks you so far into the characters that I kinda felt proud/sad when I beat it. They do these reminiscing snapshot sequences about 3 or 4 times during the game, and it's always a "Wow, I remember how tough/fun/silly/great that part was!" moment. DEFINITELY try to get this cart or ROM.

Re:What I would like to know is... (1)

aleatory_story (862072) | more than 7 years ago | (#16795632)

If you have a quirky sense of humor and like something "different" than the norm, you will probably love Earthbound. It's one of my favorite console RPGs, right next to Chrono Trigger, Xenogears and FFXI (III). It may not have the plot intricacy of some other games, but it's still a heartwarming story with alluring characters, a fantastically nostalgic soundtrack, and decent gameplay. Yeah, the gameplay isn't the highlight... but so much else about the game made up for it.

Re:Bah, who cares? (1)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789911)

Heh, Secret of Mana is the second game in the series. Either "Seiken Densetsu 3" or "Secret of Mana 3" would be more apt names, but nothing involving a 2.

Re:Bah, who cares? (1)

wilgibson (933961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16793292)

Actually, you're both right. While SoM is the second game in the series, towards the end of the SNES's life here in the states SquareSoft was going to release Seiken Densetsu 3 as SoM2. Lots of fans still consider it to be SoM2 til this day. Unfortunately it was dropped just before release and North America got Secret of Evermore instead. Definitely not a fair trade in my books.

But really, I could care less... especially when I've got this [imageshack.us] and a modified SNES!

Fuck Nintendo (0, Troll)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789919)

If I write a book in French why should I care if someone translates it into English for another country and then lets people have it for free. I'm not losing anything (because I never would of done it any way) and if anything I'm gaining more fans.

I say screw Nintendo and let these guys work. It'll do Mother more good than bad.

Re:Fuck Nintendo (1)

StocDred (691816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16796310)

and if anything I'm gaining more fans

Right. Fans who now see your unnamed translater as the progenitor of the work, not you. Fans who might start paying that guy for it, if he starts whinging about his server costs or his paper costs or whatever. Fans who might have no idea that you are the actual writer, and were just stupid enough to not bother to secure the international publishing rights.

Sorry kids, but if Company A owns something, they deserve the right to decide how it is disseminated and who disseminates it. Just because you want it really really bad does not mean that you should instantly have it delivered to you.

Now, that's not to say Nintendo actually gives a shit about it. But you're just talking like another no-talent asshat who has never created anything of your own. Go write that French masterwork first, go create something that you care about and that other people want to take from you without due compensation, and then come back and talk knowledgeably about the topic.

Re:Fuck Nintendo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16823198)

You are such an asshole.

Nintendo (or Warner or...) can either sell their product in multiple regions or just shut the fuck up when someone goes and imports it. Your whole argument reeks of selfishness (if _I_ don't want/need it, fuck anyone who does) and shortsightedness. Do you work for a pharmaceutical company pushing to outlaw the import of Canadian drugs instead of pricing so seniors in the US can afford them here?

Re:Fuck Nintendo (1)

StocDred (691816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16833558)

I can't figure out who you're calling the asshole. Because being selfish is at the core of your argument, not mine. I'm not the guy saying that any ol' jerk in the world should be able to copy and distribute something that they did not make and do not own. Selfish people want what they cannot have.

And I never argued against the legal import of games. I think you're misreading me on this. If you live in the US and want to legally pay for and import games that were never released in the States, that is awesome. See, you're paying for the actual product, you're paying the import company who legally distributes that product. The original declaration stated that it should be okay for a fan to take something that Nintendo might actually maybe someday intend to use as a revenue source. It doesn't matter that TODAY they say they're not going to bother. Someday they may, and, sorry, but it's their property.

But as I said before your panties bunched, Nintendo may not give a fuck. They have not shown to be the type to voraciously shut down fan sites and such, to date. Nintendo may, secretly, be totally cool with the Earthbound thing. But in the larger scheme, your Free Information argument is bullshit in the real, non-Matrix world. Companies own things. Someday, should you own something, you may understand this.

This has always seemed weird to me. (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789923)

I mean... localisation is basicaly a "throw more money at it" type job. It doesn't take an incredible amoun of internal ressources: you just need a few internal people to make sure the job is correct, but it is a job that DEFINATELY can be outsourced, and is often better off that way. Outsourced here not meaning china/india/whatever, but meaning external companies.

When a game is as popular as Earthbound, or SD3 (the sequel of Secret of Mana, I just can't spell the name), I don't quite understand why game companies resist localisation so much

Its literally a matter of spend X amount of money, and return a nearly garenteed profit.

So why the bloody hell not?
I hope the Virtual console brings some never before seen in north america games, because we missed out on a lot, and playing hacked up ROMs, even if it was legal, often doesn't cut it. Dejap does good stuff, but there's just so much they can do.

Re:This has always seemed weird to me. (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794140)

Because there is an equation...

Spend X amount of money to translate the game, and if guaranteed revenue (not necessarily profit) Y is not greater than X... well the game doesn't come out.

I'm guessing Y was greater than X.

People on the internet always think their favorite (game/movie/band/whatever) is extremely popular because they see a lot of people talking about it, when in actuality, few people outside their specific forum/community are interested. Just because you've seen a thousand people talking about how they want Mother 3 does not automatically mean more than a thousand actually want the game.

Quiet! (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16789933)

If you're going to be late reporting something like this, can you at least wait a little longer so that it can be released before they catch wind and send a Cease and Desist letter?

Seriously.

Would you still enjoy Earthbound today? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16790077)

In response to the post asking if people would enjoy the original Earthbound today, I have to give an emphatic yes. The graphics are old, yes, and the inventory management is a tad clunky, but other than that, it's still a great game. Just one piece of advice: read everything. There are TONS of great jokes hidden throughout the series.

If you have an old SNES, you might be able to get an Earthbound cart on eBay (try to get one with the player's guide still intact, if you can!). Otherwise, the zSNES emulator and an Earthbound ROM (it's easy to find with Google... ROMnation or someone will probably have a copy) are your best bets.

Man, I still remember when I first played that game. I read Nintendo Power slavishly, waiting eagerly for any hints of when we'd see the game (same for FF II and III). A local video store did me a personal favor and pre-ordered the game for me so that I could get it ASAP. It wasn't more than a few months after mom was killed that I got to play it, and its quirky humour really gave me some much-needed cheering up.

Re:Would you still enjoy Earthbound today? (1)

J44xm (971669) | more than 7 years ago | (#16801314)

I've recently been playing it for the first time. (Just recorded the last Sound Stone melody.) It's pretty nutty to say that the game's not enjoyable today, I think. As was said, it's a bit dated but still a delight to play.

2 cents (2, Insightful)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790105)

The ethics are arguable, then again Japanese gaming has already profited from fan translated material, (FFIV, Rockman & Forte, Tales of Phantasia, etc) and I don't even have to mention the anime industry.

Additional Costs Beyond Localisation (5, Informative)

ctaylor (160829) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790117)

"When a game is as popular as Earthbound, or SD3 (the sequel of Secret of Mana, I just can't spell the name), I don't quite understand why game companies resist localisation so much"

Well, I can. ^_^

You have many more additional costs besides just paying the translators:
1. QA time to test new localised builds.
2. Marketing costs to sell new product. Both print costs, additional costs associated with art changes for your new market, and the payroll costs of your marketing department.
3. Sales people have to actually go out there and sell it when they could be selling something else.
4. The cost of the physical product. (This is usually non-trivial.)
5. That you're spending money that you could have spent on another product that you think would be more successful (ie, opportunity costs.)
6. Customer service/tech support additional hours.
7. Cash payouts to get better reviews (well, okay, maybe not this one... ^_^ )

Re:Additional Costs Beyond Localisation (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794556)

You also forgotten the

Programmers who rework the game (assuming no censoring, you still have to make the words fit the screen, adding room as Japanese and english just take up completely different sizes, not to meantion a variety of other problems just from the change)

Technical artists (or regular artists) if you are going to censor stuff.

The original company. There's many companies who have to buy the rights to a game to make it in america (mastiff, working design atlus). Don't think they will take a cut of profits. They want more than you know.

Paying a translator isn't a huge problem. It's actually something you can get away cheaply. Company I am working at got a Japanese translation for our game (along with all the normal suspects) and we're still debating "should we sell it there". The big problem is if you're going to sell your game somewhere and it flops you're buying back a bunch of "worthless" copies.

re: Quiet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16790127)

No kidding that people here are not "thinking," and no thanks to the anonymous above who pointed that group out.

You probably just jinxed it, sooo much for counting on that translation in a timely manner. Some people are too quick to cover such news and point that stuff out, so they get easily C&Ded....

EarthBound? Hmm, sounds familiar... (3, Interesting)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790161)

Yeah, as one might guess from my screenname, I'm a pretty big fan of the game. I played it on an emulator my senior year of high school, and it blew my mind. After that, I just so happened to end up learning Japanese, so I've been able to play Mother1+2 for the GBA and the new Mother3 in the original language and mostly follow the plot. (Well, sometimes I have to look stuff up, but I get the gist for the most part...) Still, I'll be pretty disappointed if Nintendo never releases at least EarthBound 0 and EarthBound for the Virtual Console of the Wii. It's always more fun to play a text heavy game in your native language. I've already bought the games once for GBA but I'd be willing to buy them again for the Wii. In other words, I'm willing to shovel money into Nintendo for basically nothing. And I'm not the only one either. Starmen.net have gotten 30,000 people to sign a petition for the various games. Not to release them in English is just foolishness on Nintendo's part.

So, my hope is that by threatening to put out a patched ROM, Starmen.net will scare Nintendo into actually releasing a translation themselves, but my worry is that Nintendo will just sue Starmen, kill off a really great fansite, then continue not picking up the freaking free money all of us fans are trying unsuccessfully to shove into their faces. Ugh! C'mon Nintendo, get it together!

Re:EarthBound? Hmm, sounds familiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16794494)

Just to clarify, they would release the completed translation as an .ips (i think that's still the format) translation patch. This would then be applied directly to the ROM itself. The end user would still ultimately have to find the ROM themselves.

From a legal standpoint, there's plenty of sites that offer the patches themselves for popular translations (FF5, DQ5, etc.) but not the ROM. I don't think they have gotten any kickback from NoA as a result.

Re:Is it ethical??? (4, Informative)

NemosomeN (670035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790265)

I don't think you realize that Mother 3 is a fairly new game. It came out this year, in fact.

Satoru Iwata doesn't care about white people. (0, Troll)

bartkusa (827611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790315)

Satoru Iwata doesnt' care about white people.

its a new game! (1)

HiddenCamper (811539) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790383)

mother3 is a GBA game that came out this year. its the long awaited sequal to mother2 (known as earthbound on the snes)

i think the way the article was worded, people are reading it as this game is 11 years old.

Re:What I would like to know is... (1)

BishonenAngstMagnet (797469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790435)

I first played the game years ago, and I'm 18 now. I still love it. I think it's appealing to all ages.

Re:There's another group further underway... (2, Insightful)

muel (132794) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790710)

Two groups working on the same game at the same time? The only reason in the world that the two groups wouldn't combine forces is pride; here's to hoping pride is pushed aside to get this done sooner, as the mother3.org team already has the original ROM hacked and worked out quite a bit (and, uh, so what if I'm impatient?).

Re:There's another group further underway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16793764)

No offense to the mother3.org team, but I expect the Starmen.net translation patch to be a whole lot better. I'll go so far as to say it'll probably be a better translation than we would have gotten from Nintendo had they decided to localize it. Those guys like Mother like nobody likes Mother.

Re:There's another group further underway... (1)

Stealth Potato (619366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16798260)

It's not so much pride as a complete lack of necessity. The Starmen.Net team consists of Tomato, demiforce, and Gideon Zhi. That is the freaking dream team of ROM hacking and translation. Tomato has brought us tons of awesome translations like Bahamut Lagoon and Star Ocean; he also worked for Funimation translating various anime shows, including Dragonball Z (personally I'm willing to forgive him for that one ;-). Demi brought us the original EarthBound Zero ROM. Gideon has done so many awesome hacking projects it would make your head spin. There is nothing you could possibly add to that team to make it better.

Ultimately, I think having two different translation projects will be great. The different interpretations will give us fans an interesting insight into the game; I know I will appreciate playing both. I've heard that the Mother3.Org team has been having problems though - they recently canned their translator or something like that. Here's hoping both teams can see their projects to completion!

Re:Additional Costs Beyond Localisation (2, Insightful)

AuraOfDeath (895466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790818)

8. Why invest money in something that OBVIOUSLY wont sell on the US market... Make another First person, spy based shooter... Or more sports games... Sports games are hot sellers.. ... So frustrating.. Japan gets games that would boggle the mind... And we get.. (Insert Nascar Driver name)'s Nascar Rally! .. The US gaming industry is mentally retarded in every sense of the word... It lost touch with the Gaming market eons ago....

Re:Additional Costs Beyond Localisation (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#16793632)

It's not obvious it won't sell, we know better than that. It's the market analysts and marketers who think it's "obvious". Somehow, the wild success of games such as Final Fantasy VII and now XII haven't clued them in.

They create self-fulfilling prophecies. They think X game will sell, and Y game won't. They market heavily game X and not game Y. End result, X game does better than Y. They see that they were correct in their analysis that Y wouldn't sell and feel justified in canning any Y-like games.

It's sad, but true.

Come on, Nintendo... (1)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16790840)

Just pay the guys for the translation job, and add the game to the Virtual Console line up. It's a no-brainer. It may actually get a few people to buy a wii.

Re:Come on, Nintendo... (1)

MilenCent (219397) | more than 7 years ago | (#16818632)

God, if only I lived in a world in which that were likely....

Unfortunately, if Nintendo pays them, then they have basically given permission for their illegal behavior. I do not think that will happen, alas.

64 Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16790988)

They had a version of EB that was going to be released for the 64 and then later for the 64 DD. I don't know what ever happened to the game, but you can search Google images for "earthbound 64" and find a load of images released from its development. Sad nothing ever came from it. Looked like they made some decent progress on it before it disappeared [along with the DD].

The 64 Version (1)

Corbu Mulak (931063) | more than 7 years ago | (#16791178)

Earthbound 64 basically became Mother 3 for the GBA. It has the same characters, and as near the same plot as I can tell without playing either one. The Mother team never did 3D before, and they couldn't get things going fast enough, so they scrapped it and waited.

I rented Earthbound when it first came out, loved it, then bought it. I still play it, too. It's a great game. I would love to see Mother 1+2 and Mother 3 to be released here, but I guess I'll have to just use emulators for Mother 1 and 3

Re: (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16791910)

You have many more additional costs besides just paying the translators: 1. QA time to test new localised builds. 2. Marketing costs to sell new product. Both print costs, additional costs associated with art changes for your new market, and the payroll costs of your marketing department. 3. Sales people have to actually go out there and sell it when they could be selling something else. 4. The cost of the physical product. (This is usually non-trivial.) 5. That you're spending money that you could have spent on another product that you think would be more successful (ie, opportunity costs.) 6. Customer service/tech support additional hours. 7. Cash payouts to get better reviews (well, okay, maybe not this one... ^_^ )
Indeed. 1) I accounted for in my post. Of course, Capcom never heard of it (ugh...). 3) is a decent point. The rest all falls in "throwing more money at it". When you're talking about a game like Earthbound or a Secret of Mana sequel, its a certainty that it will be a hit. And definately moreso than some other games SquareEnix or Nintendo localised. Thus the point: Except for marketing, it is literally just a matter of making phone calls to the guys on their outsourcing lists, making a deal, and selling it off. The cost -> return ratio is probably a heck of a lot higher than making a new, inferior and less popular (thats the important bit here) game and selling it only on one market. No matter how you look at it, localising a game is easier than making one from scratch (assuming you're not pulling off a Metroid Prime: Echos and reusing everything).

Thats why I don't get it (unless they plan on sticking it on Virtual Console). These 2 games have an extremely high demand. So does others like KH2:Final Mix. I'm not talking about localising Hello Kitty Island Adventure here. I'm talking about a Earthbound or Secret of Mana sequels. No matter the costs of localisation, the return would be substantial... Obviously they DO have a reason, but sometimes I'm wondering if they're good (I mean, look at Sony. Companies make stupid marketing mistakes all the time).

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16792898)

I'm talking about a Earthbound or Secret of Mana sequels. No matter the costs of localisation, the return would be substantial...

You mean like Legend of Mana? Sword of Mana? Children of Mana?

While they were obviously profitable enough for Square to keep making more, I wouldn't call any of them smash hits...

Re: (1)

HeavenlyBankAcct (1024233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16796882)

I'd say that the big problem with this line of logic is that Earthbound, at best, is a "cult classic" type of game. It has a rabid following in America amongst its niche, sure, and the fans are voracious -- but there's simply not ENOUGH of them to make "throwing more money at it" a logical solution. Your statement is obviously colored by your love for the title, which is understandable, but it would do well to recognize that the original Earthbound itself was a commercial flop in the US and that, traditionally, RPG titles are among the worst-selling games on this side of the world (with a few notable exceptions, ala, Final Fantasy.) Simply put, throwing ANY money at the game at this point would be a rather large risk for Nintendo to take, especially with a new console looming that will require its own substantial chunk of change to promote. Due to the diminishing returns Nintendo has seen in the American market over the past ten years or so, I can understand completely why they would not want to take such a substantial gamble on a game which, while desperately sought after by most hardcore fans, would not be more than a blip on the radar to the average American gamer. For the sake of full disclosure, I'd like to add that Earthbound is, by far, one of my favorite titles of all time. I do, however, think it's important to understand its position in the marketplace at large. Much like a lot of foreign cinema, while there is a very well-defined and eager consumer base for this title, it's just not simply a large enough niche to justify the costs entailed to 'port' it to the US. Your argument, while fairly rational, is basically akin to arguing that anime films should be released in American theatres -- you may like them, and your friends may like them, but the simple fact of the matter is that you're in the minority. With the Gears of War/Halo model of FPS currently ruling the roost, it seems quite clear to me that the 'big money' in gaming is most certainly not coming from RPG's these days, and especially not ones that are fairly esoteric and 'thought-provoking.'

Re: (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#16797102)

Your statement is obviously colored by your love for the title, which is understandable, but it would do well to recognize that the original Earthbound itself was a commercial flop in the US
Makes sense. Maybe things were different there, or my situation was anecdotal, which is very possible. When i bought the game back then, I personaly found it so so (mostly because it had a lot of text, and I did not speak english at the time), but tried to get it anyway. The pre-order list for all stores in my area was extreme (not because there was few units shipping, just because the waiting lists had a disgusting amount of people on them), coupled with the fact that all videogame magasines I have from the time (didn't have internet then) showed it as a big hit in all rankings.

I am not saying I am right by any mean, as you and a few others have pointed out the same thing to me, so I understand I am probably wrong by now. However, that is where I got the idea that it had been a hit. Not in the line of Chrono Trigger, mind you, but still a hit.

Re: (1)

HeavenlyBankAcct (1024233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16797288)

I would definitely file Earthbound's US success more under the Okami style of 'success', to use a modern example. It was a game that recieved great reviews, a huge promotional push (even though it WAS the freebie in-house Nintendo Power treatment), critical accolades, and a rabid fan base, yet still managed to be almost completely ignored by the gaming mainstream.

There certainly was a lot of difficulty finding the title when it was released, but I think that was due much more to a limited pressing and the fact that the game had been so popular in Japan for so long by the time it hit the shores here. To refer back to Okami again, it was a game with a stellar reputation before it ended up in the US, which means a lot to hardcore fans of its particular genre, but was still virtually unknown to the average games consumer. You can count on a dedicated 'cultish' fan base to buy a certain amount of units, but once those sales die off, you really do need the support of the market in general to sustain profits. Nintendo has never historically been a company that puts faith in "burst" sales and short-term profits and their titles and franchises that end up being incredibly financially succesful (Zelda, Mario) are titles that usually continue to sell impressively LONG after their release.

Or you could completely change the dialogue... (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 7 years ago | (#16791944)

.. as some rom-hackers have done. There are several completely script-changed roms out their. My personal favourite has to be the MK2 hack that changes Shang Tsung into a character known as 'Egg Drop', fighting the other characters over the rights to a car dealership.

certain hit??? (1)

segafreak (721003) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792174)

I quote from Shados: "When you're talking about a game like Earthbound or a Secret of Mana sequel, its a certainty that it will be a hit" I think you are a) overestimating the actual number of Earthbound fans and b) underestimating the costs of actually producing and selling videogames. So to cover the first point: Earthbound fans are not in fact that numerous. They are a small but INCREDIBLY vocal group of hardcore fanboys, who yell so loud that it seems like there are millions of them. I'm not convinced by the stats on that site about there being 300000 odd earthbound fans - they are counting page hits, which indicates a slight interest. I read the article(and the links), but i've never played the games, a case in point. The public seriously has no knowledge or interest in this game. I know this because I've played Super Smash Bros on the Gamecube with literally dozens of friends and aquaintances, 99% of whom have said "Who's that?" when the Earthbound characters appear. When it's explained that these characters are from a Japanese RPG that saw a limited US release and no european release whatsoever, they shrug and pay no more interest. Hence I am unconvinced there is actually a PROFITABLE market for these games in the US. On to the second point, there is some serious underestimation of the cost of merely marketing a game. Last time I checked the statistics, roughly half of all games fail to make a profit, including the ones with huge development/marketing budgets, backing from big publishers, franchise appeal etc. So if these games fail to make profit, how the hell will an obscure Japanese RPG ever sell enough units to turn a profit? Even if it DID manage to turn a profit, the amount would be so marginal as to negate the HUGE effort put into translating the game. Stop whinging about Nintendo's reluctance to provide a western release that would CLEARLY lose them money and be thankful that there are unpaid hackers working on it instead.

Bad translation... (1)

joshsnow (551754) | more than 7 years ago | (#16792474)

Will this give rise to a Japanese version of "All your base are belong to us"?

Re:Bad translation... (1)

despisethesun (880261) | more than 7 years ago | (#16796040)

No, that would be the case if it were translated from English to Japanese badly. They're going from Japanese to English with this one.

Forget translating the game (1)

nule.org (591224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16793094)

I'd just like a translation of the summary:

"EarthBound fans have waited 11 years for Nintendo to release the game's sequel, Mother 3, which came out in Japan in April 2006. However, following a recent announcement by a Nintendo employee that it almost certainly won't happen,[...]

If it did come out in April of this year than what "almost certainly won't happen"? From the comments I'm guessing an official English localization of the game is what won't happen.

I know this isn't fark, but DIAF, subby. You too, editors.

Hmmm.... (1)

Dan112476 (946631) | more than 7 years ago | (#16793290)

"EarthBound fans take matters into their own hands"

They must be lonely...

So? (2, Interesting)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16794238)

Wow. so fans are hacking a rom to translate it into english. That didn't happen with FF2 and FF3, FF5, Dragon Warrior 5 and 6.... oh wait it did for all of them and many more rpgs on the SNES.

This isn't a new trend and it's not something that appears to be frowned upon as long as the groups drop it if there was a real port. It's similar to Anime and the reason why anime grew to such heights in america. I wouldn't have known about Full Moon Wo Sagashite if it wasn't for a fansub of that. I've read manga translations where the authors contacted the translators and thanked them.

Is it moral/ethical/legal? That's up to someone else to decide however it's accepted in many places.

A bit behind the times... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16802974)

I like how this article seems to think that this translation is new. Fact is, we've known Nintendo wouldn't give us Mother 3, so the translation started more or less the second the ROM appeared online.
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