After news this week broke that Nintendo will bring EarthBound to the Wii U Virtual Console in the west later this year, the fervent fanbase of the series has floated an offer to Nintendo intended to build on that development. Clyde Mandelin, the professional translator who spearheaded the efforts of an unofficial fan translation of MOTHER 3, the sequel to EarthBound in Japan, is willing to turn over his manuscripts for free if it means a MOTHER 3 release on the Virtual Console outside of Japan.
Here we see Lucas, of Super Smash Bros. Brawl fame, in his natural habitat.
“This is the first time Nintendo has seriously acknowledged the series’ existence in a marked way outside of Japan in 18 years,” said Mandelin on his EarthBound blog EarthBound Central, suggesting momentum could be everything in terms of a MOTHER 3 release. “I realize that localizing a game this size can cost a lot, so if it’ll help in even the slightest, I’ll gladly offer to let Nintendo use my text translation files for any use at all, completely for free. I’ll even edit the files to fit whatever new standards are necessary...I’ll even retranslate everything from scratch if need be. Just whatever it takes to get an official release out.”
Ness is now older than the demographic he targeted at release.
The MOTHER 3 fan translation got its start after the release of the title in Japan in 2006, followed by clear indications from Nintendo that there were no plans to localize it for other markets. A team of EarthBound enthusiasts then got to work on a high-quality English translation, which was released in 2008.
Mandelin admits the offer is unlikely to yield results, “I definitely realize this is a silly-sounding offer and all, but I figure it’s better to make the offer and seem silly than possibly miss an opportunity entirely.” However, he does cite precedent for such an occurrence, “It might seem unlikely for a legitimate company to use a fan translation or work with fan translators, but it has happened before – Ys: The Oath in Felghana.”
In other EarthBound news, the Virtual Console release of the cult classic is expected to be an unchanged port, suggesting Nintendo either no longer cares about possible copyright infringements related to some samples used in the game’s music or has resolved such concerns.