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Reggie Fils-Aimé says localising Mother 3 ‘didn’t make business sense’ (VGC)

kingfey

Banned

Former Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aimé has said in a new interview that localising Mother 3 “just didn’t make business sense”.

Speaking to Bloomberg, the executive, who is currently doing a press tour to support his new book, said that when Mother 3 was released in Japan in 2006 for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo was already transitioning to the Nintendo DS, and thus it wouldn’t have made business sense to spend money on an older platform.

While it’s claimed Nintendo did attempt to bring the game to other platforms following fan demand, the game has yet to receive an official translation.

During the interview, Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier asked if the game was never brought overdue to risqué subject matter that Nintendo may have wanted to avoid.

“That is not at all the issue why Mother 3 in particular never made it to the West,” Reggie claimed. “It was all based on the business needs and the business situation at the time.”

In another recent interview, Fils-Aimé recommended players “don’t hold (their) breath” for more Earthbound games.

Mother – or Earthbound, as it’s known in the West is a series of RPGs that most western players are familiar with due to the inclusion of characters from the games in the Super Smash Bros. series.

Mother was originally released on the Famicom in 1989 and tells the story of Ninten, a 12-year-old who uses psychic powers to fight inanimate objects.

Although the game was originally Japan-only, Nintendo gave it an official English language translation in 2015 and released it on the Wii U Virtual Console under the new name Earthbound Beginnings.

Only its sequel, Earthbound, was officially released in the west around the time of its Japanese debut.

The Earthbound series developed a cult following in the west, especially after its protagonist Ness was included as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64 and all of its subsequent sequels.
 

STARSBarry

Gold Member
Neither did rereleasing Tokyo Mirage Session on the Switch, but only the heavily censored and edited Western version even for Japan. It was such a bad business decision that you had to publically apologise and bow in Japan, but still doubled down hard and went along anyway.

So why the FUCK is doing stupid business decisions that make no sense getting in the way of releasing this? You do them all the time.
 
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Heimdall_Xtreme

Jim Ryan Fanclub's #1 Member
Honestly Reggie Fils-Aimé was one of the things I hated about the Nintendo Wii era.

The man decided almost for us and many interesting games or with original proposals, never came out or monumental movements were made to locate them.

Personally, it gave me a lot of happiness when he left the position of Nintendo.
 
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ANDS

Thought gaf was racist. Now knows better, honorary gaffer 2022
Not sure why people are surprised by this decision. People may know about Ness from SMASH, but that doesn't mean that awareness will translate to people wanting to play the game that originated the character.

Why is Reggie trying to justify business decisions from a company he no longer works for years later, now?

. . .note the tense in the thread title.
 
Of course it doesn’t make business sense but sometimes you do things that basically amount to charity for fans to drive up goodwill. Nobody was asking for anything insane like giving Ito millions of dollars and having him finish Earthbound 64, they just wanted a goddamn localization and release of a game you already made in Japan.

I hate when Nintendo acts like they are days away from bankruptcy and every decision has to be taken like it will kill the company.
 

Ceadeus

Member
The game has been fan translated then sold thousands and thousands of bootleg on eBay.

Not only it shows the fans dedication but also the demand was there too.

The new NDS is not an excuse, the system had a GBA cartridge slot.

Nintendo pretty much had just released the game boy micro sent to die. So! Nintendo think it's a bad decision to pay to bring mother 3 to the west, when earthbound indeed had a big cult following. But is ok with putting big money into creating the game boy micro?!
 
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Mato

Member
I refuse to believe that. All sorts of niche anime loli crap gets localized but an Earthbound sequel doesn't cut it?
 

Scotty W

Member
This makes sense. Earthbound was a dud in the west. By not localizing Mother 3, at worst, they don’t lose any money; at best, the game gains in demand.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
This makes sense. Earthbound was a dud in the west. By not localizing Mother 3, at worst, they don’t lose any money; at best, the game gains in demand.
Earthbound came out in the US in 1995, when Donkey Kong Country was already a thing and 32-bit consoles were just around the corner. JRPGs were still pretty niche, the internet was still very raw, and the game itself was simply ugly compared to what was releasing at the time. EB could never make an impact in such a scenario.

Mother 3 on the other hand, came out when EB had developed a cult following and knowing what was going on in Japan was much easier thanks to the internet being basically everywhere. It would have made actual sense to release it officially in the west, with tempered expectations of course. It’d never be a hit, but it would have cemented the series’s reputation. But yeah, you could argue that there was little money to be made there, considering that it was already known that it‘d be the final Mother game anyway.
 

Smiggs

Member
Hard disagree. A localization wouldn’t cost much, and the benefit is a prestige title that resonates with hardcore fans. Those fans advocate for your platform throughout gaming culture. It’s short-sighted to only look at expected sales.
Also, the goodwill it would create with fans would be huge. Even if it's not a massive seller, it would create a bunch of positive word of mouth that could help sell new consoles. Never really understood their decision to not bring it to the west.
 

Northeastmonk

Gold Member
Why is Reggie trying to justify business decisions from a company he no longer works for years later, now?
He has a new book out that goes over a lot of his work at Nintendo. He was the guy the gaming community looked to as a Terminator. Before Nintendo he worked at Pepsi Co, Pizza Hut, Panda Express, and VH1. Of course that stuff is interesting to hear now. Decisions were based on how he analyzed everything.

Why not just do it now? We have Live-A—Live coming out and Front Mission. Mother 3 would a beautiful 2.5D game or just port over the original version for fans to buy at a decent price. Earthbound has a lot of fans with Smash Bros. I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand how this industry works. The stuff fans want without a huge cost involved shouldn't take decades to release.
 
Nintendo, as a company and it's decisions, seems bipolar.

They innovate and take risks, while at the same time remain conservative and risk adverse.

They made uber powerful chipsets like the ones in the N64 or GameCube, but hamper the machines with outdated or inadequate storage media.

They censor and focus on family friendly, only to eventually market Killer Instinct, Conker's Bad Fur Day and Eternal Darkness.

Their logo went from red, to blue, to red again.

Slogans like "Now You're Playing with Power!" And "Play it Loud!" Vs "Wii would like to play"and "Who are you?"

Some of their franchises are overproduced and fatigued while others are slept on or go generations without entries.

I guess it makes sense that they eventually developed a system that is both a handheld and a console.
 

marquimvfs

Member
Former Nintendo of America president*

I thing this book were made just to show up to his division consumers (that hate him, he's a moron) how cool and smart he is. Every time I see some piece of interview about his book, there's some idiotic quotes of him downplaying Nintendo and making him and his division look bigger and smarter than the parent company. Like other fellow gaffer said other day, NOA it's nothing more than a glorified localisation company, his saying may have had some impact during his days, but he's nothing that he is trying to sell with his book.
 
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S

SpongebobSquaredance

Unconfirmed Member
If anyone else wanted to know what was that risqué subject: "...like a heavy critique of capitalism and a gender-ambiguous group of characters".
I hear that all the time that it won't get translated due to risky content, but I don't buy it

critique of capitalism is also in other games. even in AAA games. also in movies and music.
all the references to drugs and sex aren't anything out of the ordinary either. the only thing I could see are the Magypsies, but honestly, if they so concerned about them, they might as well change them.
 

Bakkus

Member
For people who haven't played the game, there is a certain race of people in the game called the Magypsies. The difference in culture is very evident when it comes to them and what they do in the game. Because there are certain scenes involving them which I'm 100% sure Nintendo does not want to deal with the inevitable controversy of.
 

TVexperto

Member
ohhh soo the guy who everyone loved because he loves games and doesnt care about business actually does only care about money and business? color me surprised
 

night13x

Member
They also thought releasing Xenoblade did not make any business sense initially until the whole world came down on them. Little did they know at the time that it would become one of their biggest IP for Nintendo lol.
 

mcjmetroid

Member
Again,

It's a nice way of saying they didn't want to deal with people accusing them of being transphobic or whatever because of the content of the game and that was even back then. Imagine now!
 
S

SpongebobSquaredance

Unconfirmed Member
The difference in culture is very evident when it comes to them and what they do in the game. Because there are certain scenes involving them which I'm 100% sure Nintendo does not want to deal with the inevitable controversy of.
on the other hand they are depicted as good and caring people. they aren't made fun off. if it's really so concerning for nintendo, then they should change their design.
 

Lognor

Banned
Neither did rereleasing Tokyo Mirage Session on the Switch, but only the heavily censored and edited Western version even for Japan. It was such a bad business decision that you had to publically apologise and bow in Japan, but still doubled down hard and went along anyway.

So why the FUCK is doing stupid business decisions that make no sense getting in the way of releasing this? You do them all the time.
That was a bit of a different situation. The wii u was starved for games. Nintendo needed to get more games on the console and localizing tms was partly due to that. And it was a good game. I hate that jpop crap, but I did enjoy the game. I'm glad they localized it
 

McRazzle

Member
Former Nintendo of America president*

I thing this book were made just to show up to his division consumers (that hate him, he's a moron) how cool and smart he is. Every time I see some piece of interview about his book, there's some idiotic quotes of him downplaying Nintendo and making him and his division look bigger and smarter than the parent company. Like other fellow gaffer said other day, NOA it's nothing more than a glorified localisation company, his saying may have had some impact during his days, but he's nothing that he is trying to sell with his book.

It's funny and telling that he keeps claiming a "win" for getting Nintendo to bundle Wii Sports with the Wii. when they made him increase the price by $50.
Nintendo actually made more money that way, since retailers get a lower cut off of consoles than software.
 

STARSBarry

Gold Member
That was a bit of a different situation. The wii u was starved for games. Nintendo needed to get more games on the console and localizing tms was partly due to that. And it was a good game. I hate that jpop crap, but I did enjoy the game. I'm glad they localized it

It's not, an argument could be made that after Fire Emblem treehouses localisation where disliked by the community so they should have steered clear already.

But that's not the real issue, the issue is Nintendo after the first game bombed in the west as a niche Japanese language audio only title had chapter 3 radically changed, cutscenes censored at random and an entire DLC cut, would release it again for Switch. This time ONLY the censored western version would be released even for the Japanese they got the japanese voice actors to revoice the changed lines. Its the first time I can remember where the "improved version" rerelease of a game came with less content than the original because they once again cut out the hot springs DLC + the other changes.

It flopped hard, especially for a switch title with the much larger install base. The stupid decision wasent to release the game "localised" it was to watch the critical reaction only to release it again with the same reaction but now you had to put out a corporate public apology in Japan over how badly you fucked up, it was that hated.
 
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Lognor

Banned
It's not, an argument could be made that after Fire Emblem treehouses localisation where disliked by the community so they should have steered clear already.

But that's not the real issue, the issue is Nintendo after the first game bombed in the west as a niche Japanese language audio only title had chapter 3 radically changed, cutscenes censored at random and an entire DLC cut would release it again for Switch. This time ONLY the censored western version would be released even for the Japanese they got the japanese voice actors to revoice the changed lines. Its the first time I can remember where the "improved version" rerelease of a game came with less content than the original because they once again cut out the hot springs DLC + the other changes.

It flopped hard, especially for a switch title with the much larger install base. The stupid decision wasent to release the game "localised" it was to watch the critical reaction only to release it again with the same reaction but now you had to put out a cooperate public apology in Japan over how badly you fucked up, it was that hated.
Oh. You're talking about the Switch release. I didn't follow that since I played it on the wii u. The wii u version was probably censored outside of Japan too. Who cares?

But yeah, if a Nintendo game bombed on switch then clearly no one wanted it.
 

STARSBarry

Gold Member
Oh. You're talking about the Switch release. I didn't follow that since I played it on the wii u. The wii u version was probably censored outside of Japan too. Who cares?

But yeah, if a Nintendo game bombed on switch then clearly no one wanted it.

The Wii U version was censored outside of Japan, it was one of the lowest selling first party Wii U games in the west because this was public knowledge. When they announced the switch re-release was going to be censored like the western version even in Japan, it sent copies of the Wii-U Japanese editions to number 1 on amazon for months until they ran out of stock.

When your Wii U version of a title is out selling your switch version you know you fucked up.

If you don't care that's fine, however alot of people did that was more than apparent on the attempted re-release. It was a bad business call.
 
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Tigerlord

Member
Just because demand is there, doesn't mean the sales will be there. The reason Nintendo doesn't release sequels is because the sales weren't there.
A good example is why there have been no F-zero games recently. Did you buy the last 2 or 3 F-Zero games? No sales, no sequels.
 

STARSBarry

Gold Member
Just because demand is there, doesn't mean the sales will be there. The reason Nintendo doesn't release sequels is because the sales weren't there.
A good example is why there have been no F-zero games recently. Did you buy the last 2 or 3 F-Zero games? No sales, no sequels.



Considering I bought both Gamecube and N64 + GBA then yes....

Where's my F-Zero game Nintendo?
 
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Davey Cakes

Member
Games like Famicom Detective Club and Live A Live are viable in the west. How do they make any more business sense, especially as games with a lot of text that has to be translated?
 
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Tigerlord

Member
Games like Famicom Detective Club and Live A Live are viable in the west. How do they make any more business sense, especially as games with a lot of text that has to be translated?
As for Famicom detective club, the original was on famicom and dealt with blood and murder, which wouldn't fly in the '80s.
Live A Live wasn't released due to Square's laziness.
 

KWAB

Member
Localising Mother 3 can cost as low as 0 dollars. There's already a patch and the author said Nintendo can use it for free.
 

Quantum253

Member
But what about:

"The graveyard of any industry is filled with the headstones of companies who decided to keep doing things the same old way. Playing only on the margin, making things just a little bit better. That strategy works....for a while, but ultimately it's fatal." I guess they can't keep re-releasing the same old games over and over. Maybe you'll get another classic console with Mother 3 released (like StarFox 2) and it sells like crazy.
 

STARSBarry

Gold Member
You may have bought the games, but did 1 million+ buy the game? Even I bought the N64 & GameCube games.

F-zero X, tottaly. GX well... no... but they had a million copy seller in the N64 era, that's gotta be worth something right?

They should have made a DS title to test the waters, but after the GBA releases failed I guess they where done.
 
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Azelover

Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was. It really was.
It's funny and telling that he keeps claiming a "win" for getting Nintendo to bundle Wii Sports with the Wii. when they made him increase the price by $50.
Nintendo actually made more money that way, since retailers get a lower cut off of consoles than software.
I dunno if I believe that. George Harrison(the executive) said regarding the Revolution's price, that maybe the Gamecube was too cheap.

It was clear in his answer that he was talking about the launch price, and overall image of the product. To me that says they planned the $250 price tag as a part of their strategy, way in advance. Also, with a few more dollars in your MSRP, you have a bigger cut devoted to the marketing budget.

Of course this is all speculation though. Reggie was in the inside, so I guess we'll have to take his word for it.
 
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