Back in 2008 a group of dedicated fans released an English translation patch to Mother 3, the highly acclaimed successor to Earthbound. Using the patch required first finding a ROM of the Japanese game, which is something of a legal grey area. But fans - and curious onlookers - would much prefer to play Mother 3 as it was intended - on a console, purchased from an official source.
To that end, one of the fans behind the Mother 3 localisation patch, Clyde Mandelin, has offered to translate the MIA cult-classic for Nintendo at no cost. Mandelin isn't just any hopeful fan, though, but rather a professional translator in his own right. He has a pretty extensive freelance career localising several animes such as Lupin the Third and Dragon Ball Z, as well as games like One Piece: Unlimited Adventure and Kingdom Hearts 2.
"I realise that localising 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," wrote Mandelin on the Mother 3 Fan Translation site. "I'll even edit the files to fit whatever new standards are necessary (content, formatting, memory size, etc.), completely for free. I'll even retranslate everything from scratch if need be. Just whatever it takes to get an official release out."
Mandelin noted that while a legitimate company using a fan translation may sound unlikely, it's not unheard of and he cited Ys: The Oath in Felghana as a recent example of this being done. He explained that this practice is "more common among visual novel games at the moment, but I believe this sort of thing will only become more and more common over time. Only when the works in question are up to a certain standard of quality, of course."
"I definitely realise 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," he added. "In the end, if localising Mother 3 should ever come up in a Nintendo business meeting or whatever and someone brings up budget concerns or it costing too much, my hope is that someone will at least mention this offer too, even if it isn't accepted."
For more information on Mother 3, our Simon Parkin reviewed the game ala fan translation. "Mother 3's birth might have been protracted and wholly unorthodox it was well worth the pain and sacrifice," he wrote in his Eurogamer review.
Nintendo just recently announced the Virtual Console release of Earthbound. Could Mother 3 follow?