What is MOTHER 3?

MOTHER 3 is the sequel to MOTHER 2 (also called EarthBound). It is a GBA RPG that was released in Japan in April 2006. Nintendo has made it clear that they do not intend to translate the game, so we, the fans, have begun our own translation.

Project / Blog / Patch FAQs

When will the translation be done?

We don’t know. But if you enter your email address below, we’ll send you an email when we’re finished!

How far along is the translation project?

There are two main sides to any ROM translation: the actual text translation, and the ROM hacking (reprogramming).

As of right now, the entire script for MOTHER 3 has been translated into English, and has gone through most of it’s revision/polishing stage. There’s just a little more left of this to do now. For what it’s worth, the script was translated by a professional translator who’s a huge EarthBound fan. Much effort will also be placed in the script-revision stage as well.

On the hacking side of things, most of the major hacking is now complete, though a few little odds and ends remain. MOTHER 3 is a particularly hard game to hack, but things are progressing at a good, steady rate, as can be seen on this site.

See the Previews page for screenshots and videos of our progress.

What percentage is the project at?

There’s no way to give a percentage when it comes to ROM translations. Solving one hacking problem might take a day, a week, or even years in some cases, and even then, hacking something to work might break a handful of other things that will then need fixing. ROM translating isn’t nearly as straightforward as fansubbing or other types of fan translations.

A VERY arbitrary percentage of the current project might be in the 90% range now.

What’s left to be done?

See the To-Do List for more details on what’s left to do.

Will you release an early patch before it’s fully done?

No. Only when the project is complete will a patch be released.

How will this translation thing work?

When completed, there will be a translation “patch” for download. When this patch is applied to a Japanese MOTHER 3 ROM, it will change all of the game’s Japanese text into English. You can then play it on the Game Boy Advance emulator of your choice.

The patch will use the new UPS format, developed by byuu. IPS patches only work on files up to 16 MB in size. The MOTHER 3 ROM is twice that size, so we’re using this new format. The patching programs will also be extremely straightforward to use, and PC, Mac, and Linux versions will be available.

Very detailed instructions on how to use the patch will be included, so if you’re not good at technical computery stuff, never fear!

I own a Japanese MOTHER 3 cartridge. Will I be able to put the final translation on it?

No, there is no way to delete or replace the data on a cartridge. If you want to play the translation on a real system, you’ll need what’s called a “flash cart” or “flash card”.

Will I be able to use my flash cart to play it on a real system?

Most likely. ROM hacking is tricky business, and sometimes hacks that work on emulators don’t work on the actual systems. But this translation will most likely work on a real system.

What about translating MOTHER 3 into other languages?

Once the English patch is out (and after we’ve had a month or more of time to rest), we’ll work with people to translate MOTHER 3 into other languages, using all our hacks and all our tools. We’ll have more details after the English patch is out. Most of the hacks are being done openly enough that translations into other languages (mainly European languages) will be very easy to create. See here.

Where can I get a MOTHER 3 ROM?

We don’t distribute the MOTHER 3 ROM, you’ll need to acquire that yourself. Search engines are useful for this sort of thing.

Ooh, ooh, can I be a beta tester?!

Usually, people who ask this actually just want to play translated games before everyone else, and also so that they can boast to their friends about it :P But anyway, all testing will be handled internally, so no, we’re not going to need beta testers.

When the patch is applied, how big will the ROM be?

The MOTHER 3 ROM is 32 megabytes. Due to hardware limitations, this is the biggest a GBA game can be. So the English version will be the same size. That’s partly why some of the hacking has been difficult.

I noticed something weird in a screenshot!

The screenshots posted on this site are development screenshots and not the final version. The point of them is to show the progress of the hacking. If you see something in a screenshot that doesn’t seem right, we’re probably already fully aware of it and don’t need to be notified about it.

What if Nintendo announces an official English release of MOTHER 3?

As we’ve mentioned throughout the history of the project, our team has agreed that this translation project will come to a full stop if/when we hear that Nintendo has chosen to pursue an official translation of the game. Our only goal is to get MOTHER 3 in the hands of the fans.

Do you make regular backups of your work?


Game-Related FAQs

How long is MOTHER 3 gameplay-wise?

Everyone plays differently, but if you rush through the game without talking to anyone or exploring or any of the stuff that makes the game fun, you’ll clock in at probably 20-30 hours. If you talk to people, explore, and all that stuff, probably 30-40 hours. Maybe more if you go for some of the rare items and other quests you can give yourself.

Are you going to call the translated version EarthBound 2 or MOTHER 3?

It hasn’t been decided yet. Most likely it’ll either stay as MOTHER 3 or get EarthBound 2 as a subtitle.

Does Super Smash Bros. Brawl really spoil stuff in this game?

Yes, but to what degree depends a lot on the person. Some people don’t want to know anything in advance, while other people don’t care at all. If you’re worried about being spoiled, check out the MOTHER 3 Menu Patch.

Will saves from the Japanese ROM work with the final English patch?

Yes, the save files will be compatible. Even save files from the menu patch version of the game will be compatible. The only issue will be that your characters’ names and other things you named won’t display correctly. We’re planning to have a small, easy-to-use program available that will let people update their characters’ names for use with the final patch.

Are you going to add any of the dummied-out enemies, music, etc.?

No, we have no plans to add any of the dummied-out enemies or bosses, and the sound player only has room for 250 songs to begin with, and even it doesn’t cover every song in the game, so putting some of the 100% unused music in there isn’t an option. Gameshark codes to access all this hidden/unused content will be provided when the patch is released, however.

Will the debug room stuff be translated too?

Yes, the debug room text is just another part of the main script. As of July though, some of the menus in the debug room are buggy. They’ll probably be fixed when we fix some other things, though.

Other FAQs

What is this “VWF” thing you keep talking about?

A VWF is a “Variable Width Font”. For an explanation, see this.

What is this “Block 0″ thing you keep talking about?

See here for a quick explanation.

Can you guys translate MOTHER 1+2 while you’re at it?! Please?!

We don’t have any plans to translate MOTHER 1+2. Harmony7 has looked at its programming and reports that hacking/re-programming stuff for it would be very difficult. If someone with his skills says hacking the game would be hard, it’s gotta be incredibly difficult. Not to mention none of us really have that kind of extra time to spare. But who knows. For now let’s just concentrate on MOTHER 3.

You guys rock. I wish I could help or donate or something!

The best way to show your support is to buy an actual copy of the Japanese game, from here or here if possible, but places have been running out of stock lately, so it might be too late now. If that’s not an option, buying the two MOTHER 3 soundtracks on iTunes or an official MOTHER 3 shirt would be another cool way to show your support.