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?

It is out. See here.

How far along is the translation project?

The hacking and translation have been completed.

What percentage is the project at?


What’s left to be done?


How will this translation thing work?

There is 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 uses 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 are also be extremely straightforward to use, and PC, Mac, and Linux versions will be available.

Very detailed instructions on how to use the patch are 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?

Starting soon, we’ll work with people to translate MOTHER 3 into other languages, using all our hacks and all our tools. Most of the hacks were designed openly enough that translations into other languages (mainly European languages) will be very easy to create. See here for details.

Currently, other translations planned are:

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.

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.

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

Yes, the saves will be compatible. But you’ll need to use the save file convertor we created so that the character names will display properly. See the project site’s readme here for more details.

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.

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 at the moment. Someday it may happen. Or maybe not. It wouldn’t be an easy project, that’s the only thing for certain.

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. There’s always MOTHER 1+2, too. These are all tiny little ways to actually show Nintendo your support for the series.