Marcus Lindblom - Writing the English Script for EarthBound Was a Giant Step
Posted by Tim Latshaw
But it was worthwhile
Writer and EarthBound designer Shigesato Itoi is a cultural icon in Japan and a name well known among longtime fanatics of the game. But the text from the English version of the game came from other, mostly unsung sources.
Marcus Lindblom, who chiefly shouldered EarthBound’s localization writing, has had a chance to shine on the media circuit with EarthBound’s release on the Wii U Virtual Console. He recently spoke with Kotaku about his experiences and what it means to him to see a new wave of attention towards the 1995 title.
Lindblom started at Nintendo as a call center representative before moving up to the position of software analyst. When he was placed on the EarthBound project, about one-tenth of the script had been completed by another writer who had picked up another game. Lindblom and a Japanese writer, Masayuki Miura, worked with roughly translated scripts on paper, Miura serving as a guide in terms of tone and context. According to Lindblom, it was a marathon of content:
It was a large amount of work in a really short amount of time. I know in the middle of it I went through a stretch of about 30 days when I didn't take a day off, and I was doing something like 14 or 15 hours a day. It was just lots of grinding-out time with the text in the game.
Even with the daunting task, Lindblom was able to add many personal touches to EarthBound’s final product. He’s the one behind naming Pokey’s mom Lardna, and the names of his wife and daughters appear as those of characters or default choices in the game.
There is plenty more in the full interview. It’s an encouraging read, knowing that someone who saw his hard work struggle in sales years ago is now able to witness a new generation enjoying it today. New technology makes it even better for Lindstrom:
Years ago, I only ever got to see what a reviewer thought of the game. Today, it’s fantastic because whether it’s Twitter, and people posting things they like about the game, or it’s TwitchTV, it’s nice to know that people laugh when I sort of hoped they would, or they smile at the stuff that I hoped would make them smile. That's what really makes this worthwhile, all these years later. Whereas 18 years ago it was kind of frustrating and disappointing.
What are your favourite quotes or text from EarthBound? Feel free to share below.