The other big finished project is Mother 3, the sequel to the cult classic Super Nintendo RPG that Westerners know as Earthbound. I played it in Japanese with the aid of a (pretty shitty) dialogue translation after play-asia had a sale on the game near the beginning of the year, and I was blown away. It's easily one of the best games I've ever played.
esteemed copywriter and essayist Shigesato Itoi behind it. He's not just a semi-famous name added for the sake of grafting meaningless clout onto the game. He's actually responsible for writing all of the game's dialogue. And conceiving the story and characters. Since Japanese RPGs are typically focused on story, characters and dialogue frequently written by computer science majors, Itoi's influence is immediately obvious. His games are warm, charming. They're humanistic.
In Earthbound, a common status ailment was homesickness. As a young boy thrust into a terrifying adventure, it's to be expected. The cure for homesickness? Visiting home, or calling your mother on the phone. That kind of charming thoughtfulness is Itoi personified. Frankly, though, after playing Mother 3, I think Itoi is probably just a genius. We need more people like him working on video games.
Something else worth mentioning: Mother 3 has the most amazing soundtrack I've ever heard in a video game. It was composed entirely by Shogo Sakai, who you may know as the composer of Super Smash Bros. Melee. It is 250-something tracks long. There are something like 50-60 battle themes (which fits in nicely with the game's wonderfully transparent rhythm-focused battles). All of those tracks are astonishingly good. In fact, let's go ahead and make this claim: Mother 3 has the best video games soundtrack ever. I am writing this mostly because I genuinely feel this way, and mostly because I want you to go and check this game out, even if you had no prior interest. Yes.
Here's the English-language trailer. Go play this game. There are detailed how-tos on the official web site.