Is this an official publication?
Yes. “Shigesato Itoi Presents” is smack dab on the cover of the book, which features the official logo of the game. Copyright permissions are listed for both Shigesato Itoi/APE and Nintendo, as well. However, this doesn’t mean that everything to the story is exactly canon to the SNES game. Merchandise is so common in Japan that it’s not a big deal to have some inconsistencies between products like this. (Probably not a big deal in the mid 90′s when the gaming industry was less precise than it is today, anyway.)
Was Itoi involved in the writing?
No. Saori Kumi received plenty of materials from the production team, including copies of hand-written plot notes from Itoi and an exclusive pre-release ROM, but when it came to the novelization, they gave her free reign. This is evident in both the departures from actual events in the game and the style of the writing itself; while Itoi gave MOTHER 2 a light-hearted tone, the novel has a bit of a darker feel to it. One review even suggested that the game is more geared towards children, while the novel might appeal more to adults. While I can’t entirely agree with that generalization, I can see where they’re coming from.
Was the book published through Nintendo?
No. The book was published through Shinchosha, one of the oldest and largest publishing companies in Japan. They publish a wide variety of books in every genre.
Are video game novelizations common in Japan?
Yes. Saori Kumi herself has written several other game novelizations in addition to MOTHER 1 and 2, most notably several installments of the Dragon Quest series.
Will you publish the translation?
While both Saori Kumi and I would love to have the English translation of the MOTHER 2 novel published in America, there are so many legal issues to sort out that it’s not quite feasible at this time. In addition to permission from the author, I also need to go through Itoi, APE and the rest of the game’s production team, Nintendo, and the novel’s publishing company. So, unfortunately, there are no promises.