An interview has been translated and unearthed of a three-way discussion between Shigesato Itoi, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Satoru Iwata, concerning the cancelation of Earthbound 64 for the Nintendo 64 console. During the in-depth interview Satoru Iwata says that he was partially to blame for the game’s cancellation. There’s a lot of fascinating information contained in the interview, so I would advise you to take a read, here.
Iwata: That one was clearly my fault. A long time ago I once said, “Never say a programmer CAN’T do something.” Those words sort of take on a life of their own—dropping the word “can’t” can close the doors of possibility. Generally speaking, everything will work out eventually if you put in the effort and push onwards, but everything still operates within certain limitations. So if something is honestly impossible to do, you need to accept that. Oftentimes the case is that something is possible, but sacrifices will need to be made. Or that something is possible, but it cannot exist alongside some other thing. So that’s what I meant when I said “Don’t say you CAN’T be a programmer,” but “don’t say you CAN’T” is the only part that took off.
There was a time when the early designs for MOTHER 3 were really reckless. We were working with specifications that surpassed the system capabilities and memory capacity. We starting working on the game with the premise that we’d create something that’s never been done before.
Miyamoto: It’s really too bad, but the honest truth is that we couldn’t go on. It would have had far too much an impact on other projects like Project Dolphin. The reason we’re quitting is not because it’s not going well, or because the end’s not in sight.
It might be easier for people to accept this if Nintendo were a small company that got stuck because project money had dried up. You could try and put it optimistically by saying, “It’s out of our hands for the moment, but if we ever find ourselves able to come back to it, we will.” But it’d be irresponsible of us to say that.