The Talisman
Image: Stephen King/Peter Straub

Few living authors have had as big an impact as Stephen King on storytelling. His work is constantly being mined for adaptations and as a source of inspiration for creative talents scattered across a wide range of different mediums.

As a result, it's not exactly surprising to hear his work has also influenced veteran game developers as well.

In a recent interview with the Japanese book site @d_davinci (as spotted by the fansite Mother Forever), legendary Mother writer Shigesato Itoi claimed that while working on that game's story Stephen King and Peter Straub's 1984 fantasy novel 'The Talisman' was a big influence on its development. For instance, he claimed that the tragic character Wolf in the novel inspired the bird-like Flying Men that the protagonist Ninten is able to recruit until they are knocked unconscious. With these characters, Itoi wanted to create an emotional companion that can depart during the course of the story, similar to Wolf.

Interestingly, this isn't the first time Itoi has talked about The Talisman in relation to Mother. In a 1989 interview, which took place months before the first game's release (translated here), he also acknowledged the similarities to King and Straub's book, particularly the likeness between the inhabitants of Mother's doppelganger world Magicant and Stephen King's Twinners.

However, he seemed to indicate in this interview that he read the novel after he finished making it and that it was then a conscious decision to lean into this connection.

Itoi said at the time:

"I was a little worried at how many similarities there ended up being between the two, that people would think I just copied Talisman. But even if the two share similar ideas, I still want to cherish all the things I came up with all on my own, so I left it as is. In a way, there are some parts I utilized even better. Even with a tear-jerking character like Wolfman, I made it in a game, so I’m not even working with literary ability here. But I’m using tactics with an outcome that will surprise people, so it’s interesting to compare both of them side-by-side. I’d like to explain it flat out, but half of it is spoilers so I can’t tell you. (laughs)"

This is a link that has sort of eluded us over the years and makes us want to dive back into both to see what we can uncover. Did you know about this? And have you read the book? Let us know in the comments!