Actually, it isn't that Square didn't want to release SD3 in North America. It's just that Nintendo had other plans. According to sources I've seen, the translation of SD3 was around one third complete when Nintendo of Japan, who still had the ability to crack the whip on developers like Square in the mid-1990s, decided that they didn't want to market a sequel to Secret of Mana in North America, despite the success of the predecessor, because they wanted to focus the marketing efforts instead on Super Mario RPG, which had been co-developed by Nintendo and Square.

Square, (probably grudgingly) axed the SD3 translation project. As compensation, Square of America was allowed to release an original RPG called Secret of Evermore (which contrary to common belief has nothing to do with Secret of Mana or SD3.)

So, we in North America got two sub-par RPGs, Secret of Evermore and Super Mario RPG, and Japan got Seiken Densetsu 3. Fair trade? Many, myself included, will say no. But in any event, North Americans can now play SD3 just fine using the translation patch Loopy mentioned.

On the upside, I think chances are the translation done by Lina`chan and Neil Corlett is probably better than what Square would have produced at the time anyway, so perhaps it's better that it happened as it did.

Vegan: Still, Secret of Mana was very popular in North America. Had they called it Secret of Mana 2, and they would have, I think SD3 would've sold at least reasonably well, especially given how impressive the graphics were, and the more action-oriented pace of the game that would appeal more to American gamers. And yes, they did have the power to control exactly what was released and what wasn't. The main reason they withheld SD3, as I understand it, was that they didn't want it to overshadow Super Mario RPG, which it certainly would have. You see, Nintendo got a larger cut of the profits from SMRPG than they would have from SD3. It's business, huh?