The big question is when will it get here?
I don’t know why, but I just had the urge to talk about the Earthbound series aka Mother (as it’s known in Japan). This franchise has a huge following, and I’m not sure one can call it a cult following anymore. Fans have been asking for this game for several years now, and with the Nintendo Switch being so successful it would only make sense to port it over, or even make a new game.
First there was Earthbound that debuted on the Super NES. This is an oddly written, yet lovable RPG with a turn-based battle system. I’ll be playing this game some more soon enough but from what I gather you’re this little kid that fights aliens. You also travel with some friends and a dog I think. One thing that I know for sure is that your fat friend is useless in battles.I feel like this particular series is one of those deep rabbit holes, where pretty much everything is ass-backwards.
So here’s the timeline of the series that pertains to the U.S. version. What we call Earthbound herein the U.S.(and possibly over in Europe) is really Mother 2 in Japan. Mother 1 was released in Japan back in 1989 for the NES(Nintendo Entertainment System). Just when most of us were Wii babies. Ha! Get it?? Anyway – there were quite a few issues with this sequel, so it wasn’t released until August 1994, and we didn’t get it until June 1995.
The problem with the American release is that it’s own marketing campaign backfired. Nintendo should’ve seen this coming to be completely honest since this series in particular didn’t necessarily have a huge following to begin with. According to the Earthbound Wiki, Kotaku said the game was a “dud” and that the marketing was “bizarre”, and the game had “cartoonish” graphics that didn’t suit most players.I mean let’s be serious here, what were they expecting, 4K graphics?! This is the Mother series, not some super serious RPG where those things matter.
As a result of the poor marketing, the game failed in sales. It only sold 140,000 copies which is roughly half the sales it accomplished in Japan. Earthbound was later released again on virtual console in 2013 in which fans had a much deeper appreciation for it. Fast forward to April 2003, the sequel to Earthbound, better known as Mother 3 had gotten a release date. The original plan was to release a 3D version on the N64 but due to development issues 3 years prior (Y2K) it ended up getting canned.
In 2006 it was released as a special package cartridge that included both Mother 1 & 2 and Mother 3 for the Gameboy Advance. Mother 3 ended up keeping the same plot that it was going to have on the N64. This package was never released outside of Japan. Nintendo, alongside the development team were scared it was going to be another flop in the U.S. Regardless of the amount of support it received so late in the game(no pun intended) Nintendo didn’t care too much to re-release them. It was actually released on the Wii‘s virtual console back in 2013 as part of the NES Anniversary.
Which brings us to E3 2014. Nintendo America President Reggie Fils-Aime addressed this issue, but this wasn’t the first time he’s addressed it. Back at E3 2014 he touched on this topic by making a joke out of it, in the form of a Robot Chicken episode. It was a funny joke to be honest. One that I missed since I never had a Wii-U, so watching their press conferences didn’t concern me at the time. Check it out below:
Nintendo recognizes the Mother fanbase along with the glowing reviews from major publications, and despite the ever-growing demand for those games Nintendo won’t give us the supply. What they did do, was give us Mother 2/Earthbound again on the SNES CLASSIC
The description of the book reads “Today, asking Nintendo to translate Mother 3 has become a huge running joke – it’s even been featured on national television and parodied by top Nintendo executives,” the book’s description reads. “But how did hope for a simple game translation blow up into something so big? Rumors, hype, letdowns, and lies – this is the story of the most-wanted game translation ever”. Check out the article about this here on IGN.
Now here’s some comedy for you – the title of this book is called “C’mon Nintendo, Give Us Mother 3”. That particular line has been used as a joke in the E3 2014 Nintendo Presentation above. Not too long ago, a prominent Youtuber named OJ aka Player Essence made a video with part of that joke in his video title and a lot of people misunderstood it. I almost fell for it too but I knew Mother 3 at this point in time had a snowflake’s chance in hell of being brought to the Nintendo Switch. Especially with all of the big plans Nintendo has in store for us, it just doesn’t make sense to bring this over. Like I said, at this point in time. He then had to do a live-stream on youtube to clear things up, as well as address a few other topics. I’m glad I didn’t miss that! You can check it out here.
Reggie also addressed these concerns back in 2016 during an interview with GameSpot
Oh, so earlier today I got asked about Mother 3; maybe you can ask me about Metroid. Look, again, I am proud as an executive with Nintendo to say that we look at all of the boards and all of the comments and we really have a good understanding of what our consumers want. And believe me, we take that to heart as we work to create content. So I have nothing to announce–here. But we are aware that there are some key IP that consumers just can’t wait for the next true installment in that franchise’s legacy. Suffice it to say, we’re aware of it, and talk to me in a year and let’s look back and see what’s happened.
To give you some perspective, that interview pertained to not only Mother 3, but a new Metroid for the Nintendo Switch. It’s confirmed Metroid is coming to the Switch, so maybe Mother 3 actually does stand a chance? Well, during E3 2018 Reggie Fils-Aime addressed it yet again, but this time he also addressed a few other titles that weren’t shown. In an interview with IGN he states:
When we have something to announce, we will. Fill in the blank of your favorite franchise. Our mentality will be we’ll announce information close to its launch date versus teasing people for years on end. Again, we know, I know there’s a fan base for that title. All I could say is we’re aware. It’s something that we always think about in terms of where there are opportunities to reintroduce IP to fans, to do it in a way that builds new fans, we’re certainly aware. No promises, no commitments one way or the other, but we’re aware.”
I want you to stand back and look at this in the grand scheme of things. Try to look at the bigger picture here. Can you name any other video game with a history filled with trials and tribulations? Can you name another video game that bombed on it’s initial release in America, that went from instant cult classic to the most demanded game in history? What game do you know of that’s built a massive fan-base through word-of-mouth, successful re-releases and reviews over the span of 20 years?
If you know of any contenders feel free to enlighten me in the comments below. If there are any games like this, they are definitely worth mentioning. I’d even say they’re even worth playing. Make sure you subscribe to the blog and share this with other gamers!