That Mother 3 was never officially localized and released outside of Japan has been a source of sadness and frustration for EarthBound fans in the West since the game launched on the Game Boy Advance in 2006. the series, which sold poorly in the US and did not see the light of day in Europe until the release of the Wii U and the 3DS Virtual Console, was a very late entry on the GBA. However, backwards compatibility meant that Japanese gamers entering the heyday of the WiiDS didn’t have to dig out their old handheld to enjoy the final chapter in writer Shigesatao Itoi’s trilogy.
Ardent fans have been calling for Mother 3’s official western debut for over a decade and a half, but despite talk behind the scenes, there’s no sign of it yet. We got EarthBound Beginnings on the Wii U (a previously unreleased Famicom-only localization of the first game), and we recently heard from Reggie Fils-Aime that there were “serious talks” about a possible release of a portable triquel. Coincidentally, the game’s producer Shinichi Kameoka also recently suggested that translating Itoi’s unique writing style could be a stumbling block for an official western release.
However, we’re not sure we believe this – it seems much more likely that despite having a very active core of fans, Nintendo isn’t convinced the game will find a large enough audience to justify the investment in this “difficult” localization work. . In terms of Itoi’s style and inimitable charm, he was perfectly captured in the EarthBound localization, so there’s no reason to think the same thing can’t be done again.
Really the same has already was achieved in a brilliant fan translation that was updated as recently as last year. Which brings us to the question: are there real need for Nintendo to release Mother 3 now?
Don’t get us wrong, we’ll be at the front of the line to download the Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light limited edition “3arthBound” set or a surprise standalone digital release. a la EarthBound Beginnings or GBA update included in the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. We would absolutely I love to play the official Nintendo version of this brilliant ending.
However, the fact is that most of us who want to play it have already played it. Although never released in the West, Mother 3 is currently going head to head with Metroid: Zero Mission, topping our readers’ list of the best Game Boy Advance games. Both fans of the series and curious gamers have already bought the original Japanese game, downloaded the fan translation and played it. A cursory internet search reveals that various reproduction carts are very readily available, not to mention the many other ways the determined fan can find to play GBA games on original hardware – also using completely legal methods, assuming you own the original ROM in legal form.
One of the reasons we still want an official release is so that a new generation can easily access the game and discover the series, perhaps for the first time. It’s been such an impressive journey, we want the widest possible audience to be able to play on Switch. With over 100 million consoles, if even a tiny percentage take a chance on this freaky little adventure, it could quickly outsell the original EarthBound at around 658,000 global sales. We really just want to spread love, a loving Mother.
Despite being played by a relatively small number of gamers, there is so much love for the series, as you’ll see if you watch our Mother’s Day holiday video, which features testimonials from some familiar faces. We recently saw tributes in the style of the Awakening of Link remake that suggest what a remastered Mother 3 might look like. The passion for this game and series is impressive, but most pragmatic fans will not only understand from a business standpoint Nintendo’s reluctance to release an official localization, but already found a way to experience the game for yourself.
Because of what fans of Nintendo and Mother 3 are stuck between a rock and a hard place. It’s a poser!
What do you think though? Let us know in the polls below how you feel about Nintendo releasing Mother 3 in 2022 and share your thoughts in the comments.