Earthbound on the Super Nintendo was a cult classic for years after its release. An RPG set in current times was pretty much unheard of back then, so it really struck a chord with many gamers. What many people didn’t know back then was that Earthbound was actually a sequel to a Famicom (Japanese NES) game called Mother. The game was originally scheduled to be localized for the American audience, but for one reason or another it was scrapped – most likely because Nintendo was focusing on its brand new 16-bit console at the time.
Flash forward to 2006 and the series would see another entry in Japan, this time for Game Boy Advance: Mother 3. For the most part this game sat in limbo with most gamers out there clueless to its existence. Sure, there were some hardcore gamers hoping beyond hope for a localization effort, but the truth of the matter was that Earthbound had sold terribly on the Super NES, giving Nintendo very little reason to translate a new entry. But, something unexpected happened when characters from the games started appearing in the Smash Bros. series. Now there were a whole lot of gamers wanting to know more about them, and interest in the Earthbound series began to rise. In fact, over the years it was asked about quite frequently at press events and shows like E3. So much so that Nintendo made fun of the situation during the E3 2014 digital event:
It seemed as if all hope was lost, but then last year at E3 Nintendo surprised everyone by releasing Earthbound Beginnings for the Wii U Virtual Console. This was the very first game that was supposed to hit the NES so many years ago. This gave everyone hope that maybe, just maybe, Mother 3 would see a release outside of Japan as well.
It appears this might just be the year that happens. 2016 is the 10th anniversary of Mother 3’s release in Japan. Several sources close to Nintendo have suggested the game would come out this year via the Wii U Virtual Console. It all started with Emily Rogers, known for leaking tidbits of Nintendo news over the years tweeting, “Don’t be surprised if Nintendo celebrates a game’s 10th anniversary this year.” She would later close the account.
But, now Eurogamer has gone on record proudly proclaiming, “Mother 3 will finally get Western release.” They claim to have heard this from several sources and are calling it a for-sure thing.
So, while there still isn’t an official announcement from Nintendo, it sounds like fans of the series have very good reason to be hopeful. Will Nintendo decide to release it on its official anniversary of April 20? With Nintendo, you never know.