Following the surprise announcement of the original MOTHER’s Virtual Console debut as EarthBound Beginnings before last week’s E3, many gaming news outlets have been taking the opportunity to question Nintendo of America’s president and chief operating officer, Reggie Fils-Aimé about the EarthBound/MOTHER series. While the typical “nothing to announce” answer abounds in these question & answer sessions, it’s interesting to hear that the series is still a topic that Reggie Fils-Aimé is addressing. Now that a previously unreleased EarthBound game is available to a new audience, there’s a spark igniting among EarthBound fans that there is still hope for MOTHER 3 making it out of Japan.
In a video interview with Gamespot, Reggie talks about the release of EarthBound Beginnings and the EarthBound series. On the future of EarthBound in America, Reggie has this to say.
GameSpot: Is there any hint that you guys are still thinking about EarthBound as a series?
Fils-Aime: Look, we know the love that our fans have for that franchise and that series. And we thought that making the announcement and making it immediately available through the eShop was a great way to service that fan love. In terms of where we go from here, again, I’ve got nothing to announce. But, you know, the little skit we did at last year’s digital event where I’m constantly being asked about MOTHER 3, it happens. Right? It happens. So we know the love is there and we’ll see what happens.
Talking with Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, Reggie talks more about the recently-released EarthBound Beginnings, and if MOTHER 3 is still on the table.
Totilo: “I don’t want to ever bring this topic up with you, but you keep giving me reasons to. You just put out a Mother game [on Virtual Console].”
Fils-Aime: “Mother 1, yes. Earthbound Beginnings!”
Totilo: “Yes, so how am I not supposed to ask you about ….”
Fils-Aime: “My laser eyes will blow you away. [Note from Stephen: He’s referencing a joke about responding to Mother 3 questions from last year’s Nintendo E3 video.] Look, again, I think this is an example that demonstrates we’re constantly listening. We’re hearing what the fans say. And we thought it was great to bring back the very first Mother, Earthbound Beginnings here in the market. It’s been out for sale and doing quite well in the eShop. Again, we’ll never say never, but there’s nothing to announce right now.”
Totilo: “Of course not. But Earthbound, when that came out about a year ago [Note from Stephen: whoops, make that two years ago!] on Virtual Console, did you guys have an expectation about how that would do? Did that exceed expectations and perhaps influence the decision to release this one?”
Fils-Aime: “The Mother/Earthbound series is quite niche. And so for us it’s constantly thinking about the investment and then return for a game like that. There is quite a bit of localization to be done and we just need to make sure that volumetrically there’s enough volume to offset that investment.”
Totilo: “Is it safe to assume that you guys are pretty happy with how Earthbound was received last year and that helped motivate and get Mother 1 out?”
Fils-Aime: “That’s exactly right. “
Reggie says that Nintendo is listening to its fans, and it sounds like hordes of fans buying the SNES classic on Nintendo’s Wii U eShop helped bring EarthBound Beginnings to the west! It’s not too surprising, considering EarthBound is one of the highest ranked games on the Wii U’s sales charts. Even EarthBound Beginnings is soaring to the top on the recent best sellers list, across all regions. MOTHER 3 might still have a chance.
Nintendo might not pull the trigger on a project that would surely require an intensive localization, as MOTHER 3 is packed with a unique narrative written with nuances that require special care to properly convey in another language. Just ask Tomato, who spent more than a year making the MOTHER 3 fan translation along with a team of dedicated fans. Being well aware of the cost of localizing such a game, Tomato’s offer of giving Nintendo of America his fan translation to use free of charge still stands.
One thing is clear: We want MOTHER 3! Let the recent release of EarthBound Beginnings give you hope that a western release for MOTHER 3 is still possible. Right now the best thing you can do is show Nintendo of America (& Europe!) that you’re interested in the EarthBound/MOTHER series by purchasing EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings in the Wii U eShop if the option is available to you. Share your love for these games through Miiverse. Keep a positive attitude. Who knows what the future has in store!