EarthBound wasn’t a hit when it launched on the Super Nintendo in 1995. There’s been all kinds of analysis and discussion as to why the game flopped, but it seems a mix of marketing, graphics and a general lack of interest in RPGs were all to blame. While it’s a shame the game didn’t make a splash at launch, we now know it went on to become one of the most beloved and inspiration cult classics of all-time.

While it seemed impossible at one point, Nintendo did step in to release an official translation of the original EarthBound for the Famicom title EarthBound Beginnings. The moment that release popped up, diehard fans immediately started to wonder once again if the long-lost Mother 3 could see localization as well. We still haven’t heard a peep about that, but we now know the series’ creator tried to make it happen at one point.

Thanks to the EarthBound USA documentary that just released, we now have some insight from franchise creator Shigesato Itoi that was previously unheard. In particular, Itoi mentions that he did indeed talk to Nintendo about getting Mother 3 localized, but obviously that never came to be.

“I’ve talked about it with Nintendo before. Apparently they were presented with the offer to use the (fan) translation, but they said it wasn’t quite as simple as that. I think it’d be really interesting if they took up the offer. It’d be hard to make something like, say, an automobile with fans. But doing it with software, I believe there’d be a chance to make something that would be better than what the company could have made on their own.

Usually, when I’m done with something, I’m done with it for good. You can’t give up on projects you are in the middle of, but when you put an end to something, it’s best to just leave it alone. The older you get, the more stories there are for you.”

[Shigesato Itoi]

Now we know that Nintendo turned down the chance to use the fan translation for Mother 3, which is certainly disappointing, but understandable. While this might seem like the death knell for a localized release of Mother 3, stranger things have happened. Nintendo pulls out surprises quite often, including big ones like an official release of StarFox 2. Mother 3 could certainly get a worldwide release at some point, but it’s going to take a ton of pressure from fans, along with a serious amount of luck.


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Comments (2)


7M ago

Whoa! Now that is some juicy news. I still wonder if we'll see it at some point in the future - maybe the Nintendo Switch Online service...?


7M ago

I do think using the fan translation is a bit more complicated than some think. I haven't played the fanslation so i can't speak much but isn't there some themes of the game that don't aged well? I think one of the them is how the Magypsies are portrayed as 'weird' and 'not human'. I think there's also some dark subject matters like abuse etc.

Again, I'm no expert. If it did get a release, I think maybe a disclaimer would have to be added. Not to mention the whole rigamorale with having to get the game rated by ESRB and PEGI. That said, if Nintendo did their own localisation, you can bet people would complain it wouldn't be as good as the fanslation or it deviates too much from the original source.
I think the best course is that if you want to play Mother 3, play the fanslation. it may not be the official product but it's the only option the only viable option.