Reggie says 'don't hold your breath' for Mother 3 or more Earthbound, reveals a 'serious conversation' he had with Iwata on localization
Not the news Earthbound fans want to hear
While there were plenty of memes involving Reggie Fils-Aimé, one that became a mainstay for fans and press members alike involved asking Reggie about Mother 3. Fans constantly hit up the big guy on the topic, asking about/pleading for Mother 3’s localization. Now thanks to Reggie’s book release, we get more insight than ever into the topic.
The bonus audio content for Reggie’s ‘Disrupting the Game’ book release directly addresses the Mother 3 situation. You can see Reggie’s comment below.
“The initial decision not to launch the game had happened before I joined the company, but certainly afterwards I had many conversations with Mr. Iwata about this game, about the fan passion, and certainly the perspective was the first game on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System had not sold all that well. Certainly as I’ve gone back to look at it, the marketing wasn’t great. I think it was marketed some bizarre way like ‘this game stinks’ or something like that. It really was not the best marketing activity behind the launch of a new game. Because it hadn’t sold well, because yes there’s a lot of time and financial investment in localizing this type of content, it just really wasn’t a priority. And then when it’s at the point where we’re putting all of our effort on Nintendo DS and games like Metroid Prime Hunters and Mario Kart for DS and Pokemon for DS, it really just was not a strong business priority. But boy, the game journalists had to ask me every single time.”
That’s not to say the localization didn’t come close to happening. In fact, Reggie says that during the 3DS/Wii U era, there was some serious discussion about making it happen.
“There was a serious conversation during the Nintendo 3DS days, and as we launched the Wii U, that we should look at making the game available digitally through our digital storefront, because at that point the production and distribution costs are the minimus. We had already had conversations about having a group of games that were not localized, that it was the pure Japanese game made available. And we did that for a number of titles. They did okay. Mr. Iwata and I had that conversation about Mother 3.
Reggie shared even more insight into the Mother 3/Earthbound situation in an interview with Kinda Funny Games, although what he had to say here was a bit more bleak. When asked about the possibilities of a localization, or perhaps a new entry, here’s what Reggie had to say.
Don’t hold your breath. Again, I’m not there [anymore], I don’t know what’s going on.
While [former Nintendo CEO] Mr Iwata was alive, he really understood the passion that fans had for the Mother series. And you need to remember that it was under his watch that Earthbound Beginnings was first brought on to the Virtual Console platform.
And so, the company knows that there’s a lot of passion for that franchise, but thinking about how to make it current, thinking about how to make it bigger than just the, you know, let me call it the relatively small group of fans that desperately want to see Mother 3 or something next in the Earthbound series.
That’s what the company I’m sure has been thinking about and they just haven’t figured out yet the solution to that, or at least they haven’t been prepared to talk about it.
Sadly, that’s all the insight Reggie can offer, as there was no further movement on Mother 3 during his tenure with Nintendo. It’s somewhat encouraging to know that a release outside of Japan was at least considered at one point, but disappointing that it wouldn’t have even included localized text. Hearing that, it’s a pretty tough to imagine a path forward for a localized version of the game.
Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the timed release of Fire Emblem that was localized recently for the anniversary event, is them testing out something similar to what they want to do with Earthbound 3 and making it feel "bigger"
I'm a little surprised that it's NEVER moved into any stage of localization. In the Wii U era, there were MANY rumors that it was coming out *soon* - I thought they would have at least started it for those rumors to have been true. Ofc, Pikmin 4 was supposed to have been "finished" for Wii U at some point, too...
I think releasing the game as is, in Japanese only, would've been disastrous. But it sounds so Nintendo.
Like that one game recently, they could make a translation but make it paid dlc to get it. 😅