Nintendo fans have clamored for a Mother 3 western release for a while. Out of the three Mother games, Earthbound, known as Mother 2 in Japan, was the only one released in the west for quite some time. The game did not sell well, initially. However, it eventually became a cult classic, and many fans wanted the other two games released worldwide. Furthermore, Ness and Lucas, Earthbound and Mother 3’s respective protagonists, each appeared in multiple Smash Bros games. This increased the Mother/Earthbound series’ popularity and lead to more pleas for its localization.
For many years, it seemed like Nintendo didn’t notice these pleas. As a result, fans created translations of Mother 1 and 3 and released them to the public online. These gave those outside of Japan a chance to enjoy the rest of the series. This still remains a viable way to play Mother 3, and is the only way a non-Japanese speaking person could. However, it lacks both the accessibility and luster of an official release, which would allow more people to play the game.
A New Hope
After what seemed like eons of waiting, Nintendo gave fans a glimpse of hope at E3 2014. During part of Nintendo’s animated presentation, a character representing the fanbase said, “Come on Reggie! Give us Mother 3!” Reggie replied “How ‘bout this instead”, and followed by shooting the fan with a fire flower.
The company did not mention Mother/Earthbound for the rest of e3, but the easter egg was enough to spark hope anew among the fanbase.
It was a whole year before Nintendo spoke the Mother name again, during the revamped Nintendo World Championships 2015 preshow. After a brief demonstration of Yoshi’s Woolly World, creator of the Mother franchise Shigesato Itoi walked on screen. He announced that Mother 1, the 1989 NES game, would release worldwide on that day with the name Earthbound Beginnings.
Fans met the reveal with outstanding praise and appreciation, and those outside of Japan were very excited to get their hands on another game in the franchise.
After such a great announcement, it seemed like it became not a matter of if, but when Nintendo would release Mother 3 worldwide. But once again, a long time passed with no word on the matter. The company translated and planned to release Mother 1/Earthbound Beginnings worldwide way back in 1989, but scrapped the idea at the last minute.
Since they already translated versions of the game, it wasn’t too difficult for Nintendo to go back and release Mother 1 worldwide. However, Nintendo would have to go back and translate the script for Mother 3, which would require a lot of work. Theoretically, they could also make a deal to use the already existing fan translation, but that doesn’t seem like something Nintendo would do.
Many rumors sprung up in the next year or so, but they didn’t amount to anything. The biggest were that Nintendo would announce a Mother 3 worldwide release on one of two different occasions. The first was when Nintendo announced a Direct for March 3rd, 2016. March 3rd. M3. Mother 3. Fans were convinced. Unfortunately, the Direct passed without any mention of Mother or Earthbound.
Next, the big rumor was that a Mother 3 announcement would come on April 20, 2016, marking ten years since its original release. Unfortunately, the rumors once again amounted to nothing, as the day went by with complete silence from Nintendo. In addition, sources including Emily Rogers and Tom Phillips said that the game would release that year. It’s important to note that since then, they both correctly predicted large amounts of info regarding the Nintendo Switch. This was back when people referred to it as the NX.
New Console, New Mother Localization
Flash forward to just a few weeks ago, over a year and a half after Earthbound Beginnings’ worldwide release. The big Nintendo Switch event was coming, and with it came many rumors foretelling the announcement of Mother 3 at the event. Laura Kate Dale of Let’s Play Video Games — another insider who routinely predicted large amounts of Switch info — said that Nintendo would announce the game at the event with a Q2 release.
The rumor spread like wildfire, and given the events of the past few years, it seemed everything pointed towards Mother 3. After all, Nintendo had hinted at the game over two and a half years before and released Earthbound Beginnings just a year after that. Of course it made sense for Nintendo to save Mother 3 for their next console, and with all of the rumors from many different sources, what could go wrong? It seemed certain — The Nintendo Switch event would finally bring a Mother 3 announcement.
Alas, the event and the treehouse livestream that followed came and went with no mention of Mother 3.
Reggie Strikes Back
But then, just a few days ago, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime shed some light on the issue when asked a question by Gamespot. Before they could even finish, he said, “Oh, so earlier today I got asked about Mother 3; maybe you can ask me about Metroid.”
He went on to say, “Look, again, I am proud as an executive with Nintendo to say that we look at all of the boards and all of the comments and we really have a good understanding of what our consumers want. And believe me, we take that to heart as we work to create content.
“So I have nothing to announce–here. But we are aware that there are some key IP that consumers just can’t wait for the next true installment in that franchise’s legacy. Suffice it to say, we’re aware of it, and talk to me in a year and let’s look back and see what’s happened.”
A very coy thing of Reggie to say, no doubt, and also, the most intriguing piece of the Mother 3 puzzle in quite some time. After directly referencing both Mother 3 and Metroid, he acknowledged that fans beg for a number of IPs, and essentially said, wait and see what happens in the next year. Given the context of the quote, it seems likely that Reggie was talking about both Mother 3 and Metroid, perhaps in addition to other franchises such as the next entry in the dormant F-Zero series.
Mother 3, Mother 3, Mother 3…
Given the present information, we can only speculate about Mother 3’s future. While Dale’s predictions have been somewhat on and off more recently, it’s important to remember how good her track record has been throughout the past year. Even though the Switch Presentation came and went with no mention of the long-awaited game, the fact that Dale — as well as Rogers and Phillips — heard rumblings concerning Mother 3 suggest that something is happening. Their convincing track records can’t be ignored.
Finally, Reggie’s recent words regarding the subject are the tipping point. Directly referencing Mother 3 and Metroid, he said that we should wait a year and see what happens. This in addition to the many other events and rumors of the past few years can’t just be a string of coincidences. It’s incredibly likely that we will see a worldwide Mother 3 release sometime within the next year, with the majority of evidence pointing to sometime in the few months following the Switch’s release.
One last thing: Nintendo is releasing the Switch on March 3rd, 2017.
MOTHER 3 CONFIRMED