Earthbound fans desperate for an official Mother 3 localisation now have an answer as to why it didn’t happen in the first place.
Mother 3, the third (duh) instalment in the Mother series (called Earthbound in the west), has pretty much become a meme at this point for its lack of an official western localisation and Nintendo’s seeming lack of interest in providing one.
That it has gone unlocalised should come as no surprise. The history of western releases for the Mother series could be charitably described as messy at best. Earthbound is Mother 2 and was released in the US in 1995 (a year after its original Japanese release). The original Mother was only released in the West in 2015 when it came to the Wii U Virtual Console, renamed Earthbound Beginnings. It took 25 years after the game’s original release in Japan to see the light of day in the West, and it only happened because the fanbase went off for it.
So when it’s come to Mother 3, fans of the series have been desperate for an official localisation of the game. They’re gagging for it. They’re dying for it. Hell, even Mother 3 producer Shinichi Kameoka wants it. So where the hell is Mother 3 and why hasn’t it happened yet?
In an interview with Jason Schreier for Bloomberg, former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé was quizzed on the reason behind Mother 3‘s lack of a western localisation. While Schreier questioned if it was due to the ‘risqué topics’ in the game, which includes a ‘heavy critique of capitalism’ and ‘a gender-ambiguous group of characters’, Fils-Aimé disagreed.
“That is not at all the issue why Mother 3 in particular never made it to the West. It was all based on the business needs and the business situation at the time.”
It was further explain that as Mother 3 was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2006, Nintendo was putting more focus on the Nintendo DS. This meant that Nintendo putting the work into localising Mother 3 “just didn’t make business sense,” according to Fils-Aimé.
So what’s next? Nintendo remains in the business of re-releasing and remaking a lot of its older titles, and now looks to pad out its Nintendo Switch Online library.
In saying that, there are currently only NES, SNES and N64 libraries available on the NSO library, and Mother 3 was a Game Boy Advance release. So if it ever happens, or if that recent datamine leak pans out, they’ll either add more older consoles to the NSO library or they’ll release Mother 3 on its own. Emphasis on the ‘if’ here.