Nintendo Is Bringing Mother 3 To Switch Online, But Only In Japan

Nintendo Is Bringing Mother 3 To Switch Online, But Only In Japan

Nintendo Directs are often different across different regions. The order of games presented may be a bit rearranged, or there may even be wholly different titles announced in one region than another. Today’s Partner Showcase may have featured the single biggest such discrepancy of all time. Why? Because we did it, y’all: Mother 3 is finally coming to Switch Online…exclusively in Japan.

At the end of Nintendo’s Partner Showcase in Japan, it was announced that Mother 3, the 2006 conclusion to the series that began with Mother and continued with the legendary SNES role-playing game Earthbound, would be coming to Switch Online in Japan later this year. By comparison, the North American broadcast announced that an assortment of games developed by Rare for the NES, SNES, and N64 would be coming to the NA version of Switch Online today.

And hey, that’s great, but it’s no Mother 3 announcement. Mother 3, an elusive RPG for the Game Boy Advance that has regrettably never been officially released outside of Japan, is sort of the butt of a long-running joke. Nintendo of America’s former president, Reggie Fils-Aime, was asked countless times over the span of his long career about eventually localizing and bringing over Mother 3. In lieu of an official translation, fans have released their own localization, which has become a popular way for people outside of Japan to experience the game for themselves. Still, fans have always held out hope that Nintendo might make the game easily available to them at some point, especially as the Earthbound series has transcended its once-niche community to achieve cult classic status.

We’ve been in this situation before, which is what makes the current scenario such a comical reprise. The only other time Nintendo has rereleased Mother 3 was when it was ported to the Wii U’s Virtual Console in 2016. Just like this Switch release, it was exclusive to Japan. I’m beginning to fear alongside the rest of you all that this game might never officially make it out of there.

There have been stirrings in recent years that’ve kind of pointed to Nintendo’s acknowledgement of the fan fervor surrounding Mother 3. In 2022, for example, Mother and Mother 2 (released in North America under the names Earthbound Beginnings and Earthbound, respectively) were released for Switch Online, and with their release came a resurgence of hope that Nintendo might do the thing people have been shouting at the company to do for nearly two decades and counting. Unbelievably, it hasn’t, instead opting to do the funniest thing possible.

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