News Article

EarthBound Delay May Not Have Been Caused By Music Licensing Issues After All

Posted by Andy Green

The full soundtrack will be included

EarthBound will soon be making its way to the Wii U Virtual Console, which incidentally will be up and running next week after the upcoming system update.

It seems to have taken an absolute age for Nintendo to release a downloadable version of the game and several rumours naturally cropped up as to why it's been so delayed.

One of which is the music in the game, which was composed by Hirokazu Tanaka - better known as "Hip Tanaka" - who has created the soundtracks for classic Nintendo titles such as Metroid and Balloon Fight. He also worked on EarthBound, which featured a lot of sound samples.

Many people thought the licensing issues surrounding the game's soundtrack was causing the delay but apparently this is not the case as in an interview with Kotaku, Nintendo of America's Bill Trinen said as far as he is aware, the music within the game was never an issue.

Trinen said the original game will be available on the Wii U, meaning the soundtrack will remain unchanged.

It just seems like there's a lot of Earthbound supporters inside of Nintendo and inside of Nintendo of America and there's been a real big desire to try to bring this back for people that have been longing for it for a very long time. And so, we're just really happy that we've been able to do it.

According to Trinen, EarthBound will have its own Miiverse community as well, which he believes will be "spectacular".

We think EarthBound is pretty spectacular ourselves. Are you just as excited? Let us know by dropping a comment below.


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User Comments (92)



manic221 said:

I'll definitely give it a go never played it myself but all the buzz about the game it's definitely something i want to try... Hopefully won't take to long for the UK version to be released also.



motang said:

I hope this means down the line we will get a new HD version of Earthbound.



bahooney said:

@Deathgaze I don't know about you, but a lot of us fans of the game (especially younger fans) find it hard to purchase a SNES cart that costs upwards of $100. Nintendo has known about the passion for this game for a good while now, and it's easy to see how many people would buy the game upon it's VC release. Do they owe it to us? No. But literally everyone in the world knows that $100+ is, for many of us, a completely unjustifiable expense for a 20-year-old SNES cart.



Deathgaze said:

@bahooney Trust me, I understand completely what you're saying. I just didn't like his attitude and the others that attempt to demand things from developers and publishers.



burninmylight said:


He never said Nintendo owes it to us, he just said there was no reason to wait so long to give us what we want if there was no licensing issues. When it comes to games that could make it to the VC, I fully agree, because unless the game needs translation or code alteration, it costs Nintendo next to nothing to make someone's day, yet it just sat on this property for years and years and pretended like it didn't exist.

Only I'm wrong about that last sentence, it teased us with Earthbound in every single Smash Bros., so how were we not supposed to expect it?

In most cases, I agree that fans are insatiable and we demand way too much out of publishers, especially Nintendo. In this case, nope. This game was already translated and released in western territories before, the demand is there, and the risk/reward ratio is next to nothing.



Dpishere said:

Looks like I will have to show my appreciation by purchasing it! I would like to know however why it did take so long if the rumored music license issues were not the cause of it.



ChrisT99 said:

I've never even heard of this game before, what is it like? Is it an RPG or something similar? I know nothing about this game.



Dpullam said:

This is very interesting information. I had heard music licensing issues were the cause of this game's delayed release but it seems that perhaps this was not true. I'm really looking forward to jumping into this new series when it finally releases!



BestBuck15 said:

Don't mean to worry anyone but will it get a European release? There will be a lot of translation work to be done before a European release. I have the game and it's not bad but its not as good as the hype might suggest.



LordJumpMad said:

Earthbound is full of dark humor, and sensitive people are easily offended.
I think Nintendo didn't want a bunch people giving them hate mail on how Earthbound have so many subtle messages, and culture reference.



Captain_Toad said:

@ChrisT99 It is an RPG but it's set in the modern era. There will be modern items to use, modern (and not so modern) enemies to fight, but it's all kinds of weirdness. The Denpa Men is a good example of what to expect (but tis a small example).



Adam said:

Actually, his answer kind of sounds like he didn't understand the question. He seemed to be saying, "VC games never have music changes, so of course.". The whole "not that I am aware of" response indicates he either doesn't know or is pretending not to. The long held theory is that NOA wanted to change the music to avoid potential lawsuits, but NCL would not let. But now it is out in Japan with the OST. With the cat out of the bag, it is possible NOA just decided: well, the door to lawsuits is already open. Or: Now we know for sure they won't permit music changes. I mean, obviously if there are issues he can't say so or that could be used against them.

Just theories to waste time on until the release. It is a curiosity and nothing more. I couldn't be happier with the game having the original soundtrack (well, changing Pokey to Porky would be a good sign for Mother 3 plans...).



Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

@NintendoLife - You people would be my favorite if you found out exactly why they didn't rerelease it in the West until now. Perhaps they just didn't recognize the massive interest until Miiverse went up...



Captain_Toad said:

If it wasn't the music than it has to be the pop culture references or that other part of the game which i can't say due to risk of offfending someone.

@Adam Well, there was the Arcade version of Ninja Gaiden on the Virtual Console with a song that sounded similar to Black Sabbath. They didn't really change the music more like took it off.



sr388survivor said:

I'm pretty sure this was partially a publicity stunt to show how useful Miiverse is. Telling fans that Nintendo is listening if you post it on Miiverse. And it's a good way to do it I think.
Anyway, who cares why it took so long. It'll be here this year and that's great! This generation really needs to stop acting so entitled to everything. That's what's ruining the industry.



bluecat said:

So what was the reason for the delay then? Did they really not realize the demand for it until the Miiverse rolled out? :/



Captain_Balko said:

I've heard a lot about Earthbound from friends and obviously from Super Smash Bros., and have always wanted an opportunity to play it (I'm not ashamed to say that it remains one of the few games that I've ever tried to emulate, but I found out that there is an anti-pirating lock on the game that makes it much harder and makes the last boss have infinite health, so I stopped playing).
A virtual console release will likely raise the awareness of Earthbound (although it was already raised substantially by Smash Bros.) in the west, so it would be neat to see an all new Earthbound game with modern graphics. I'm not saying it will ever happen, just that I believe it would be more likely now that they've finally released Earthbound in the west.



BennyFresh said:

@Deathgaze even used the actual cartridge can tun you almost $200. I can see why people wanted it on the shop channel/eshop. I've only ever played it on ROM, but I've always wanted to play an actual legit version of the game.



ToxieDogg said:

@Prof_Elvin_Gadd I'd be very interested to know what the real reason was too, I think it's as you say...they just didn't realise how much Western fans wanted it until the Miiverse community went up.

It's like when Miyamoto said a while back that he couldn't understand why so many people wanted to see a new F Zero game as he didn't think the existing games could be made better or evolved in any meaningful way (although I don't understand his reasoning when Nintendo keep churning out Mario Kart sequels ad infinitum )



Tasuki said:

They were probably saving it to move systems. I know it may sound stupid but think about. A hyped up game like Earthbound that everyone wants and is hard to get is the perfect way to move systems once you offer it on the DL service. I mean the Wii didnt lack in sales but the Wii U. How many people are going to get a Wii U now or plan to.



NintyMan said:

The music must be good. The only track I'm familar with is "Pokey means Business" or the final boss music, which is seriously intense.



MetalMario said:

If it wasn't the music, it could have been things like the Dali's Clock enemy.

Whatever. I'm just glad we are getting it.



LordessMeep said:

Though I'm happy we're getting it, I still can't help but be disappointed that it took the game this long to come on VC. I'd really like to know the real reason why it was delayed, especially when there has been enough demand for the game. Regardless, will be buying to show support (and delve into it's awesomeness ).



Emaan said:

A lot of their sound samples seem to be subject to copyright, but I guess since it was released in Japan already there shouldn't be a problem carried over here. We 'll see, I suppose.



Magnet_Man018 said:

@motang I'd rather see this as an introduction to the Earthbound games to Europe and America, that means, Mother and Mother 3 also released outside of Japan. And a HD version would be sweet too!



Megumi said:

Wait a second, next week?! I think I have misread something, thought this was showing up towards the end of this year....awesome! o.o



brooks83 said:

I always said there were no licensing issues preventing this game from being re-released. Nintendo never officially made a statement about it, so I always treated it as a rumor.



Squiggle55 said:

I guess I honestly think Nintendo didn't think there was big enough demand. The higher ups probably wrote it off for the west ever since the snes failed to meet their expectations. But I still don't know why they didn't bother to put it on the Virtual Console until now, b/c they've put some pretty lame games on that service.

Hopefully the sales figures of this release blows them away and they give us more.



retro_player_22 said:

I'm happy that it finally will come but was a bit disappointed it didn't came sooner as there are similar games to this also coming as well.



Intrepid said:

@Erica_Hartmann The article is saying that the Virtual Console will be set up next week, and that Earthbound will be on it soon. I understand the confusion however, as Nintendo Life actually said something similar:

In their "Edited Highlights of this Week's Nintendo Direct", NL said that Earthbound would be available shortly. When I asked why they thought it was so soon, as Iwata had only said before the end of the year, I did not recieve a response. I can only guess they didn't want to admit that they were only assuming the date, which a journalist, regardless of their field, shouldn't do. It spreads false rumours and false expectations amongst people.



ogo79 said:

they should make it the same price as ebay, keep it real in da hood



Jukilum said:

@Intrepid Saying something will be available "shortly" isn't really assuming a date. It's a fairly relative term, and when people have already been waiting so long, sometime this year could be seen as "shortly."



Megumi said:

I just misread something, bleh...really wished they did release it next week. :c



Intrepid said:

@Jukilum If you watch the video, they say "Shortly after the spring system update", which is wrong.

To elaborate a little more, I agree that "Shortly" is a relative word for time that could be used for many situations, but as soon as it is paired with an event that has a fixed time (spring system update), it acts on and modifies that event (shortly before, shortly after, event will happen shortly, etc.). It loses its ability in independantly express a length of time.



KnightRider666 said:

@MikeDanger: I totally agree with you. There was no excuse for this.

@Deathgaze : They DID owe it to us! As I said above, there was no good reason to make all the fans wait this long for it. Not every wants to front over $100 for a SNES game when they could pay $8.00 to have it digitally. I personally picked up the cart for $125 on ebay a year ago because I couldn't wait any longer, but I'm glad everybody else won't have to pay nearly that much to play such a great game. Think before attacking somebody next time.



Ryno said:

Wow, you and Kotaku are quoting that guy? He sounded like he had no clue about the situation.



LavaTwilight said:

@DerpSandwich I don't follow your train of thought... it's Nintendo that they haven't released it? I think that's what they're doing now. Unlike other companies they listen to their fans and they go out of their way to give their customers what they want instead of telling them what they want. All companies, no matter how you dress them up, are out to make us much money as possible, and spend as little money as possible (but not to the detriment of the first). So no company are going to spend money if they think it's not going to help bring more in. Nintendo however do listen to their fans and that's why we have Nintendo Direct and why Iwata-san refers to Miiverse so often, because they listen, they let us know that, and they make it happen. So when you say "It's Nintendo", are you really saying "It's business" or are you saying something else and if so please explain.



dragon_rider said:

@Deathgaze Buying an overpriced cartridge where you have to learn how to solder a new SRAM battery in order to save and make sure that it will work? Sign me up!



ACK said:

Two things.

I personally feel Nintendo has, in the past, balked at some of the more controversial content. SPOILERS For instance, the fact the final dungeon resembles a uterus, the final boss consists of a shifting texture that appears to be unborn fetuses, and the final act is, in essence, a galactic abortion (or something similar depending on your perspective of the Japanese name, Mother.). Not the kind of questionable religious material preferred by an ultra sensitive Nintendo... SPOILERS

Anyway, I think music was also a huge concern, only now to emphasize that would be hazardous. Do you expect Nintendo to admit that they waited this long out of fears of being sued, but now they've decided to say, "f--- it, come get us Cop-pas"?

No, they'll never illuminate those issues because it would be counterproductive. The difference now is they need to throw a bone to fans and the anticipation has reached previously unforeseen levels. My response is not to look a gift horse in the mouth.



Meaty-cheeky said:

Earth Bound should be available on the Wii virtual console as well since the Wii U vc is currently bleak compared to the Wii's virtual console.

I haven't transferred my old Wii VC games to the Wii U yet since Nintendo hasn't gotten its Virtual Console straightened out yet for Wii U. I also want my VC games to be on the Wii U menu, not in the menu in Wii mode.



C7_ said:

I'd really like to know why it took so long then. It's not that they didn't know the fan's want for it until Miiverse; iirc, Reggie and others within Nintendo said they they were constantly getting Earthbound requests and hate mail, even for Mother 3. So they weren't ignorant, so it had to be legal issues.

So if there aren't any legal issues, then WHY? Did they not understand the MASSIVE fanbase the game has until every other message on Miiverse was "give us Earthbound"? Did they think that the poor initial sales (which was probably because it was so expensive) would mean that the game would not sell well even if ported through VC?

It just CAN'T be that they were ignorant until now; It's been the most wanted VC game in North America since the service launched!



timp29 said:

Maybe enough time has passed that the statute of limitation has passed for whatever potential law suit could apply.

Nintendo's lawyers picked the date.



Tertis said:

Remember guys, they aren't supposed to be kind gods that send down games on your own personal whim. They're still a business, and they need to make smart decisions. This'll sell systems for a system that needs units sold.



DerpSandwich said:

@LavaTwilight Sorry about the very long reply. I just love talking Nintendo, so I jumped at the opportunity! Haha.

Nintendo is doing better at listening to the fans as of late, but they've got a long history of not doing things that the fans are screaming for. I love Nintendo, but they can be very stubborn and have always made a lot of decisions that were baffling.

A whole generation of gamers were playing games online, and despite its enormous popularity and the begging of the fans, Nintendo spent the whole time largely ignoring online play.

Fans begged Nintendo for Smash Bros. DLC, which would have no doubt made enormous stacks of cash, and they declined the opportunity. They could have made three extra characters and three extra stages and sold it for ten bucks and everyone would have bought it.

Fire Emblem was enormously popular in Japan, but it took them three more generations before bringing it over here.

They won't bring GBA games to the VC on the 3DS despite the fact that a lot of the games are already coded for it because of the Ambassadors program. When word of GBA on the VC finally came was for the Wii U. They won't give the 3DS SNES games either, because for some reason they are set on only giving it old Gameboy games and a few NES games we've already played a million times.

When the PS3 came around Sony wasted no time dumping tons of classic PS1 and even PS2 games onto PSN, and releasing HD collections of our favorite games from the last generation. Nintendo slowly built a library on the Wii of games that were strictly two generations old and older, but when the Wii U came around you couldn't even access the old library except from the Wii menu (which is no fun). And they're finally rolling the service out again...starting all the way back with a sparse selection of NES and SNES games. And the absence of Gamecube games, despite it officially being two generations old? Well, it's baffling.

When the Gamecube was coming around the fans screamed for an awesome, realistic Zelda. We got Wind Waker. (Great game, but that's not the point.) Then they finally gave us another realistic one, but by the time it came out it was relatively unimpressive on the new hardware. Then they built one from the ground-up to take advantage of the hardware's advanced capabilities...and they gave us another colorful non-realistic one. Then we saw that awesome demo of Zelda when the Wii U was unveiled, and the fans SCREAMED for the next Zelda to look exactly like that...and then they tell us in a Nintendo Direct that they've come up with something completely different.

Then you've got Earthbound. Fans have been begging and pleading for it for years and years. And this isn't one of those things where translating it would be too hard because they'd have to hire all new voice actors. No, in fact, people have translated the game and shared it FOR FUN. But despite the VC service on the Wii they still waited YEARS to bring it to us. For what reason? What reason could they possibly have to just not replace some dang text files and give us the game we want? The same reason they wouldn't give us Smash Bros. DLC or GBA games on the 3DS or a Zelda that actually blows us away with its awesome, realistic graphics. It's Nintendo.

I could go on and on. And on. But we would be here all night. No one knows why Nintendo does what Nintendo does. No one knows what's going on in their brains when they release two consoles in a row with practically no games and scratch their heads when they don't sell. I love 'em, but they've got some weird logic.

And that's what I meant. It's just Nintendo.




@DerpSandwich I completely agree, I f´cking love nintendo but they just don't listen sometimes. Example: If they released fire emblem 6 fuuin no tsurugi and mother 3 for the 3ds eshop, they would be the biggest hits of the eshop because those games in particular are masterpieces that deserve to be revisited since we americans only got them via emulators. Nintendo will always be the love of my life, but sometimes they ignore fans and do whatever they want.



allav866 said:

I'm not sure why Nintendo of America took so long to bring Earthbound to the Virtual Console, and frankly I could care less. It may have taken a while, but Nintendo listened to the Mother fans. Now we need to bug them for Mother 3.



TimoteiWest said:

Just read elsewhere about some crazy guy offering his translation of Mother 3 to Nintendo, absolutely free. It probably won't happen unless they get someone to read that entire document and then translate it a few more times for Europe.

Us and our stupid languages... Anyway, I've already played it once before, er somehow, and can't recommend the game enough. I will definitely be getting it the day of release and making my other half play through it while I mess around a Mr Saturn plush.




Gameday said:

Man this is what we've been waiting for just put it out already its TIME.



ps2fan said:

I actually have the original SNES cartridge of this game as well as the full trilogy in Japanese for the Gameboy Advance. If this were to come out on the WII VC I would buy it in a heartbeat to show my support. However I will not buy a WII U solely for this game. Lack of games and the VC history of the WII has left me very doubtful if the WII U is worth buying.



ToxorAxiom said:

Here's hoping that impressive sales of the VC release will prompt Itoi and Nintendo to do a Mother Trilogy for the 3DS. Maybe even wax up the fan service and include a big strategy guide/art book combo, soundtrack CD, special packaging, an official translation of Mother 1+3, etc. (I'll be honest, that's the biggest reason I keep holding back from selling my 3DS.) Like I said, hoping! =)



Deathgaze said:

@dragon_rider It's not overpriced if that's what the community is willing to pay. And why the hell would you touch the SRAM? You need to replace the battery that powers it. And you don't need to solder it, just tape one in. I bought it for $350, and do not regret it.



Deathgaze said:

@KnightRider666 Yes there was good reasoning, marketting. They are a business and they release things when it suits their pockets best. They do NOT owe you anything apart from what they promise. Saying they owe you something makes you sound like a child.



Starwolf_UK said:

If there was no hold up due to content of the game I wonder if it was actually Itoi that was the hold up and in a Sonic CD US soundtrack (for the recent port) kind of way of "we need this persons permission but we've not bothered talking to them".

A similar thing may have plagued Illusion of Gaia (the internal SNES emulator in early SNES VC games had a list of games, later games added an asterisk to the game, most other games that got those were never seen on VC, it was mainly stuff like Picross NP 1-9) as that title had it scenario written by an external individual who may still hold rights over it.



KnightRider666 said:

@Deathgaze: Marketing??? I think it's pretty sad that Nintendo has to use a SNES game as a crutch to help sell a failing console. Dude, get a life. Telling everybody that Nintendo doesn't owe us anything makes you sound like a brown nose. Wow, you're proud you paid $350AUD? Do you want a medal or a cookie? You're the one everyone's attacking now, how does it feel? Maybe you're the one who needs to rethink your end of the argument here!



Deathgaze said:

@KnightRider666 "Get a life" when I have some 34 year old man from the other side of the world having a go at me, hah. I don't care who I may offend or agitate, sir. I come here to express my opinion. You may take it or leave it. It won't be changing any time soon.



TreesenHauser said:

I have the original cartridge, and I've been playing it again like crazy. Even though I already own it I'll still be re-purchasing the game, mainly because I'd love to see the other games in the Mother series eventually get official releases here.



KnightRider666 said:

@Deathgaze: You're a moron. You think you're special because you blew a wad of money on a stupid cartridge. Then you're going to sit there and hate on anybody else who doesn't want to do the same, and doesn't feel they should have had to wait so long to be given the opportunity to download the game at a fraction of the cost. Deathgaze, do everybody else on here a favor. Go stare in a mirror so the rest of us never have to read anymore of your stupid comments on here again, I'm done talking to you.



MeloMan said:

Whoa, easy fellas, let's keep the gloves on
I'm just glad it finally coming. While I can't say I'm chomping at the bit to play it again, it will at least be great for all of those that have wondered about the game and never had a go at it. I'm mostly happy because this give a glimmer of hope to Mother 3 (Earthbound 2) finally coming stateside. THAT'S what I'M waiting for.



Deathgaze said:

@KnightRider666 I'm a moron? I have the money to "waste" on the cartridge, manual, box, scratch and sniff cards and a acrylic case to protect it. I have a job and the finances to fund my hobby. I'm happy with my purchase and do not regret it the slightest. Have you ever thought that gaming is my biggest passion. That I love the 16 bit era (as I grew up in it) and JRPGs? Probably not. Don't think just because it will be a waste of your money that it's a waste of mine.

And no, I didn't make my initial comment because he didn't buy the cartridge such as myself and many others. I replied to him because he came off harshly and basically said that Nintendo owes it to him. He only deserves it if he is willing to pay for whatever it's going for. I don't decide the market value for collectables, but I choose to accept it and don't whine like a little school girl because it costs too much for me. Get a job and learn to spend money wisely and you won't need to act like a poor fool on the internet.



KnightRider666 said:

@Deathgaze: Excuse me? For your information I have a job, and gaming is my biggest passion as well. This whole thing between us is stupid. Let's just agree to disagree and be done with it. I have better things to do with my time.



ACK said:

@Deathgaze: Just out of curiosity... Any chance you outbid someone for the rights to that sublime collector's item?



Henmii said:

"It just seems like there's a lot of Earthbound supporters inside of Nintendo"

Nope! Otherwise it wouldn't have taken this long!!

No, we have to thank the fans!! If they hadn't asked for it on miiverse, it wouldn't have happened!!



BennyFresh said:

@Deathgaze Ok? That's cool that you did? Are you saying that everyone should just accept that they have to pay hundreds of dollars for one game and not bother asking for it in a form that's affordable?
What if they released the next Zelda game but it cost $300? Of course some people would still buy it, but that doesn't suddenly make it invalid for people to want it for less.



FonistofCruxis said:

@Deathgaze He didn't come off as childish. You are the only one who has been acting unreasonable here. @MikeDanger's comment was reasonable as I highly doubt that Nintendo didn't realise the demand that there was for this game before all the Miiverse posts and there is a chance they had a good reason. Maybe NoA were worried about licensing issues but after seeing that there were no problems with the Japanese Wii U VC release, they thought it would be okay to release it in the west. But if they didn't have a valid reason to make us wait so long. I

t's incredibly stupid and pretentious and to say that people don't deserve a rare game that could be released for a much cheaper price on a download service if they're not willing to pay hundreds of dollars/pounds for it. A lot of people wouldn't be willing to spend anywhere near that much for a game even if gaming is their biggest passion . I certainly wouldn't but if you are then good for you, doesn't mean you need to attack people with your idiotic comments.



MikeDanger said:

Hey, guys im just as hyped as anyone for this game to be on the VC, we just waited way too long for it.

Im one of those guys that played it on emulator cause I don't have $80+ to give away just because is a rare game.

But now i'll be able to play it legaly for a reasonable price. Cheers guys.



MikeDanger said:

Hey, guys im just as hyped as anyone for this game to be on the VC, we just waited way too long for it.

Im one of those guys that played it on emulator cause I don't have $80+ to give away just because is a rare game.

But now i'll be able to play it legaly for a reasonable price. Cheers guys.



KnightRider666 said:

@MikeDanger: As you shouldn't have to, and anybody else for that matter. I doubt I will be getting a Wii-U anytime soon, but if it was released on the Wii, I'd grab it for sure.

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