That Mother 3 never got officially localised and released outside Japan has been a source of sadness and frustration for EarthBound fans in the West since the game launched on Game Boy Advance back in 2006. The sequel to cult classic EarthBound — the SNES entry in the Mother series which sold poorly in the US and didn't see the light of day in Europe until a Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console release — was a very late arrival on GBA. However, backwards compatibility meant that Japanese players entering the WiiDS heydays didn't have to dig out their old handheld to enjoy the final chapter of writer Shigesato Itoi's trilogy.
Fervent fans have been calling for Mother 3's official Western debut for over a decade and a half now, yet despite conversation behind the scenes, there's no sign of it yet. We got EarthBound Beginnings on Wii U (the previously unreleased localisation of the Famicom-only first entry) and we've recently heard from Reggie Fils-Aimé that 'serious conversations' were had about a potential release for the handheld threequel. Coincidentally, the game's producer Shinichi Kameoka has also recently speculated that translating Itoi's unique writing style might be a sticking point for an official Western release.
We're not sure we buy that, though — it seems far more likely that, despite a very vocal core fan base, Nintendo aren't convinced the game would find an audience large enough to warrant investing in that 'challenging' localisation work. In terms of Itoi's style and inimitable charm, it was captured beautifully in EarthBound's localisation, so there's no reason to think the same couldn't be achieved again.
In fact, the same already has been achieved in a brilliant fan translation that was updated as recently as last year. Which brings us to the question: Is there any real need for Nintendo to release Mother 3 now?
Don't get us wrong, we'd be at the front of the queue to download a Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light-style limited edition '3arthBound' set, or a surprise standalone digital release à la EarthBound Beginnings, or a GBA update added to the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack. We'd absolutely love to play Nintendo's official version of this brilliant finale.
However, the fact is that most of us who want to play it already have played it. Despite never being released in the West, Mother 3 currently sits neck-and-neck with Metroid: Zero Mission at the top of our reader-ranked Best Game Boy Advance Games list. Series uberfans and curious gamers alike have already bought the original Japanese game, already downloaded the fan translation and played the thing. A cursory search on the internet reveals various reproduction carts very easily obtainable, not to mention the myriad other ways a determined fan can find to play GBA titles on original hardware — using entirely legal methods, too, assuming you own the original ROM in a legitimate form.
Part of the reason we still want an official release is so that a new generation can easily access the game and discover the series, perhaps for the first time. It's such an affecting journey, we'd love to see as wide an audience as possible have the opportunity to play on Switch. With over 100 million consoles out there, if just a tiny percentage took a punt on this quirky little adventure, it could quickly outsell the original EarthBound's roughly 658,000 global sales. We really just want to spread the Mother-lovin' love.
Despite only being played by a relatively small number of gamers, the series inspires so much love, as you'll see if you watch our celebratory 'Mother's Day' video featuring testimony from some familiar faces. We've recently seen Link's Awakening remake-style tributes that suggest what a remade Mother 3 could look like. The passion for this game and series is impressive, yet most pragmatic fans will not only understand from a business perspective Nintendo's reluctance to release an official localisation, but will have found a way to experience the game for themselves already.
Which leaves Nintendo and Mother 3 fans stuck between a rock and a hard place. It's a poser!
What do you think though? Let us know in the polls below where you stand on Nintendo releasing Mother 3 in 2022, and share further thoughts in the comments.
I mean. All the Mario fans probably played Super Mario Bros. already. Guess they may as well pull that from the Switch NES Online app then, huh?
I’m not that interested in Mother, but I think they should release it. Hardcore fans will have played it, but I know lots of not-hardcore fans would buy it anyway. I would probably play it, even though I’d never go through the hassle to play a fan-made translation. I know other people are like me, so it’d sell well. They shouldn’t not release just because some people have played it, that doesn’t make any sense.
The fan translation is excellent, and I have doubts that Nintendo could really do much to one-up the translation we have. On top of that an official release today isn't going to be a physical thing, it's either gonna come as a part of a probably GBA service to come to the Switch, maybe some sort of proper virtual console release, or MAYBE some sort of trilogy collection release for the Switch. Unless the release were the last one there, collectors aren't exactly going to care much about a digital only release, beyond just the satisfaction of knowing it was finally officially localized. And with both Beginnings and Earthbound available already in the online services, a separate trilogy release for the Switch seems all the more unlikely.
Would I welcome an official release? Absolutely. Is it as necessary as the biggest fans of the series would have you believe, no, not really at all.
'All the fans have played it already.'
I'm a fan and waiting for an official version. Thanks. One day it will release (maybe as a remake, maybe with extra bells and whistles) and I will be glad I waited.
They'll have the stats from the amount of people that have played Earthbound via Switch Online, they should just base it on that. I cant imagine Mother 3 earning back the money, but who knows maybe Earthbound is secretly massive amongst younger fans
I don’t think the “if you want to play it you’ve played it already” perspective really flies. I want to play it- I haven’t yet. I could buy an unofficial cartridge with the translation patch applied and play it on original hardware no problem, or download an emulator and play it on my phone but I’d really rather play it on the place I play most games nowadays, that being the Switch. If it’s not on there (or just not feasible there or exclusive to other platforms) then I’m not really interested in going out of my way to play it when there’s so much to play on Switch as it is. If they dropped an official, easily obtainable translated version on Switch I would be there day one no doubt.
I've never understood the appeal of the Earthbound series, tbh. I know I'm for sure in the minority but I found it to be really lame. Haha
If you've never heard of an emulator
That mockup done in the links awakening style made me hope we see a remake (especially after how nice the live a live one looks)
Really i would just love to be able to buy it on switch (hopefully without the limited time stuff that fire emblem got or being exclusive to NSO, i would love to see the game preserved)
Really given all the wild localization and/or remasters/remakes which happened over the past few years (Trials of mana, live a live, front mission, Trails to zero/azure, moon etc) it feels like anything could happen.
Personally I think it would do well if it was released as a standalone title, like that limited time Fire Emblem game, rather than relegating it to a NSO app where it can fade into obscurity. On that note, if Ninty were to localise it, I can totally see them doing a limited time release of the game, which, while still annoying, would certainly generate enough negative publicity to effectively market the game in a manner similar to the 3D All-Stars controversy.
I wish Nintendo would do with Mother 3 what NISA are doing with Trails from Zero and Trails to Azure. Games that came out on PSP in Japan in 2010-11, didn't get official translations, got great fan translations, now in 2022-23 they're coming to the west on Switch, PS4 and PC using the fan translation as the foundation of the official translation. Nintendo would never do such a thing, but we can dream. I'd say if you really want to play Mother 3, get the fan translation, I played it on a GBA repro cart. I'm sure most people reading this article have a GBA or DS that can play GBA games laying around the house somewhere.
Mother/Earthbound is just not a series I got into and I think it's past it's time. You'll always have the legacy fans but the audience is never going to get bigger than it is now since the franchise has ended and there hasn't been a new game/remake since 2006. At best, you've gotten ports to Switch through NSO and will likely get releases on future consoles. But being that the 3rd entry is such a storied one, it feels overdue to release it to the audience that wants it so badly.
I'm not an Earthbound fan but more games getting localized is never a bad thing. If Fire Emblem NES can get translated then Mother 3 has a chance.
Absolutely not, it has been decades of port begging for a niche Gameboy game that most people weren't going to play in the first place. Not to mention Fan translations have been available for years for everyone to download and will be better than anything Nintendo could do officially since they would probably have to censor some things in the games from what I heard.
So even if it got localized it would the be inferior version to fantranslations.
So in short no we don't need a localization, we've had a fantranslation for years and it's time to stop begging, it's annoying at this point, if you really wanted to Mother 3 so bad you would've emulated it already, you have no excuse when the fantranslations are so old.
Nope, takes all of 3 minutes to be playing it right now if you really wanted to.
Tbf if they are fans they still would play buy even if they have already played the fan translation
The translation patch and the platform's ease of portable emulation these days sure make it less of a pressing matter, although I'd still put an official localized release in my wallet's cross-hair for legitimacy's sake. My libraries of today include long beaten stuff like Flashback and Alleyway which I never owned back when I played them (well, I had spent some money on Flashback, but it was a bootleg cartridge obtained via the local store's trade-in service 😅).
Not sure when I'll ever play the game in any scenario - I haven't even found time for the first one to this day, although its NSO advent bumped the odds up to an extent.
I love Mother 3 but I seriously doubt Nintendo gives a rats hoot about bringing it over the west. It's best to play the fan translation.
Not official I know but whaddaya do? Gotta play with the cards that are given to you.
"Mother Memories", single cartridge with all three games with both Japanese and English translated versions. That's it, that's all we need.
I don’t want to play it on a PC. Would much rather have a copy for actual Nintendo hardware. It’s a game I’ve been curious about forever and I’d buy it day one.
And those that haven't played it don't really care.
It's a really good game and I'd like it in some kind of compilation for completeness same
Yes, if the remaster or what ever doesn’t suck and be worse than the original, like in so many cases when it comes to remasters…
I would definitely buy or at least rent the game if it were officially translated for the GBA on the Switch. I just wish Capcom would show love for the MegaMan Legends games by releasing a MegaMan Legends Legacy Collection and start a KickStarter Campaign for Legends 3 on PS4/PS5, XBox One/Series S/X, and Nintendo Switch and PC. I mean, look what it did for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero! I mean, what's-her-name said it best:
@Toshiro_Baloney Funnily enough, the first time I played Mother 3 was on actual Nintendo hardware, via the Wii's homebrew channel.
Never understood all the fuss.
I recently started to play the other 2 games, so far so good. I guess due to the sea of articles about it, did a little search and to my surprise, today i found out that this is available localy for my GBA at like 12 bucks, will get it 😃
To the fellow gamers who already play this version, is it any good? I mean, does at least make sense? Or, from 1 to 10 how would you guys rate it?
The fan translation is readily accessible and I've always thought Nintendo doing an official one would probably be significantly worse-written anyway.
What kinda question is that?
Anyway I would probably never end up playing the fan translation because A. I don’t have a computer and B. I don’t have one of those cart thingies where you could put stuff like rom hacks on em. I also heard that cartridge’s that do have the translation on them are supposed to be awful quality.
Nintendo should just make the fan translation official since the creator of the mother series likes it.
@Big_Fudge School teacher here and I was shocked to one time find a 9th grader playing Earthbound on his 3DS via the virtual console.
That said, I think you're right about them having stats about Earthbound via NSO... GBA emulation via NSO Expansion Pack and Mother 3 is one of a handful of premier titles... I think that's the financial solution, since just doing regular NSO will likely only get negligible revenue via new subscribers.
@Greatluigi A) You don't own a phone either? Seems unlikely.
Considering how easily people on the Internet are offended these days. I can totally understand why Nintendo don't want to release a translated Mother 3. Just play the translated rom and if you want to support Mother 3, just support the rest of the series. Buy Earthbound, Earthbound Beginning Smash bros and other Mother related stuff officially released by Nintendo
@SteamEngenius I do have a phone but I’m not very comfortable with jailbreaking it or emulating anything on it...also it’s fulled to the brim with games and...pictures.
I have no interest in it. But would like to see fans get what they want.
@EriXz I played the fan translation just last year and I think it's just as good as most official translations these days. They nailed the story and the humor, if you have a chance to get it, get it.
The Series has very passionate Fanbase, but the Games really aren't for a bigger Audience.
It is just to special in many Parts, mainly Style, Story and Battle System.
@mauhlin12 will do, thank you!!
We don’t need it per say but I would love to actually own the game, and play a official version.
It would be nice for it to happen since: more Japanese exclusives that people really wanted to see rereleased again for the first time outside of Japan coming out of Japan, more money.
How did Square-Enix do releasing Trials of Mana, a 1995 video game, in 2019?
I mean, THE FANS had it localized in 1999.
A point of comparison.
I have no interest in this series. I want them to release it simply so the fans will finally shut the heck up about it.
@BabyYoda71 same. I'm not the biggest RPG fan but I'm down for a mother 3. Hell, I bought all 3 project rainfall games for Wii yrs ago.
One of the best games I’ve played. While yeah, a Nintendo version would be great, the fan translation is all I need. Got a repro cart already. They should just do what Falcom did with the Trails games and use the fan version.
The fan translation will remain superior no matter what.
The fan translation is incredible and one of the best fan translations ever made for any game. Nintendo would butcher and censor the story to hell if they made an official translation. Just look what they did to some Fire Emblem games on 3DS.
I'll stick to the fan one for the rest of my life.
Official is the only way I go. If I happen into playing the fan translation, so be it.
Never mind Mother, we need Ripened Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love!
The hype for the game has long been overdue so no thanks. Considering Mother 1 was never officially released physically over here either it still doesn't count as a legit release.
Coming totally from my own opinion I’d say can’t we just drop the talk about mother. Nintendo gave out 1&2 only to be immediately dogged for 3. Im mean why don’t they just do a physical release with a real manual and a translation that doesn’t offend somebody on the internet, because that’ll net them an absolute ton of money and respect from their fans!
I like Mother but I'd rather play an official release. I'm kind of a purist and only play Nintendo games on Nintendo hardware. I'm weird like that I guess 🤷♂️
Another one here that likes the mother series and yet has never played 3. I just don't tend to like fan translations that much because they are often too literal with translations, which ironically makes the dialogue worse. I love translators and their hard work but I'd prefer something official, thanks.
I’ve played the fan translation and of course I really liked it. It’s a great coming of age story and has some of the hardest emotional beats in any game out there. The fan translation has been worked on for so long you can see how fine tuned the English is in all of the grammar. Usually with things like this there’re is some forgiveness you have to give it when it comes to some dialogue. It carries the attitude mother has and it’s really as close to perfect as possible.
I don't have any skin it this game, Earthbound just didn't grab me, but as a Fire Emblem fan, I completely understand Earthbound fans, even ones who've played Mother 3, wanting it officially released in the west. Your theory that anyone who wants it has already gone through the rigmarole to play it is kind of insulting to any fanbase. It's not necessarily that easy, legal or cheap to be able to go out and play untranslated games. Hell, it's not necessarily legal, easy, or cheap to do that with games that HAVE come out in the west and are out of print, to say nothing of foreign games. Yes, it should be released.
From the little of what I've played of Mother 3, it didn't get my attention as much as EarthBound or even EarthBound Beginning. That didn't stop me from getting one of my favorite amiibo figures in Lucas.
Not having Mother 3 is a shame, but it's not something that would make me lose my sleep. If it were to be localized officially, then sure I'd give it a go.
I'm personally more annoyed about the lack of Another Code R, Disaster: Day of Crisis and Last Window: The Secret of Cape West in America. Those are games that were localized for Europe but NoA casually decided to ignore them.
I would say to those that are skeptical of the fan translation: it's done by a man (Clyde) who made the first major Earthbound fan site (starman.net), is a professional localizer, and wrote a very comprehensive book comparing the Japanese text to the localized SNES game. Professional pedigree and a high priority of details and understanding Itoi's style. As others have said, it is extremely unlikely that Nintendo themselves will make a better localization because there's probably no one there that loves the game as much as Clyde does. Go play the fan translation (and if you think it's hard to patch in the fan translation, I assure you that it's much easier than you think, plus it's also easy to find a pre-patched form of the game).
I've waited this long, so I think I'll wait a little longer and see if we get a remake or port or something. Besides, I didn't like Earthbound, so I'm not dying to experience the sequel to begin with.
Of course, if it ever does receive an official localization, most of the fan attention once it comes out will probably be outrage over changes to the script versus the more faithful fan translation.
3DS GBA injection is the only way I need to play GBA forever
Does it need to be localised? No.
Would I like it localised? Sure.
Should they remaster/remake the trilogy? Yes.
Or simply put on the NSO GBA, when they announce it. Personally, I wouldn’t/don’t like to touch any sort of “fan translation” of any game.
Not everyone emulates or plays fan translations. It’s a reach to assume “everyone” has already played Mother 3. So far the poll is reflecting that, honestly.
Im one of the few gamers where i really do think that Earthbound and the other Mother games are overrated weird RPG adventure games. Earthbound I used to have for my old Super Nintendo back then but i didnt enjoy it that much since it was a really weird game and wasnt even that popular to begin with anyway
Short anwser: yes
Long answer: yyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssss!!!!!!!
I bought a fan translated cart for my gba a couple years ago, and it was great. I would love a remaster someday.
Mother 3 really deserves an official release. I have a repro cart with the fan translation, but it would be so much more convenient on Switch. I'm hoping we'll at least see it come to NSO. It would make an enticing addition to the service.
I've never played it but heard about for decades. There's a lot of things they don't need to do but I'd be okay with this.
Note that I believe even the fan translator Clyde Mandelin would like to see an official localization.
I haven't pulled the trigger on ordering a patched cart because I started seeing listings saying "don't trust the 1.3 update, game is unable to be finished, buy the 1.2 instead" etc so I don't know which is a safe product to order yet. Would gladly pay $60 for a proper switch boxed release.
Personally, I'd love to just be able to support them officially if they released the game. I did play the fan translation, and heck, I even have a physical copy of the game. However, I want to support an official release because i feel like they do deserve that for all the grief we've given them to release the game (even though they've given us equally as much grief for not releasing it).
What kind of argument is 'the real fans already played it'? By that logic, don't bother reviewing ports or remakes for Switch that came out on other consoles before, 'because the real fans already played them'.
They should do it just for the fact they need any content possible for NSO and the Expansion Pak, especially if this will go beyond the Switch as their Xbox Live & PS+ equivalent. Actually they should be bringing over and translating as many Famicom, Super Famicom, N64, GB, GBC, GBA, etc. games as they can for the service, big or small, in addition to licensing games.
If you want people to pay for a service, you put money into it to make it better, making more people wanting it and paying for it. There are plenty of ideas, but they choose to do none of them.
The BETTER release Mother 3 for Nintendo Switch!
"The real fans have already played it" is such a dumb elitist outlook.
I want them to localise it but I'm really not looking forward to the discourse that will come with comparing it to the unofficial version (comment 46 being a good example)
At this point I think they're better just remaking it.
Meh, I can't imagine an official translation being able to out-do the excellent fan translation. Nintendo HAD their chance, and personally... I've already played the fan translation, loved it, and could care less about playing it "officially". I'm not a "purist" and have ZERO qualms about using an emulator.
@Yosher Replaying a free, short, historic title like Super Mario Bros. isn't really comparable to what would likely end up being a somewhat expensive remaster of a lengthy, old JRPG that many people wouldn't be as quick to re-buy just because it's official. Nintendo isn't trying to grab big cash for the original Super Mario Bros. But there's virtually no way they're going to translate and release a big game like Mother 3 at this point without getting a reasonable payday.
I'm not advocating against releasing it, but it wouldn't be a shock if after all this support and fanfare for years, it came out and then had mediocre sales, which would tell Nintendo (perhaps erroneously) that there's no interest in the series and they should definitely not consider making a new one.
Honestly, unless they're already making Mother 4 or some sort of remake of 3 (or 1 or 2 or all of them), I think simply releasing 3 nearly as-is would be potentially bad. If they want to release it as a download only title as a precursor to a Mother 4 or some remakes, then I think it's a great idea.
Mother 3 is the best narrative I've experienced in a video game. More people should experience it. If it had an official English language release, many more people would experience it.
There's no real reason to be against this, unless you're just petty.
@Lyricana I believe they already said the series was done anyway so no Mother 4 would likely happen regardless. At best I think it would stop (further) remakes from happening or something, which I doubt was ever in the cards to begin with.
Either way, they could release it on that GBA Switch app that's been rumored if that turns out to be true. Though I'm sure most people would prefer to just buy it, that way they wouldn't have to worry as much about sales for the game, but they may just boost the sales of their online subscription with it.
@Greatluigi Ah fair enough I suppose but you can download emulators from Google Play Store even (so they're scanned for such things), you don't need to jailbreak, and rom files can't infect you, but to each their own.
Would articles like these still be written if an official localized Mother 3 was ever released? And would we still speculate on it? Boy, I would miss this when it was ever released. Yet in a bittersweet Mother-way, it would be worth it. Nothing lasts forever.
@Maulbert I'd have to say playing translated versions of games is actually much much much easier and cheaper than going the whole holier than thou route to say you own a legal version of plastic with some data inside. I also doubt the cops are gonna come a knocking for using your own way of playing a what..20 year old game?
Then again I suppose it is easier to complain about them not releasing a niche game that wouldn't sell well enough for them to bother.
I've played Mother 3 but not completed it (yet). Same goes for Earthbound on the SNES. I need to get my skates on.
You know NL, if they ever did release this in the west, that would cut your articles down by a good 20%.
From within the bubble of hardcore fandom, it's easy to demand a niche game. I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo had a more realistic assessment of Mother 3's luster based on the NSO Earthbound data.
Nintendo have a great history of censoring their games in the West, so... I have doubts about "localisation". If Nintendo gonna release it in the West officially, they'll need to use that fan-translation. Because, most of the fans and players will be disappointed by official localisation. And they will boycott Nintendo by money, causing poor sales in the West. Two examples of Nintendo's censorship - 1. Famicom Detective Club. They cutted off some character lines and a few bonus scenes(!). I will never forgive Nintendo for this. 2. Xenoblade. They renamed almost all things in the game! Character's names, kingdom's names, and etc.! It's horrible! And I will never forgive Nintendo for this too.
I'm just lazy. Keep meaning to get around to it eventually but have been busy with tons of other games, and an official release would at least give me a reminder (maybe toplay the fan translation instead anyway!)
They should just put it on NSO.
I guess the broader question is, why shouldn’t all of their back catalog be made available in some form on the current device? There’s no need to single out one game as ‘needing’ to exist on Switch. This game is part of their legacy, same as any other.
They have no obligation to since the series never sold very well and since the fanbase is mostly a cult following, most of them have already played the fan translation instead.
@Yosher It's definitely not impossible, but they didn't put Fire Emblem on the NES app despite it being available in Japan on the app and being a much older, much less demanded game (and one that had been released here in remade form eventually). The unwanted their $6. So my gut tells me they'd push for more with this. Though I agree that it could be a really smart move to throw it in the GBA app and tie it to the expansion pack. Many people would see it as the added value they need to upgrade.
Well, considering that an official localization of Mother 3 was already confirmed a couple of years ago alongside a script book compiling the scripts from all 3 Mother/EarthBound games- and by Shigesato Itoi's own company nonetheless- it's only a matter of time until an official localization happens, as there's plenty of Mother/EarthBound fans who refuse to play illegal, unofficial fan translations and would only play the game when it gets an official localization!
I haven't played it. I would like to though...
Removed - inappropriate
Arent fan translations from Japanese massively open to interpretation and because certain jokes, puns and phrases don’t translate you have to change quite a lot? Therefore an official translation is essential.
Also very very few people will have played the fan translation. emulation is still a niche area - The SNES mini sold 5 million units, way more than would ever consider a Raspberry Pi or PC emulation.
They never NEEDED to release it in the West.
Hence they didn't do it.
And they never want to sell only to the fans.
A localization of that caliber would have to generate a lot of new players to warrant its own cost, as is also suggested by you first response option in the poll.
It's not much of a factor at all to Nintendo whether twenty thousand fans have played an unauthorized translation.
@GrailUK Nice profile pic!
I've beaten it with the fan translation a few years after its release. The DS came out and chances for an official release and translation looked grim. I love EarthBound, so Mother 3 was the first and only game I've ever played with a translation patch.
Every time I play a masterpiece I want an official and physical version of it, so yeah, still waiting for the day it happens so I can replay it.
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