An article on the upcoming Japanese game distribution service "Noid" in this week's Famitsu seems to hint at the possiblity of a new title in the classic Mother (known as EarthBound in the West) series of RPG's. The brief article mentions that several "surprise big-name titles" are scheduled to appear on the service, along with new titles, and includes a strangely familiar screenshot with the caption "Could this be that RPG?", viewable below:
Those familiar with EarthBound will notice some similarities in style and content to the SNES game, along with many clear differences. For those that aren't, here's a handy comparison pic:
The links may seem tenuous to some, but there are a few important factors to consider. Firstly, Japanese cellphones are overflowing with ports and remakes of classic 8- and 16-bit games and that screenshot looks exactly how one might imagine an enhanced cellphone port of EarthBound to look. Secondly, the rights to the Mother franchise are owned by creator and scriptwriter Shigesato Itoi, so the choice to develop a new game with a different studio ("Noid" parent company and Professor Layton developers Level-5, in this case) would lie entirely with him. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the Mother series has a much greater presence in Japan, meaning there'd be a definite audience for a new entry in the franchise. Of course, that's more Nintendo's fault than anyone else's, but since when has a Japan-only release kept a rabid Mother fan down?
Stay tuned to NintendoLife for more gossip, pipe-dreams and idle speculation on all things Nintendo!
Some great investigative work there, Chris! Seems like there's some substantial evidence behind the comparison, although as you say it's unlikely we Westerners will ever get to play it!
I remember Itoi said in an interview that he didn't want to make another Mother game, but he said that if someone else wanted to, he'd let them go right ahead.
EDIT: There's actually a better resolution screenshot of that here: http://earthboundcentral.com/2009/03/possible-new-earthbound-part-2/
I agree with TwistedVivid.
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