The Mother series — perhaps better known in the west as EarthBound (AKA Mother 2) — is one of Nintendo's most enduring franchises. However, it has been dormant since 2006, when Mother 3 hit the Game Boy Advance in Japan.
Rather than wait for Nintendo to start work on a fourth game in the series — something which original creator Shigesato Itoi believes is "impossible" — a group of dedicated fans has decided to take matters into their own hands and produce Mother 4 themselves — without Nintendo's support or, more importantly, its permission.
The game is scheduled for launch this year on PC, Mac and Linux, and will only be released in English. Oh, and it's going to be completely free of charge, too.
As you can see from the trailer below, the team has certainly captured the look and sound of the original games. However, projects like this — even when not being produced for any commercial gain — are often viewed very dimly by copyright holders. It remains to be seen if Nintendo will allow such a venture to proceed without getting its legal department involved, but from what we've seen, it would be a real shame if such a heartfelt endeavour was nipped in the bud before release.
[source vg247.com, via mother4game.com]
Rev up those C&D letters Nintendo
Two words: click... bait. My jaw dropped when I saw Mother 4 (and 0 comments ) so I rushed to the article only to find out that it's just a fan project, and it doesn't even have Ninty's permission!!
I don't think Nintendo will like this. Didn't they shut down a fan made Metroid Movie? They won't let random people make a sequel to one of their properties.
It looks great! Call it something else, quick!
No, I don't think so. If Itoi came back, it'd be a different story. A fan project shouldn't try to be a numbered entry. A spinoff - maybe a spiritual successor, sure, but in the case of the Mother series, it doesn't seem right to make a direct sequel attempt like this.
I can't see this living up to the standards of the Mother series.
Why can't they just change the name? Nintendo can't stop someone making a game with the feeling of Mother/Earthbound.
Granted, I'm not sure if Nintendo even has a Trademark for Mother in the US, so I suppose they could call it Mother in the US so long as it never released in Japan.
@bloodycelt They can later if they want to. Nobody would be reporting on it though if they did that now.
That... is not Mother 4.
My heart skipped when I started reading the title.
Thanks a lot, Nintendo Life.
On the one hand, yes, they should either be making this in the likeness of Mother or getting Nintendo's permission.
But then again fans are getting tired of big companies ignoring demands that have been ringing for years or even decades (Mega Man is a huge example), and now some are old enough to take matters in their own hands.
Overall this isn't right, but I can't blame them either.
What a way to hype me up for nothing... By this point I actually expected a handfull of fan made Mother 4s to exist already
I hate when fans do stuff like this. Don't people understand the concepts of copyrights and originality? Just make something of your own.
That looks amazing, CHANGE THE NAME QUICK!
Well I'm sure Nintendo's lawyers were getting bored with nothing to do anyway. Seriously, just make your own game and say it was inspired by Mother. Of course once Nintendo lays down the C&D hammer folks will act like Nintendo is the bad guy.
@Hyperstar96 You can do a fan tribute without straight up taking the name and logo from the original. That is IP theft and is wrong. Citizens of Earth is how you do a fan tribute to Earthbound.
These guys are pretty pee-brained if they think they can call this game Mother 4.
@Hyperstar96 No I don't. They are straight up infringing on someone else's work. They are more using it than they are giving tribute to it. Unless the original owner agrees, they shouldn't do it. A good tribute would be something like shovel knight, it gave respect to old works but created something of it's own. Let's not to too entitled here because we're fans.
I wish they'd just release a Mother-inspired game instead of creating a fan sequel that will NEVER be considered canon, no matter how good it might turn out to be. What a waste of considerable time and resources.
I don't get it why people are already saying this could never being as good as the others when none of you have ever played it. I am not saying its going to be as good I am just saying it might not be bad.
Okay I'm sorry but that isn't Mother 4, it is a fan project end of thanks for getting my hopes up then dashing them against a wall.
@pigwarts5ever Some of the commenters might have played them thanks to the fan translations.
Also on a side note, I hope that this becomes available as a GBA rom, then I will be able to play it on my Vita whenever I want just like the others.
For a fan game, its really not that bad at all!
I guess a lot of us ought to play Mother 3 before this one though! But it looks really good for what it is!
This type of project shouldnt be announced before release. Now ninty can shut down this if they want.
Are people actually WHINING about this? Like, seriously, it's a ****ING FAN PROJECT. STUFF LIKE THIS HAPPENS ALL. THE. DAMN. TIME. Get over it.
Now that my rant is done, this looks pretty good. This is actually the most I've ever been hyped for a fan project. Smash hype though, keeps making me forget that this project is the most amazing fan project ever.
@Hyperstar96 Problem is they are trying to present this as a part of the mother series. This is NOT mother 4. When you do fan work you don't try to pass it off as part of the intended canon. Nothing wrong with setting it in the same universe or picking up where the official game left off, but they need to make it really clear that this is not a true entry in the series. That's why fanworks need to have a ton of disclaimers and even that means very little... it is well within the copyright holder's right to prevent fanworks from seeing the light of day. Case in point Anne Rice had FF.net pull all fanfiction about her books from the site.
Still I think they should have put the resources towards their own game instead.
@Hyperstar96 He's right, they're ripping off the original creator, and tampering with their material, without their permission. As an artist and game developer, I for one, would not want that to happen to MY work!
@NoUsernameHere They are trying to masquerade this as part of the series, maybe instead of ripping of the original trilogy and using the same assets how about they try making their own game.
This is awesome. I love it when fans do things like this. Hopefully Nintendo will be cool with this, especially since this is pretty much advertising Nintendo products, specifically Earthbound for the Wii U.
i just don't get the mother obsession, yeah it's a good game but no need dress in all blue over it. personally i'd rather see langrisser but i guess it's all a matter of opinion
The name "Earthbound 4" will cause some copyright troubles. Take off the number, add a subtitle and putting up a disclaimer saying it's just a fan game might help them avoid that.
Ugh. Fan projects are usually pretty bad. Even some translations can't even keep the same "voice" of the characters. Can you imagine a fan game trying to pretend its official? I mean, it's cool and all that they want to try to make something that homages the original, but don't pretend its a sequel
I don't get the enthusiasm behind the possibility of this project being shut down. I've known about Mother 4 for quite a while, and Shigesato Itoi himself said "for the next game, I'd rather be the player". And this is most definitely not a PETA stunt - Mother 4 is a long love letter to the franchise and its fans alike, treating the source material with nothing short of complete respect. Besides, it's not like Nintendo wants to do much with the franchise, either - Mother 3 is still a Japan-only thing, as pretty much everything else in the series, and the only reason we saw EarthBound getting a worldwide rerelease was the immense fan demand coupled with the fact it was used as a trump card meant to boost WiiU sales.
I hope Mother 4 makes it and sees the light of day.
@Hyperstar96 yeah you embellished that way beyond its meaning.
Instead of having this game pulled, Nintendo should embrace a fan-made game for once and perhaps make this part of the series officially, because they certainly don't seem to be in a rush on making another game in the series. But that's just my thoughts on this, really.
And now everyone is going to hate on this game, really? xD
Not cool to rip off other people's stuff without permission, illegally. Period. Doesn't matter whether it's free or not. Doesn't matter whether Nintendo has any plans for carrying on the series or not.
There are copyright and trademark laws for a reason.
This fan made game has supposedly been in the works for years so I imagine Nintendo will shut it down when it gets released. Surely they would know about it after all this time & are just waiting for it to be real so they can shut it down legally? That's my guess.
Or maybe they don't care?...
Where do these guys get off, not only ripping off a game's gameplay and aesthetics, but stealing the name and insinuating themselves into the canon? I'm all for creative fan-made content unhampered by close-minded, money-hungry executives, but if these guys had a shred of ethics and decency they'd change the name.
I hope they receive their cease and desist letters on launch day. Danced we in joys and triumphs, and fed the manfools to their devourings for our thanks.
Huh, I thought this was already finished last year. Well, good luck with any potential lawsuits from Nintendo.
@twadezelda3dsxl No I am talking about this fan made version not the japanese only ones.
This is destined to have fate of most projects like this. It will be shut down by Nintendo, and everyone will realize that the ONLY safe way to do something like this is to not NOT ANNOUNCE IT IN ANY WAY and just suddenly release it one day.
Also, that title takes big balls.
@PvtOttobot three words: read the headline
If Nintendo had a bit more sensibility, they'd not only endorse this project, but also bring it to their platforms. Sure, the name "Mother" might have to be dropped (due to the connection of that series with Itoi), but bring it on board as a spiritual successor. Seriously, everyone wins.
Anyone who played Mother 3 knows why a sequel comes off as a bit...strange.
@Jazzer94 >ripping of the original trilogy
So would Super Smash Flash 2 be a rip-off of Smash? Or how about Pokemon Zeta and Omicron? Would that be ripping off Pokemon?
@NoUsernameHere Yes, and yes. The first because they are taking other companies copyrighted IP and placing them in their game, the second because they are stealing the copyrighted name and possibly copyrighted IP.
Game mechanics cannot be copyrighted, but the name, artwork, and other assets of a game can be. Both those projects cross the line of being a clone of the games to out right stealing IP.
Basically when you take something that is not yours to use and use it anyway you are asking for trouble. Some Companies choose to look the other way, such as Capcom; but most don't as they want full control of their IP.
I've been following the development of this game for years which anyone can do on it's website. They are pretty clear that this is a fan made project and the assets like the sprites,tilesets, and music are made from scratch. Yes I can see similarities in the official games as this one but certain things have to be so that it retains the feel of the games made in the past. After all it is a love letter to the series. There is a huge team behind this game and Itoi himself is actually aware of its development and basically game it an okay.
@PvtOttobot So...you read the title, which said all of those things?
They should change the name or something. I'm not saying the game shouldn't be released. Just change the name to something else, that way they don't get a cease and desist letter.
@Darknyht Actually, you know what, **** it. Rip-offs my ***. I'm done trying to argue with you people. I'm just gonna shut up. You can all breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that the most hated NL user ever is gonna shut up.
I made a game several years ago with Nintendo stuff in it...never even heard from Nintendo about it. >.>
I'm weighing in because I have opinions.
Fan games are cool and I support them 100%. Copyright owners CAN legally shut them down, but there is no reason that they need to in most cases.
When I think fan games, I think Fighting is Magic, the MLP fighting game. Hasbro shut them down about a month before their first official release was ready. This after years of dedicated development. This move definitely made Hasbro look like the bad guys in this case, but the game was getting so big that it was being considered for EVO, the fighting game tournament. In this case, Hasbro kinda didn't have much of a choice. It was about their brand image. I'm sure they didn't want to shut down the project, but it was at the point where they had to support it or make it cease and desist, and they couldn't really endorse associating their characters with violence.
Of course, even though the public never got their hooves on the game (although some fans created a "finished" version later,) the developers themselves learned a lot from the development of the game. So much that they are currently making a new Fighting is Magic game starring various, non-Hasbro-owned cartoon quadrupeds including cows and llamas. Designed by MLP:FIM creator Lauren Faust, who reached out to them after their original project was shut down.
Fan games are cool. And can lead to even cooler things.
Despite Crash Bandicoot being an iconic and recognizable platforming mascot, Activision hasn't done squat with the property for something like five years. Fans have worked on several fan games since then, the most impressive (imo) being Crystal's Wrath. Development on the fan game has been slow (the whole thing was rebooted from the ground up at one point), but it is all that Crash fans have had.
That being said, calling this game Mother 4 does seem a little bold. I don't know much about the series, but maybe a different subtitle would be better for this fan game.
why all the rage over this .-. it looks like it could be good. they arent sapping away any potential money nintendo could gain. how is this even a rip off? because of the name? because it uses similar graphics? if they changed both of those would everyones opinion of this suddenly rise? im not gona lie say the name isn't a big copyright problem, still though to say this game is a rip-off all because they chose to use the name just dont make sense to me. also whats all this nonsense about the creators trying to pass this off as official canon
"Mother 4 is a fan-made addition to the cult-classic series Mother. We are NOT affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Nintendo of America Inc., Shigesato Itoi, HAL Laboratory, Inc., or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates."
i got that quote off of the first answer to the first question on the mother 4 websites. the question being if the game is official. plus they put a similiar disclaimer in the trailer, the first sentence in the videos disclaimer - "MOTHER 4 is an UNOFFICIAL fan-made game." i dont see at all how theyre trying to pass this off as an official canon anything
1. How far do these guys actually think they'll get? And 2 why is it coming to non Nintendo systems? This isn't a dedicated sequel to a Nintendo game
@NoUsernameHere Yes and yes but Smash Flash 2 saves some face by having original assets designs(even if they are all of copyrighted IP) and trying to take mechanics in a slightly different direction. Pokemon Zeta and Omicron consists of straight up stolen assets so yes it is ripping off Pokemon I thought that would be obvious.
@mega719 this is pretty freaking dedicated noting that; 1) they did this by their selves, 2) they are reviving a cult classic with better intentions than nintendo (probably) ever will, 3) they're giving it out for free so we can all experience it & 4) just because its not on a nintendo system mean nothing, what they're doing is amazing.
Nintendo, if you are reading this, please do us all a favor, and don't shut this project down. If you do, I will look for you...I will find you...and I will...not kill you, but make you pay dearly.
This trailer has been here since 2013 why is it now being reported?
@NoUsernameHere We both going to get copies of the game for free!~
@randomlypikachu Also the pikabaka said the truth!
@WingedSnagret The Mother series is over. Not every video game series needs to constantly make new installments.
I have anticipated this "fan" game for a while and so has my wife. There is a large community of Earthbound/Mother fans that also support this project and want to see it released. Like I said above Itoi himself is pretty aware of this game being made and sort of gave his okay on it. So for me to see this type of negativity outside of the community is staggering. My excitement starts to become fear knowing that Nintendo will shut it down due to the unnecessary hate generated by their consumers left from comments on slightly high profile fan news sites such as this one. I don't see the harm in a free fan game that actually took the time to create their own original content, it's not a complete rip off if one at all. The hate towards it baffles me...
@The727Guy it means a lot that it's not on a Nintendo system. This isn't their IP series it's Nintendo's, turning it to a 3rd party with no authorization breaks a lot of copyright infringement. Don't just think because it's happening nothing is wrong with how it's being done. Even if it's been in development since last year it's likely to be shut down fast
I've followed the team for years and have seen that they've done alot of work. It would be sad to see this get taken down but i highly doubt it will. The amount of time they have spent shows. I can see this game being great! This game is made by fans that want to give fellow fans an experience that is worthy of the name. I don't see any problems with that. If nintendo doesn't care about the name then it's all good. With the work they've put in and how it is coming out i think it can call itself a mother game
@WaLzgi @russellohh well played WaLzgi, well played
Hey, I remember seeing this project in 2010 after I had palyed trough Mother 3. Good to see this one still alive, definetely going to play this when it's finished.
i made a thread for this a while back.
i can pretty much tell you several details on the game because ive been more than only aware of this game for several years now. read what i just said closely
I wouldn't call it mother 4. I'd use a subtitle or something like Mother's Tears or the like.
I don't get why people are acting as if this fan-game is the end of the world. Is it really such a horrible thing that everyone is personally offended by it's existence? I mean, Megaman fan games are made all the time and no one seems to be offended in the least, and sometimes even encourage it. But one Mother fan game comes out, everyone gets their pitchforks ready.
Yeah, I admit it's bold, naming the game Mother 4. But still, the team put their hearts and souls into this game, for no pay whatsoever and with their free time, trying to make something that their fellow Mother fans can enjoy. And I really can't see how this game could damage the image of Mother, or cut profits from Nintendo, considering it was put to rest in 2006...
Just don't knock it until you try it.
@Mega719 I responded to the fact it's dedicated, not to copyright infringement, and it's it make be likely that they do nothing at all (like they did with the mother/earthbound zero american port, and mother 3/earthbound 2 english rom, plus what's wrong if it's a fan project, if simply producing content based on a given media with no ill intentions, personal profit, and no financial harm to the company, is there really any damage being done? With your reasoning we might as well cease and desist all fan art, fan fiction, fan films, fan trailer made trailers, conventions, forums, and news coverage because of the absence of authorization. If you don't support it than don't bother with it, ignore it and eventually it will fade into obscurity.
@NoUsernameHere @Mr_Video You want to support a fan project that you like, and I am sure the creators have worked hard on the project. That does not change the harsh reality that as the law currently stands they are breaking copyright by stealing someone else's IP, and most likely they will be shut down because of it.
All they had to do was avoid infringing, and who knows a kickstarter later we could have something else like Citizens of Earth (which was also inspired by Earthbound, but they went about it the right way). This team chose to knowingly infringe, and they had to know getting shut down is the most likely result.
It won't be as good as a real sequel would be
You had me so hyped when I saw "Mother 4". But really it was just click bait... Nintendo Life, you're better than that.
I don't understand how the original creator can say "Nothing more can be done with this series." That's like saying life doesn't go on after a person dies. So as long as there is a creative person or group who want to make a new story for this series, what's wrong with that?
@justlink Nothing, this game has the potential to make us feel just like we did playing Earthbound/Mother or any of the other games in the series. By looking through the site you can tell they are being very careful with it and care about what they are doing. I can't wait to play this when it comes out. Plus the original creator is apparently okay with this project and has no ill will toward it.
First of all, we don't even have Mother 3 in the US. This is not even considered Mother to me. This is just a fangirl project made by some fangirls that have nothing else to do with their lives. In my eyes, this is as low as it gets, the bottom of the feces barrel. Unofficial work at its finest.
If anyone wants to discuss the game a bit, I run the official Subreddit at /r/Mother4. It's kind of a shame to see all of these negative comments - they have been working on this game for over 5 years.
Would someone mind explaining what the hating is all about? You people should be grateful that something like this is being made for you and for free. So what if it's a fan game? Being a fan game doesn't automatically mean that the quality is bad or that Nintendo should shut it down because of they own the IP.
Being canon isn't the problem here. Dragon Ball GT isn't canon, but it's still awesome.
I'm curious why this just now got an article; I've been following this project since 2010. Nintendo's not shutting it down by the way. They could have done so for over four years. What makes people think they will now?
Also, to the people worried about the quality of this game - I understand why some might feel that way, but like it was stated above, this game has been in development for over 5 years and has changed quite a lot. The only thing people complain about is the name anyway though. You can also find some of the music they've released on YouTube which, in my opinion, has an incredible Mother vibe to it-- which is a good thing!
I consider myself a pretty big fan of Mother games, and I still to this day am confused why so many other Mother fans hate this game so much. Nintendo (Or Itoi) is not making a Mother 4. The best thing we can hope for from Nintendo as far as Mother goes is a VC release of Mother 3, and considering Lucas isn't even in the latest Smash Bros., that seems pretty unlikely.
Dayum!!! So getting this!!!
lol, I always laugh when people says stuff like "C&D", "OMG illegal", "Shut dis, f4n, prajewts sux"! (sure, its in a gray area, but considering nintendo, they wont do a thing)
This fangame has been in development for quite awhile, yet, it hasn't been shut down by ninty. They wont do a thing, just like they even let Project M mod exist.
Still, seeing all the hate comments always provide some fun to read :>
Good old Mother fans, how can you not respect them. Good on you...
Perhaps they should rename it to Mum 4 ! (or Mom 4 for US)
Okay, just a couple of questions:
1. Why is the site just now talking about this? It's been development for a couple of years now!
2. What is with the hate?
This is disappointing to see that it's only a fan project.
Eh, it's not official.
Woah what's with all the hate for this?
Fan project whether good or not, are not canon to the original series so if it ain't developed by the original dev and Nintendo then it won't be part of the series. Also the fact that they call it Mother 4 probably won't help them in the long run. Unless they work for Nintendo (and made it exclusively to Wii U and/or 3DS as Nintendo don't want their games release on any other platforms that aren't theirs), this game needs a name change.
I think we should all endorse chaos and anarchy! ^-^
stop right there, i already hate it.
@midnafanboy I don't hate the team or the project, I'm just disappointed as the team call it Mother 4, a copyright game. Because it's a copyright game, it's likely the project won't likely see the light of day unless they change the name.
Yeah, I agree with that. Just say something like: "a spiritual successor/homage to the Mother series!" That's actually an admirable and more meaningful approach. Saying it's THE Mother 4 is a somewhat pretentious way of saying they know better than the creators. And also a way to bait a C&D order from the original dev. Anyone remember Chrono Trigger Crimson Tides? SE does. It also remembers the C&D it sent...
@retro_player_22 True i hope they change the title of the game ,cause Nintendo will shut it down like nothing if they keep the name.
@RaccoonNinja28 The game's been in work for years. It's not a recent thing.
They would have shut it down by now.
Shigesato Itoi himself said he wouldn't mind seeing someone else make Mother 4, that's justified enough for me at least. They could hide behind that in case Nintendo chimed in.
The thing about the Mother fandom is that they're way more passionate about the series than most people think. All of the fanmade stuff I've seen from them is pretty high quality. I'm excited to see this coming out so soon
also, eagleland is another fangame in the works that is looking and sounding REAL good:
ogo79 always stays up on retro news.
Oooh, this looks great! I'm hoping I can play it before any legal entanglements occur, if any at all.
Can you people wait and TRY the game first before start hating? geez...
NOW that,s a very good question sir.
My stomach turned a flip when I read the first half of this headline. It quickly settled back down, though.
I don't know why you guys are saying this article is click bait.
I mean the title hints it isn't by nintendo, and the subtitle says by who. The subtitle can be read easily on the front page.
Sega let Streets of Rage Revival develop for a while before shutting it down. The theory is they waited for it to end up in a very playable state first, and only then C&D it to appease their stakeholders.
a mother 4? about damn time!!
wait, what happened to mother 2?
If this is of a high enough quality it's the kind of thing where if I were Nintendo I'd actually pay the developers a small amount just for actually making it in the first place and then secure it as an official first party title that I'd release on the eShop or whatever. If these back room devs are basically making sequels to some of your most beloved franchises, that really aren't being made otherwise, then why not actually embrace it and use it to your advantage where it makes sense. It's just like having another indie dev making an exclusive for your platform and it would likely cost peanuts to basically make it an official title. IF it's good enough.
So does that make all fanart theft? Does that make all fan fiction theft? Does that make all fan music, fan films, fan anything theft?
I'll be happy if that law gets passed later this year, fixing all the BS, weird blurred line Intellectual property crap that people like you buy into.
If they aren't profiting off of it, it is, and should be completely legal.
But as long as white knights like you exist, we'll continue to have people OWNING the birthday song and the phrase 'you're fired'. Thanks for promoting that kind of mindless loyalty.
@ogo79 Eagleland does look very good. Thanks!
I see games like these as fanfiction. No need to cease & desist. But of course Nintendo is very protective of it's franchises.
Itoi stated that he is never going to work on a Mother 4. He would rather have the fans make one.
@xj0462 Mother 2 is Earthbound
@HappyHappyist "cult leader"
stop right there, i already paint it.
no problem. thats one of the reasons im here. im one of the actual useful people that has become so rare on gaming sites these days. you can read all about eagleland here:
THANK GOODNESS I'M NOT ALONE.
Exactly my point. Not to mention Mother 4 is one of the best fan projects I've seen in quite a while.
Can't believe all the nay-sayers in here. It's fan made, you're not forced to play it and it's not official canon for the series.
It looks great! And that evil music, typical Mother! Might download it, but I fear Nintendo will shut it down.
mother 4 latest screenshot:
this just popped up on my feed despite there being no updates.
2014 was 150 years ago.
@russellohh Haha same
Why can't they just change the name of the game? With this, it's useless to complain when Nintendo takes it down.
Well R.I.P this project
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