Video games can inspire some pretty fervent passions in their fan bases, and few are as passionate as that of the Mother games. Set in modern times, this RPG series follows the exploits of Ness and his friends and is known as EarthBound in the west, but we only ever got the second game on its intended console. The original Mother eventually saw release as EarthBound Beginnings on Wii U Virtual Console and we've yet to see the Japan-only GBA title Mother 3 head to the west in any official capacity, much to the chagrin of fans.
Recent tweets from Monolift Soft game developer and artist Yasuyuki Honne, formerly of Xenogears and Chrono Trigger fame at Square, revealed that he personally pitched a GameCube sequel to series director Shigesato Itoi back in 2003, well before the troubled Mother 3 (which started out as an N64 game) launched for GBA in 2006.
His tweets, as translated by Kotaku, detail the meeting between Honne and Itoi, as facilitated by the late Satoru Iwata, ex-President of Nintendo. The artist, then working as director on the GameCube game Baten Kaitos, had mocked up two concept shots of a potential EarthBound sequel with a home craft, felt-like style that isn't a million miles away from the material aesthetic later employed in Kirby's Epic Yarn and the most recent Yoshi platformers, Yoshi's Woolly World and Yoshi's Crafted World. Check out the two pictures from the original tweets below:
It seems that Itoi wasn't exactly aware he was about to get pitched a sequel, with Iwata having arranged the meeting and kept him in the dark:
Itoi-san: ‘Iwata-kun, you arranged this, didn’t you?’ Everyone went dead silent. Iwata-san made an ‘uh-oh’ face. Eventually the conversation was able to proceed. Itoi-san even seemed interested in the images of 1980s America I was able to evoke in the felt-like art I’d made. I never would have thought these pictures would appear in public. My 2003 summer memories.
The concept mock-ups sure evoke the likeable, easy-going familiarity we associate with the series. Of course, we're still waiting to play Mother 3 in the west - its imminent announcement is a constant rumour fuelled more by desperation and desire than any concrete facts. In its continued absence, it's fascinating to see the ideas swirling around Nintendo during the period of its creation, and also fun to see Satoru Iwata's mischievous side recalled by those who knew him.
Do you think now's the time for a new entry in the EarthBound series? Would you simply be happy with Mother 3 on Switch? Let us know below.