Undertale creator Toby Fox has made no secret of the fact that he was heavily inspired by EarthBound when crafting his legendary post-modern take on the humble RPG, and he's one of many people who has spoken to Lost in Cult for the next issue of its boutique video game publication, Lock-On.
Lock-On is gearing up for its fourth issue, which you can pre-order now. In this new issue, there will be a piece focused on the incredible impact of EarthBound and the Mother series in general, with contributions from Fox, musician Austin Jorgensen (Lisa: The Painful), Kody NOKOLO (founder of the fan site Mother Forever), Ryan Vandendyck (Citizens of Earth), and Daniel Airey (Reverie). In fact, issue 4 is shaping up to be the biggest issue yet, with almost 50 articles by 45 authors and art from more than 30 artists and developers.
In the EarthBound piece – entitled 'ReBound' – Fox (who recently revealed that he offered to help make Mother 4) talks about how the fan base was instrumental in ensuring that EarthBound (which, lest we forget, was a commercial bomb upon its North American release) remained in the public eye:
[Mother gained relevance thanks to] the fan community staying active and aggressive for over fifteen years. From the time Smash Bros. 64 came around to the Brawl era, the Mother community was constantly doing campaigns and activities to try to keep the love of the game alive. So the people who were interested in Ness could search online and instantly not only find answers, but people espousing that the game he was from was great, and not just some Charlie Brown freak show that looks like crap compared to Mortal Kombat. That's how people thought in 1995.
Indeed, Fox feels that EarthBound's fans made sure that the game was "receiving probably of hundred times more attention and praise than it received on release," and a lot of that was thanks to fans like Kody NOKOLO digging into the game's history, development and lore. Kody frequented the Mother fansite Starmen.net alongside Fox, eventually founding Mother Forever with the aim of expanding the fan community's knowledge of the unreleased Mother 64:
I actually ordered things through the interlibrary loan of Japan, their library has documented video game magazines all the way back to 1970. I don’t know if a lot of people know that. But I figured that out while I was in college, trying to find places to send me research about game design through interlibrary loans. And I was like, ‘oh, Japan has all of that.’ Japan has all these magazines documented. So I was able to get all that old EarthBound 64 information scanned and sent over here. And then I scanned it into a computer and posted it on the website. So that’s how it all began.
You can read the full feature in the next issue of Lock-On – so if you're interested, make sure you order your copy as soon as possible.
If you're looking for more Mother / EarthBound love, then check out our own video tribute to the game, featuring Toby Fox: