When it came out in 1994, Earthbound was a massive loss for Nintendo of America, and it seems that it’s haunted them to this day in more ways than one. Right off the bat Earthbound was a major financial loss during its initial release—its poor sales are commonly attributed to its poor advertising, RPGs not being popularized in the West yet, and most of all, you could only buy the game in a special edition that came with the guide that cost $70. Needless to say, there weren’t that many people at the time who wanted to pay $70 for a game that they hardly knew anything about, so sales were atrocious, therefore Nintendo didn’t produce many carts of it, nor did they bother to release its sequel game Mother 3 that came out 12 years later.
You’d be hardpressed to find a fanbase so devoted despite how Nintendo of America has neglected them than American Mother fans. Earthbound became a cult classic a few years after its initial release—just long enough for carts to be nearly impossible to find since Nintendo of America stopped distributing them so quickly. When Mother 3 finally came out in Japan 12 years later, for the first time in a long time for many Earthbound fans, hope had finally seem to come back! And so they waited for the announcement that Nintendo of America would translate Mother 3, but that announcement would never come. The closest thing they would receive was Lucas being in Super Smash Bro’s Brawl on the Wii, but his being there was not a decision made by Nintendo of America.
When time passed and there was still no announcement, fans started to get angry. More importantly, fans started to get vocal. Threads about wondering where Mother 3 was became all too common in not just Earthbound and Nintendo forums, but video game forums as a whole. Notably, in an interview with Reggie Fils-Aime (Nintendo of America President) in 2007 he said, “…For example, I’m still being bombarded by Mother fans who are asking for [Mother 3] to be translated to English and launched here in the U.S.” Nintendo was clearly hearing the Mother fans, but they didn’t care to listen because of the horrible financial loss that was Earthbound—even though it had aged terrifically and is widely considered to be one of the best games on the SNES.
The next time America would hear about Mother 3 wouldn’t be until 2015 when Lucas was going to be added to Super Smash Bro’s 4 on the Wii U and 3DS—though again, his addition to Smash wasn’t a decision made by Nintendo of America. His release, however, got a lot of people wondering: Mother 3 turns 10 years old next year, and there’s a new group of Smash players being introduced to the Mother franchise through not only Lucas and Ness being in Smash, but the addition of Earthbound on the Wii U virtual console, and more importantly, the release of Mother 1 (retitled Earthbound Beginnings) which had previously been translated but never officially released in America because of poor timing (Which is why they decided to release Earthbound despite the myriad of production and translation snags that were had with it.) Nintendo of America seemed to finally be acknowledging the Mother franchise again—was there actually hope for Mother 3 all these years later?
On February 3, 2016 their prayers were finally answered when Emily Rogers—an employee for Nintendo who has been known to leak out information that thus far has been true (usually about when NX/Zelda U news would be annoucned) tweeted, “Don’t be surprised if Nintendo celebrates a game’s 10th anniversary this year… just some food for thought.” followed by a tweet with a picture of Kumatora—one of the main characters of Mother 3. The Internet went into a frenzy wondering if Mother 3 had actually been confirmed after all these years.
There’s no reason to discredit or doubt what she says, as her track record of leaks has been pretty solid. On the other hand, however, she’s never leaked anything even close to as major as the potential release of Mother 3. Personally, I only see that as more reason to believe her, though—if she’s used to only leaking small, generally unimportant details about what Nintendo of America is doing, then why would she dive into something she knows would set off a frenzy? She knows that all eyes will be on her now, and if she’s wrong about this, she’ll be one of the first people a mob of enraged Mother 3 fans who had shown a glimmer of hope would be hunting down. An English release of Mother 3 has become such an unbelievable concept that the idea that a Nintendo employee would leak something like that has to be believable—if she wanted to leak something huge just to mess with everyone it would make more sense for her to go after something bigger and more relevant like Zelda U—a game that she had previously been leaking small tidbits of information for, and would therefore be far more believable.
Shortly after these tweets were set free, another Nintendo employee, Liam Robertson, tweeted “I was asked to keep quiet, and then Emily decided to let the cat out of the bag herself. Hopefully this clears some confusion.” “What I heard about Mother 3 (rumour) was that it was in the final stages of localisation in Nintendo of Europe a little while back.” “Emily sure likes to play around lol. My tweet wasn’t nearly this explicit and I got told off for it.” Tom Phillips of Eurogamer would later go on to corroborate them as well. She also recently tweeted that Mother 3’s announcement would likely be done at E3 in June—which would be a wise move on Nintendo’s part not only because their last E3 was considered to be a failure, but because this is also the first E3 for the new President of Nintendo, Tatsumi Kimishima. E3 is essentially the Olympics of video game distributors—if he were to have as lackluster of an E3 as Nintendo did last year, it would haunt his career (and PR) forever. If there were ever a time for him to bring out the absolute best of the best, it’s this E3. Nintendo has already announced that E3 will be mostly focused on Zelda U, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be entirely on that. Last year, for instance, although Star Fox Zero was the focus, it wasn’t the only thing we saw. Granted it was still almost entirely what we saw, my point still stands that there were a few other miscellaneous announcements. Zelda U could be the star of this E3, and the release of Mother 3 in English would make for a wonderful ending announcement to send Nintendo off on a good note.
I’m confident that Mother 3 will get announced sometime this year—more than likely at E3, but still sometime this year at the very least. If there were ever an E3 for Nintendo to do well at, it’s this one. More than that, Nintendo of America has been better about acknowledging the Mother franchsie by adding 1 and 2 to the Wii U Virtual Console and putting Earthbound on the New 3DS virtual console. They’re actively creating more Mother fans, and when they’re combined with the millions of insane Mother 3 fans who were already here, it would sell tremendously. Knowing that there’d be these same millions of Mother 3 fans demanding your head on a pike to be paraded through the streets if you were wrong, I don’t think anyone would leak anything about Mother 3 getting a translation this year just for fun—let alone it getting corroborated by two other reliable sources. It’s Mother 3’s 10th birthday this year, and Nintendo has always really liked celebrating major birthdays for their games— Super Mario Bro’s turning 30 last year for example, and even the 20th birthday of Earthbound by putting Earthbound Beginnings on the virtual console.
All the signs are pointing to it.
C’mon Reggie, give us Mother 3.