Japanese author and humorist Shigesato Itoi swore that after he finished Mother 3, the decade-in-the-making sequel to Earthbound, he’d be done with Nintendo’s cultishly adored series. No more unusually touching tales about family, evil pigs, and aliens for Itoi. It was over. The iconic creator isn’t making Mother 4 anytime soon, but he is teasing that his series may finally get the re-release its fans have been clamoring for for years.
Itoi took to Twitter on Thursday to make a coy announcement. “Since it’s okay to blurt this out, here goes: The Mother republication thing I mentioned briefly before is making progress,” said Itoi, “It’s not Mother 4, though! This has to with making Mother playable. I can’t give out any details just yet, but I do at least need to say that it isn’t 4.”
The Mother series originally started on the NES and continued on the Super Nintendo with Mother 2, which was translated into English and released in the United States as Earthbound in 1995. Mother 3 was originally developed for the Nintendo 64 and later the Nintendo 64 expansion device, Nintendo DD, before getting cancelled and restarted as a Game Boy Advance game.
No video game fans have suffered as much as Earthbound fans. That group of freakish obsessives has been mistreated by Nintendo from the start. First, the original Mother was translated into English by Nintendo of America and then never given a full release. The prototype version was later found at a garage sale and dumped onto the Internet. Earthbound was loved by those that played, but sold poorly since Nintendo of America marketed it with a bizarre ad campaign based around fart jokes. Later on, Nintendo of America refused to localize Mother 3 on the grounds that it wouldn’t sell well, though it’s suspected that the game’s focus on a group of magical transgender gurus (seriously) frightened the overly conservative company into foregoing a US release.
Worse still, Nintendo has been unable to reissue even Earthbound in the US on the Wii/Wii U Virtual Console due to licensing problems with the game’s music. Mother 1 + 2 Collection was released for the Game Boy Advance in Japan, but that stands as the only re-releases for the series to day. There were rumors last decade that Mother Trilogy would be released for Nintendo DS, but it never came together.