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'Mother 4' fan sequel renamed as Nintendo's legal threats hit close to home

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Given that Nintendo fiercely protects its intellectual property, a name change might not be enough to keep legal threats at bay for these fan creators.

A creative group of EarthBound fans has renamed its unofficial sequel game in light of recent legal threats aimed at similar fan projects like No Mario’s Sky, Pokémon Uranium, and AM2R: Another Metroid 2 Remake.

While a new title for the group’s project has not yet been revealed, the game will not be released under the name Mother 4 and will be edited to remove overt references to Nintendo’s long-running RPG franchise.

More: ‘Metroid’ gets unofficial prequel with fan-made ‘Metroid: Rogue Dawn’

Announced in 2010, Mother 4 is a fan-made sequel to Mother 3, a Japan-only Game Boy Advance game developed by Nintendo and released in 2006. Mother 3 itself serves as a sequel to EarthBound, an unconventional Super NES role-playing game that emerged as a cult favorite in the decades after its release.

Though it was never released outside of Japan, Mother 3 was unofficially translated into English by a group of dedicated fans, who later released a translation patch to the public free of charge. The game’s translation later inspired fan creators to produce an independently developed sequel without the involvement of Nintendo or series creator Shigesato Itoi.

Built from the ground up using original sprites, backgrounds, and characters, Mother 4 features an art style and aesthetic that recalls past entries in the series and Mother 3, in particular. Despite that the majority of the project consists of original fan designs and writing, Mother 4‘s creators decided to sever all ties to Nintendo’s series following recent legal challenges to fan creators.

More: Fans develop first-ever game for prototype ‘Nintendo PlayStation’

“This change is one part preventative measure, following several large fan project takedowns, and two parts acknowledging what we’ve actually been making — and what we’ve been making is a celebration of the games that meant a lot to us growing up, something familiar but also different,” developer Pastellian explained via Reddit this week. “The game has grown up with us. We want to share that.”

Pastellian continued: “This is still the story of Travis and his friends fighting the mysterious Modern Men. Leo still lights his smokes with paranormal fire. However, if something is associated with the official Mother games, it won’t be in this one. Mr. Saturn? Bon voyage, amigo. The title will also be changing.”

The project formerly known as Mother 4 will launch as a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms upon completion. A release date is not yet known.