Meanwhile, in a parallel universe where Nintendo gives Mother its due, a modern Mother 3 gets the Link’s Awakening remake treatment.
There are few games – if any, truth be told – that carry with them quite the level of mystique as Mother 3. Yes, there are plenty of games that didn’t get western releases or official translations. yes, there are plenty of games that built an enormous following in spite of barely seeing the light of day.
But Mother 3, the sequel to Mother and Mother 2 – also known as EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound outside of Japan – has to be at the top of that list.
Developed by Brownie Brown and HAL Laboratory for the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo published Mother 3 in 2006… in Japan only. And in spite of protestations from the series’ legions of fans outside of Japan, no official translation or release was planned. To date, in 2022, that remains the case.
We have no idea why Mother 3 was never translated or released globally. There’s been a lot of speculation – mostly focusing on the game’s “controversial” themes, including a focus on bereavement and elements of drug use – but that’s all just my-uncle-who-works-at-Nintendo stuff. Until Nintendo itself tells us why, we’ll never know for sure.
Though perhaps someone needs to explain the Streisand Effect to Nintendo because that attitude only drove people towards the game and grew its mythical status. Inevitably, a fan translation of Mother 3 – driven by the fansite Starmen.net – hit the internet two years later.
A decade and a half on, we’re still waiting for an official translation and release of Mother 3. (The addition of Mother and Mother 2 to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, announced during last week’s Nintendo Direct, has given fans a little hope. It’s probably misplaced, given the game’s history, but hope springs eternal.)
Meanwhile, a group of fans (from YouTube channel Curiomatic) has imagined what a modern Mother 3 remake would look like if it got the same sort of loving treatment as 2019’s brilliant remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, complete with extensive 3D overhaul and beautiful plasticine dioramas.
Predictably, it’s brilliant, because the fans always do Mother better than Nintendo itself. It’s a joyous love letter to the game that always felt that little bit out of reach, peering through the window into a parallel universe where Mother gets its due.
But it’s also deeply sad, to see something that feels so real, knowing that it will never actually happen.
“We can forget happy things. We can probably forget sad things too. People have the power to forget.”