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Announcement triggers hopes of new Earthbound remake

earthbound

Earthbound, originally known as MOTHER 2 in Japan, may be getting a remake on the Nintendo Switch in 2024.

Earthbound is one of the most beloved cult classic JRPGs released on a Nintendo platform. Although it was initially received poorly in the United States, Earthbound’s brilliance was eventually recognized by fans around the globe. It was always popular in Japan, warranting a third game titled MOTHER 3.

The game’s initial failure abroad was blamed by some on Earthbound’s controversial marketing campaign. Nintendo’s “Play It Loud” marketing push involved Earthbound having scratch-and-sniff advertisements which presented gamers of the day with a foul odor, and the tagline “this game stinks”. Paired with Earthbound being rather esoteric for its time, this did not lead to strong sales for Earthbound in North America.

Is Earthbound getting a remake?

While Earthbound hasn’t yet received a remake, recent news may indicate a remake announcement is coming in 2024.  

2024 marks Earthbound’s 30th anniversary, and this milestone came with an announcement from the game’s official social media accounts. Greeting its fans with a happy new year message, the account then went on to tease “various plans” for 2024, alongside an image of Earthbound’s protagonists. Although many fans are excited about these new projects, a few are already tempering their expectations.

Some are speculating this could lead to a live concert announcement, which is popular for many popular games with memorable music, including Elden Ring. Others speculate that it wouldn’t be Earthbound getting a remake at all, but rather the very first game in the franchise, MOTHER. Many fans are happy with the original SNES version of Earthbound, and would rather the original game receive the remake, given how poorly it has aged since.

Will there be a Mother 4?

It’s unlikely for there to be a MOTHER 4, because MOTHER 3 was meant as the conclusion to the original trilogy of games.  MOTHER 3 was infamous for taking 12 years to develop, and was even canceled in 2000 before its development was restarted in 2003. MOTHER 3 was also exclusively released in Japan, and the only English versions that exist are unofficial fan translations that can be found online. Former Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé once stated that an English port of MOTHER 3 never materialized for business reasons, indicating Nintendo didn’t see it as commercially viable outside of Japan.

earthbound remake

Nintendo hasn’t formally commented on the status of MOTHER 3 since. It’s likely that after a tumultuous development cycle and Earthbound’s initial failure in North America, Nintendo simply felt it was too risky to release MOTHER 3 abroad.

MOTHER character Lucas has since appeared in Smash Bros. and Super Mario Maker, but those are the only official English appearances the character has received. Given Nintendo’s continued hesitance to bring MOTHER 3 outside of Japan, it seems unlikely that it would heavily invest into a new game like MOTHER 4.

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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