During today’s Direct presentation, Nintendo announced that its classic RPGs Mother (known in the West as EarthBound Beginnings) and EarthBound are coming to the Nintendo Switch’s retro libraries for NES and SNES, respectively.
Both games will be available later today for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.
The three Mother games, all penned and directed by acclaimed Japanese writer Shigesato Itoi since the first game debuted in 1989, have long been among the most idiosyncratic and beloved of console RPGs. All three, both at the time of their original release and throughout the three decades of their existence, have garnered immense praise for their modern setting, unique gameplay mechanics, and touching story beats.
Although for several years 1994’s EarthBound was the only game in the franchise that English-speaking players could enjoy, the leaking of an unreleased U.S. Mother localization (previously known online as EarthBound Zero) and an unofficial Mother 3 translation kept fans satiated in lieu of official releases. In 2015, Nintendo finally got around to releasing the original Mother through the Wii U Virtual Console as EarthBound Beginnings and calls for Mother 3 to enjoy the same treatment only got louder. Sadly, those demands remain unanswered, elevating Mother 3 to an almost mythical status among Nintendo die-hards.
Love for the Mother series is so intense, in fact, that fans have done the unthinkable in trying to step into Itoi’s shoes and make their own fourth installment. The first unofficial Mother 4 was announced in 2010 before its devs dropped the game’s connection to the Mother series and changed its name to Oddity in 2020. And just a few months ago, a new team stepped up to the plate with their own take on a Mother 4, though it remains to be seen if the ever-watchful eye of Nintendo will put the kibosh on that project as well.
The ongoing dearth of Mother 3 news aside, it’s neat to see Mother and EarthBound ported to a modern console. If you haven’t already checked them out, now is the perfect time to do so. But be warned: Playing them will only make contending with Nintendo’s refusal to officially localize Mother 3 that much harder.