Mother 3 remains Western Nintendo fans’ great white whale. There are ways to play it, and even play it in English, but Nintendo has never officially made the cult favorite Game Boy Advance game available outside of Japan, despite years of pleas from fans.
A release of Mother 3 seems less and likely with each passing year. Nintendo’s announcement this week of the Super NES Classic Edition has reignited desire to bring the game to Western players, however, as another unreleased game gets a launch date. Star Fox 2, canceled in the mid-1990s, is included on the SNES Classic, a surprising move by the company.
Star Fox 2 was nearly finished before Nintendo scrapped it; Mother 3 is a complete game that had a retail release in Japan, with an English translation readily available thanks to fans. Star Fox 2 was held back from audiences worldwide, a victim of changing consumer attitudes in the wake of the PlayStation. As for Mother 3, sales of EarthBound back in the SNES days were poor enough to make the series seem unmarketable across the Pacific.
Yet the Mother series’ reputation has only grown in recent years, bolstered by its characters’ appearances in the Super Smash Bros. games. Both EarthBound and its previously Japan-exclusive predecessor, EarthBound Beginnings, are available on Virtual Console, giving the role-playing games much broader exposure.
Star Fox, by comparison, has suffered somewhat over the years. The series’ latest release, Star Fox Zero, was panned by critics. The Wii U game arrived last year after several years of anticipation, with fans hoping for a return to form for the faltering series.
Star Fox 2, by many accounts, should be the true quality Star Fox game that many fans have wanted. Nintendo’s decision to included it on Super NES Classic Edition was unexpected, but the company has more recently and more often shown a willingness to return to the action franchise.
Meanwhile, despite its fanbase, positive critical reception and stature, Mother 3 remains just out of reach. It’s no surprise that the Star Fox 2 release has brought fans back out of the woodwork and onto Twitter, vocalizing their renewed hopes that the GBA will make it overseas in some capacity.
“Scratches Star Fox 2 off Nintendo’s bucket list,” tweeted localization firm 8-4 co-founder John Ricciardi. “Next on list: Mother 3.”
“We ... we live in a world where Star Fox 2 is releasing before Mother 3,” YouTuber Balrog wrote on Twitter.
The goofs rolled in too, of course:
Nintendo of America: yeah we understand you want Mother 3 pic.twitter.com/bFPOqGg2Pa— • ͜ • (@EcoShaymin) June 27, 2017
My face when they released Star Fox 2 before Mother 3 pic.twitter.com/NSzDWwXoUR— TopHat Gaming (@TopHatGamingMan) June 26, 2017
We appreciate Star Fox 2 getting its time to shine, but we wouldn’t be opposed to a real way to buy Mother 3 in English. If anything, the Star Fox 2 launch gives us confidence ... but we remain cautiously optimistic at best.
Perhaps when Nintendo gets around to releasing the Game Boy Advance Classic Edition — after the inevitable Game Boy Classic Edition and Nintendo 64 Classic Edition, of course — in, say, the year 2020, we’ll get that copy of Mother 3 we’ve always wanted.