Reggie Fils-Aimé, former head of Nintendo of America, has come up with an explanation that might seem logical when looking at the original 2006 non-appearance of Mother 3.
Fils-Aimé is now running a media tour for his new book. The iconic ex-Nintendo executive has popped up on Bloomberg. Mother 3, which is the Game Boy Advance instalment (originally for Nintendo 64…) of a series called Earthbound in the West, was released in Japan in 2006. By then, the big N was already focusing on the hugely successful DS, so spending money on an older platform wouldn’t have made much business sense.
Nintendo was reportedly going to try to get Mother 3 out to other platforms due to fan demand, but there is still no official translation of the game (it already has a fan-made translation). Jason Schreier, writing for Bloomberg, asked Fils-Aime if there was a risky issue that an official localization hadn’t been done. He replied, “That is not at all the issue why Mother 3 in particular never made it to the West. It was all based on the business needs and the business situation at the time.”
In 2015, Nintendo released Earthbound Beginnings on the Wii U Virtual Console, which would have been the first Western release of Mother. The localization was done, and it was planned to be released on the NES as Earth Bound, but that didn’t happen, so the second in the series for the SNES was the only Western release (and it was called Earthbound). Although Shigesato Itoi’s game was a failure in terms of sales, it became a cult classic. It’s no coincidence that Ness, the main character in Mother 2/Earthbound, made it into Super Smash Bros.
If Nintendo is chomping at the bit, they’ll take all three games and release them all in one collection on Switch. That would make the company a considerable amount of money, as an NES, SNES and GBA game will run effortlessly on the Switch. It wouldn’t even need optimization. Just the Mother 3 localization would be the question mark in the equation.