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Tips for Buying EarthBound

August 30th, 2012 | Itoi

Today let’s take a look at my e-mails and pick a topic of discussion!

This one is from Nate and is about how Itoi probably views the MOTHER series/EarthBound:

Did you ever think that ‘the man’ Shigasato Itoi always thought as the Mother series as a trivial part of his career and like a picture-book story facet to his career that he never gave it too much thought as to it’s success outside Japan? Think about this: Mr. Itoi is a multi faceted celebrity in Japan. He produces everything from kids books, to video games, to day planners. It just seems like to me, EB’s commercial success just isn’t that big of a deal to him. With Itoi pulling the strings, NoJ isn’t in any position to rush him… Anyway, I just thought you [tomato] might have some insight into my theory.

This has always been my personal take on the situation – working on video games was just one tiny part of his career, like a side story almost. That’s why I’m always confused when I see fans cussing at him for not making a MOTHER 4.

Also, I very much think that although Itoi knows that the series is popular overseas, he doesn’t really grasp it. Even just the other day he remarked on Twitter how he was surprised by its overseas popularity. So it wouldn’t surprise me if nothing’s happened with the series (such as a Virtual Console release with the issues fixed) because he’s in no real rush to do anything with it.

That’s how I see it anyway – what do you think?


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20 Comments to Mailbag: Itoi and EarthBound

Mr. Saturn said on Aug. 30, 2012

Well we need to get him to grasp it if it’ll do anything about that situation.

more insanity eb fans said on Aug. 30, 2012

hopefully, when he has nothing in the works, he might make a new mother game. earthbound needs to be back. i wish earthbound would get a new game like kid icarus did, and kid icarus is older than earthbound i think. it could have 16-bit graphics for somethings [like kid icarus uprising with the 8-bit graphics some places. maybe a mother 1 remake, maybe a mother 3 remake, maybe anything.

RandomGuardian said on Aug. 30, 2012

Ehh why would people want an official Mother 4? Personally, I think the trilogy is just fine now.

2sang said on Aug. 30, 2012

I want a mother trilogy collection

tapi said on Aug. 30, 2012

I don’t think making him grasp the situation would really accomplish anything, but assuming it did, I doubt his heart would be in it. He made the games because he had a story he needed to get out. If he doesn’t have another story then there’s nothing for him to write.

Brian said on Aug. 30, 2012

Itoi cannot grasp the true nature of the Mother Fan’s attack.

Radiostorm said on Aug. 30, 2012

I’d rather not see another Mother game. Mother 3 seemed an apt capstone to the series, and I’m satisfied walking away from the franchise on a high note. I doubt Nintendo would even consider releasing Mother 4 overseas anyway, leading to another stretch of heartbreak and protest from the fan community here.

Ness said on Aug. 30, 2012

If you even fire another petition at Itoi to bring Mother outside Japan, I’ll be signing away on the first day.

Nate said on Aug. 30, 2012

Sadly, it seems the Azure Studio’s Mother 4 and the EB0 fan remake is the closest thing we’ll be getting for the foreseeable future :\

Kyle said on Aug. 30, 2012

Nate, what’s so wrong with that? Two very exciting things that I’m personally looking forward to!

Halloween said on Aug. 30, 2012

I think it’s more up to Nintendo. They own the license and can do whatever they want. I guess Itoi could influence them to do something with Mother but he’s certainly not holding them back.

Neko Knight said on Aug. 30, 2012

I still have not a clue why there hasn’t been a virtual console release of Earthbound, other than the rumors floating around about copywrite infringement or something. In any case, I don’t believe Mr. Itoi really has much say on what happens to the MOTHER games now, as technically they’re Nintendo property. Dang! IF the above mentioned rumors are true, I wish Nintendo would release the game anyways without any changes, and not be intimidated by possible threats of lawsuit either. They released the game once in America, why can’t they do it again?

Nate said on Aug. 30, 2012

Copyrights can change hands. In 95 they might have had permission, but 17 years later that same permission could be withdrawn by someone else. Also, if they did release EB again without said persons permission, they would be required by law to remove it from distribution… And pay a couple hundred thousand in fees. >_<

Neko Knight said on Aug. 30, 2012

Interesting to know. Thanks for the tip!

Radic said on Aug. 30, 2012

I guess since I keep seing comments saying “why can’t Nintendo just make the simple changes? It’s just one song!”

I’ll answer that.

First off id like to point out Im not a lawyer, and most of what I’m about to say, is coming off of what someone else said on Starmen.net.

The point of a virtual console release, is to give people the feel of the game back then into the feature, or to give the newer generation of kids the feel for the older game. Changing music is much bigger deal then you think. The Skyrunner song for one is very popular, and if it’s removed or changed, people will notice. I posted a thread a whole ago on Starmen about If people can stand new music for a VC relese. A lot people said no. Music is a big part of everything, it’s like oxygen to the game. You can’t have an original game If you have to change a couple songs.

Now, many of you may say “But Radic! Some people think it’s worth it! Just change the songs and get over it”

This is no easy task.

First of all, Nintendo of America noticed these problems, and wanted to make the changes, first they had to ask Itoi, he is the creator of the series, it is his. He said (if im correct) that he didn’t want the changes to be made. Nintendo can’t just by-pass his judgement, this can result in serious legal action, Itoi can see Nintendo for misusing the product. To top it all off, the game will most likely be removed from the VC for this too.

If by some merical, his mind changes, the problems don’t stop their? Who exactly is going to make these changes? When these changes are made, the guy who made the changes, wants his name in the credits, AND a pay. Since changes were made, and you are re-releasing a changed modify of Earthbound, the original creators need to be thanked too, more payments required.

Making simple changes, isn’t that easy guys, There is a reason that NOAH hasnt released the series yet, If their wasn’t, the game WOULD do well, and that would’ve released it a LONG time ago, so Nintendo, Itoi, or the game developers arnt the ones being villainous, it’s the law, and the copy right system.

I hope this clears up anyone’s confusion to why earthbound has not been released yet, and probably won’t in a while.

TLDR: Itoi doesn’t want the series to be changed, Nintendo needs his permission first.

LucasTizma said on Aug. 31, 2012

I’m pretty sure Nintendo can change whatever they want about their own IP. I think it’s more a matter of the amount of work they’d have to do to fix all these potential copyright issues. It’s just easier for them to not release it, since the Virtual Console is supposed to be an easy money grab with very little work on their part.

NecrosaroIII said on Aug. 31, 2012

I wonder. Who does own the rights to Mother? We assume that it’s a property of Nintendo, but is it really?

I think back to Dragon Quest. Square can’t really do anything without Yuji Horii’s permission since his company, Armor Project, owns the rights to the franchise, while Akira Toriyama owns the rights to the artwork and Koichi Sugiyama owns the rights to the music

Radic said on Aug. 31, 2012

Many people own MOTHER. Nintendo is one of them.

So it Itoi. Still, Nintendo needs his permission in order to make changes, Itoi has more copy rights then Nintendo, if anything were to be done with the series they need Itoi’s permission, possibly even the whole original staffs, but in not 100% sure.

Darien said on Sep. 1, 2012

Nintendo does claim exclusive ownership of most of its properties; hench the boilerplate “all rights including the rights of scenario, game, and programming, reserved by Nintendo” that appears in almost every Nintendo game’s credits. However, Earthbound appears to be an exception; it is “presented by Nintendo, in association with APE and Hal.” There is, in fact, this old Starmen.net forum post talking about the odd copyright holding on Earthbound: http://forum.starmen.net/forum/Games/Mother2/EarthBound-Copyright-info-registered-under-12-names

However (and IANAL, of course), I believe this post may be missing an important point. The document in question, while it does list quite a few names, also lists “Copyright Claimant” as “Nintendo of America.” This suggests that Nintendo’s copyright claim is in fact exclusive, and they can do more-or-less as they see fit with it. As we see here: “The copyright claimant is either the author of the work or a person or organization that has obtained ownership of all the rights of the copyright initially belonging to the author. This category includes a anybody that obtained or bought by contract the right to claim legal title to the copyright.” Ergo, Nintendo can do what it likes with Earthbound and not require anybody else’s permission.

That said, legal concerns are only half the battle. Nintendo has a reputation to protect as well, and has an interest in not souring its relationships with other studios. It’s quite possible that they would defer to Itoi out of courtesy rather than legal obligation, much as they sought approval from (and gave thanks to) Rare for the use of Donkey Kong — a character they inarguably own — in Super Smash Bros. Melee.

Miles said on Sep. 6, 2012



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