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Tips for Buying EarthBound

March 27th, 2013 | EarthBound

So it’s been over a week since MOTHER 2 was released on the Wii U Virtual Console. And although we haven’t gone through all of the game yet, it’s looking like no changes were made to the game at all.

One of the big questions during the stream was, “What does this mean?” Does this spell good news or bad news for a release outside of Japan? Itoi is very aware of the international demand now, as are Iwata, Reggie, and plenty of other people, in contrast to say, 10 years ago, when MOTHER 1+2 was overlooked for a release outside of Japan. Is it more possible than before that a release could happen? Or is that just me being overly optimistic again?

I’m curious to hear what others feel about the prospects for an EarthBound Wii U Virtual Console release now. Share your thoughts in the comments!


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51 Comments to Looking Back at the Wii U MOTHER 2

nintendofreak said on Mar. 27, 2013

if nothing was changed in MOTHER 2 i think it could get a re-release in america, it sort of bodes well. I always though of Reggie looking at the mother series as kind of an annoyance though (because everyone for the past 10 years or so have been asking him about it).

JB2448 said on Mar. 27, 2013

I’d say it’s only a matter of waiting for the “proper” Wii U Virtual Console launch that’ll coincide with the April system software update (which reduces the load times from around 25 seconds to around 8, which is awesome). I believe that Nintendo views the western fanbase for this game as bigger (or, at least, more devout) than the Japanese fan base, going by some of the one-off comments we’ve seen from Iwata (and not much more, so take that as you will). Because of this, I’d think they want to charge the full $8 price tag for its release to English-speaking territories.

Whatever happens, we’ll just have to wait and see. Fingers crossed, though! 🙂

earthbounder said on Mar. 27, 2013

I think that its a no. We wont ever see a re-release

wooperz said on Mar. 27, 2013

I’m hopeful, but not optimistic. It’s got to be painfully obvious to Nintendo that the demand is there, and I get the feeling that they’re more annoyed than pleased at fans’ persistence. All that aside, I’m regularly confused by some of the decisions Nintendo makes, so it’s really hard to predict when or if a global release will ever happen.

Starm'n said on Mar. 27, 2013

It’s obvious that they are aware of Earthbound’s international popularity, there’s no question about that. I believe the real question for them would be whether or not there is much profit to be made in releasing it here. After all, VC ports are only profitable because their production costs are so miniscule. If they have to edit the game for copyright issues in hopes of selling almost as much as in Japan, it’s unlikely they’ll go for it.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they did something that wasn’t a re-release though. No idea what it would be.

resetsurvivor said on Mar. 27, 2013

I’m with JB2448 on this one. It’ll come but it’ll be full price. They know they can get top dollar for it. It might even sell a system or two.

Bionicfemme said on Mar. 27, 2013

I still don’t understand why it’s okay to re-release the game with the same music in Japan, but not in America? Do the record label’s copyright laws not apply to other countries? I imagine they would, right?

Nintendork said on Mar. 27, 2013

I’ve posted long analyzations of a rerelease, but for now ill just say it’ll happen… Eventually.

nintendofreak said on Mar. 27, 2013

its like mother 1+2 all over again, its about damn time, and now we are waiting for the american release…………………..and that worked well

if it happens, great if it doesn’t oh well, ill shell out the same amount for a wii u, for a complete set

PiePusher11 said on Mar. 27, 2013

Honestly, even from the first time I heard that it was going to be rereleased in Japan, I still didn’t have high hopes for it coming here. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see it rereleased here, but I’m not expecting it to happen.

Pep said on Mar. 27, 2013

I have moments when I’m more optimistic than others but wooperz said it well for me. Hopeful, but not optimistic. To be fair I will probably always be hopeful and I know many who are quite optimistic about the situation, but they frequently have to remind me that there’s still a small chance.

Mason said on Mar. 27, 2013

To me, the final nail in the coffin was Earthbound’s deliberate removal from Brawl. The localization team actually spent resources, valuable time and money, cutting the brief demo from the game. My hopes for an international re-release were finally/completely dashed.

But, as wooperz points out, Nintendo’s decisions so often work in contrast to logical thinking that maybe it could happen if the circumstances were unlikely enough. 😀

CaptainCab said on Mar. 27, 2013

Not optimistic right now. It’s good that Itoi wants the game to be released abroad (which in turn surely means Iwata is aware) but if nothing was changed then Reggie and NOA are probably going to use thd lawyers’ worries as an excuse not release the game again. As I’ve said several times before, in my opinion it’s going to take Iwata stepping up for us and literally ordering Reggie and NOA to release the game, period. And as I’ve also said before, since Reggie keeps saying “Talk to Mr. Iwata” (as he has said to Stepefn of Kotaku who asked Iwata about Mother 3 back in August), then if there’s a campaign then I think it needs to bd directed squarely at NCL this time to avoid wasted time and resources only to get Reggie and NOA to ignore us or keep passing the buck. Also, Nintendo has apprx 17 billion dollars in the bank, so if the music issues really are a real threat in the U.S., they should just pay the licensing fees and get it over with if they refuse to alter the rom. Not exactly the same situation, but I’m a huge Mystery Science Theater fan. Whenever Shout Factory releases an MST3K episode that’s never been on DVD before, they have to pay licensing fees to the movie’s rights holder/s which expire. If a relative small cult DVD distribution house can do something like this (when it’s necessary), then there’s no reason Nintendo can’t (again if this is what they have to end up doing to get it safely outside of Japan. Bottom line, we need to put the pressure on Iwata this time, NOT Reggie.

skyrunner14 said on Mar. 27, 2013

I think if we’re ever going to get it, it’ll be now. It’s like Mato said, Itoi and Nintendo are more aware than ever of the overseas fanbase. What better time to release a game than when many people want it? I also agree with JB, it makes sense we’d get it when that Wii U update comes. I mean, Mother 2 was popular in Japan, hence their special release of it. Here? It’s a cult classic, sure, but not quite the level of infamy is has over there. I remain cautiously hopeful, but I think it’s not really “ARE WE going to get it”, but more like “WHEN ARE WE going to get it”.

CaptainCab said on Mar. 27, 2013

That was Stephen Totillo of Kotaku, sorry for any grammar errors in that post, in a rush and posting from my phone,

MKUltra said on Mar. 27, 2013

If it does come out I’m still worried it won’t reach Europe, even if it does they’ll charge more for it like SMRPG, FFVI and Chrono Trigger on the Wii. VC is already going to be more expensive here for some reason…

JamesBond007 said on Mar. 27, 2013

Rumored legal issues is not the reason.

Today, EarthBound franchise only “lives” outside Japan due to existence of Super Smash Bros. games, because Ness and Lucas are included as playable characters. After first Smash was released in 1999 (and two years later, more popular Melee), most people used the following method – check the character’s origin and play his/her original game, even on emulator (because EarthBound was not released in Europe). Without Smash (or with Smash, but without Ness/Lucas), EarthBound could be considered as a dead franchise today outside Japan.

Even this popularity of EarthBound franchise in America does not convince NoA to re-release the game, because initial sales of the original SNES version was not satisfying for NoA.

64RR said on Mar. 27, 2013

Hopes are certainly much higher than they were with the Wii VC release and of course Nintendo would be making a bad marketing decision not releasing it at full price. I think chances have increased a lot in the past months.

64RR said on Mar. 27, 2013

Also people say that EarthBound bad sales will have an impact and to this I say no. Remember a lot has changed in Nintendo regarding leadership and even if Reggie doesn’t like the game, looking in a financial direction now will change his views. Also is the major revival of franchises in the past years with DK, KID ICARUS, SIN & PUNISHMENT, even LUIGIS MANSION. The Mother series has never had so many potential factors that contribute to its revival.

64RR said on Mar. 27, 2013

@Mason. It was actually less time consuming to take EB out of Brawl. Remember they would need to put the english version in. EB not in brawl doesn’t mean anything. There was no pokemon or fire emblem in Brawl, doesn’t mean the series didn’t get another release.

Someone said on Mar. 27, 2013

I don’t knowww… I don’t want to get my hopes up anymore. If it does, awesome. If it doesn’t, not surprised.

Prayer For Safety said on Mar. 27, 2013

I’m hopeful that maybe some kind of rerelease or compilation will be announced at E3 this summer.

Like everyone is saying Nintendo and Itoi seem more aware of us than ever, and the changes might not be an issue anymore.

Who knows whats going to happen. Only time will tell.

OSK said on Mar. 27, 2013

I honestly think that, if its going to happen, its gonna happen this year. I personally think that nintendo is going to wait for the unveiling of the true Virtual Concile on the Wii U before they re-release it, and sell it at full price (which, I don’t care, as long as its available). Either that, or they will make note of it at E3. If they don’t mention it at E3/a nintendo direct, or they don’t have it on sale in the Virtual Concile by the end of this year, its not coming.

64RR said on Mar. 27, 2013

@ OSK. Agree completely. I’m done with the hopes thing already cause its happened so much but like you said if its not in by the end of the year, its not coming.

Max_H said on Mar. 27, 2013

I’ll say this: the fact that Itoi and Nintendo of Japan decided to republish the one game in the series that was localized in the U.S. is encouraging. That’s the best hope EarthBound has ever had for a virtual console release. Still, would Nintendo of America really convene a new localization team to address the IP law issues? I suppose that’s what would need to happen, unless they decide to bite the bullet and release the game in its original form. But that would mean that Mato and Reid’s source didn’t know what he was talking about, and I doubt those concerns about Dali’s clock, etc, materialized out of thin air. So yeah, my guess is that, no, it will not be brought back to the states.

person said on Mar. 27, 2013


Darien said on Mar. 27, 2013

The amount of investment that would be required to fix the legal issues — whether by redesigning significant chunks of content or by paying tons of licensees — would be rather unlikely to be recouped. So I have to come down on the “no” side here.

nintendofreak said on Mar. 27, 2013

@captain cab
hrmmmmmmmmmmm NCL seige?

I think that could actually work.

seriously, that is a good idea, sending word right up to the top to Iwata.

Stuffgamer1 said on Mar. 27, 2013

Honestly, I don’t know. I WANT to see the game come out when the full Wii U VC hits…and I’d LIKE to believe they’re going to…but NoA has such a horrible track record with VC releases in general and this game in particular that I’m not overly optimistic. All I can say is that I would DEFINITELY buy it ASAP if it released.

KyoZaber said on Mar. 27, 2013

I’m hopeful, however I’m not putting any money down on a bet about it.

I got the Wii originally thinking that I’d be able to own EarthBound on the VC, and was very disappointed in it not coming to pass.

Now if it were to come out on the Wii U outside of Japan… *Sigh* I’d probably start budgeting to get a unit. … But I wouldn’t spend a dime until it was confirmed do be on the store and ready to be purchased.

CaptainCab said on Mar. 27, 2013


According to Daan Koopman on Twitter (@NintenDaan), the upcoming April Wii U update (the one which will speed up load times between the home menu) will also officially add Virtual Console to the eShop. So I say, if we don’t start getting answers within a month or so after that, then yeah, U.S. fans should definitely siege NCL. Politely of course, but no more wasted time and energy on Reggie and NOA. Like I said, if he himself has said Mother fans need to speak with Mr. Iwata, then we should take it to the boss. If NCL is really in charge, then they can prove it.

nintendofreak said on Mar. 27, 2013

what, maybe flood him with letters asking him to said the word?

misterdigi35 said on Mar. 27, 2013

It shouldn’t be a question of will it come out or won’t it. The question is, how are we going to make this happen?

And the answer is politley, but persitently ask NCL, and Iwata for a release here in the U.S.

We are in a VERY GOOD situation here. Iwata was a lead programmer on the game, and he LIKES the game very much.

Let’s use that to our advantage. No?

Mato said on Mar. 27, 2013

A while back I suggested this: http://earthboundcentral.com/2010/02/postcards-for-earthbound/

I still think besides posting good stuff on Miiverse it might be the best way of getting across the point on an personable, relatable level.

yani said on Mar. 27, 2013

I think it’s fairly likely that we’ll get it. It would make a lot of sense to put it up when the VC finally launches to build some hype which Nintendo really needs at this point. If I’m not mistaken, the U.S version of F-Zero was put up on the EU VC, so chances are if the U.S gets Earthbound, EU will get the same exact game.

Halloween said on Mar. 27, 2013

The ball is squarely in Nintendo’s court. Every day they’re more aware of how well Earthbound would go over outside of Japan but they choose not to release it. The rerelease on the Wii U is an excellent catalyst for an international release, but once again there has been no announcement. I’m sure NoA plans to ignore Earthbound.

nintendofreak said on Mar. 27, 2013

well one thing is for sure, if it doesn’t get released for wii u

it ain’t coming at all, either that or 3 decades

Prayer For Safety said on Mar. 27, 2013

I think a write in/postcard campign would be a good idea, directed at Iwata and NCL ofcourse. A campign/siege now would probably do better since theres tons more fans now, and we know who to direct it towards.

Prayer For Safety said on Mar. 27, 2013

Is there anywhere to get Iwatas mailing address? I’d love to mail him a postcard with Paula praying for a rerelease outside of Japan on it.

CaptainCab said on Mar. 27, 2013

Yeah, I really like that postcard idea of Mato’s. Miiverse is cool, but think of Iwata’s office being politely inundated with personally handwritten and doodled postcards from American and EU fans. 🙂

OSK said on Mar. 27, 2013

a call in/write in campaign to NLC might work, and when they ask why we are asking them, we can say “Reggie told us to ask you”

CaptainCab said on Mar. 28, 2013

Yup, let’s do it. A “Polite Yet Persistent Postcard Siege” directed at Iwata/NCL!

Ralphie said on Mar. 28, 2013

I wouldn’t suggest calling NCL unless you know intermediate Japanese or have someone who knows the language write out a script for you. In any case, here’s NCL’s number: (075) 662-9600
And it’s a little tricky calling Japanese numbers, so here’s a how-to: http://www.howtocallabroad.com/japan/

PLEASE don’t be spammy! The more we are perceived as a likeable, passionate bunch of people, the better the outcome! Hope this helps!

Opinionated Vector Chimera said on Mar. 28, 2013

Here’s the best part! When the Virtual Console release of EarthBound does come out, the number of people who actually purchase it will be smaller than the amount of people who wish for it to be on the Virtual Console.

At least, that’s what I unfortunately think.

LikeTHEBoss said on Mar. 30, 2013

I sincerely believe that it will come out. I think that Nintendo is making us more jealous/hopeful to sell some more consoles, and when VC comes out they might just punch us in the face with a much anticipated release.

Italy veneziano said on Apr. 16, 2013

If only nintindo relized that over here mother fans are massing like crazy (I blame chuggaaconroy and pbat) I too am a fan and it is really pissing me off they get the game for 30 cents and were forced to pay over 200$ for it. It’s like there waiting for the game to get priced too high that nobody in us/Europe buys the game and then relase like 300,000 copies to get more profit

Italy veneziano said on Apr. 16, 2013

Plz nintindo release the game faster or I’ll send ether the pig mask army, the natural killer cyborg, or the ultimate chimera to your household

Italy veneziano said on Apr. 16, 2013

Lol yes mato we need to do that post it on the miiverse usually all the stuff on there is why is there an underwater lvl on a airship, finally beat ???, etc so when this happened miiverse will ether be flooded with a tidal wave of messages and cause a chain reaction or start off very slow then pick up extremely fast

Anonymous said on Apr. 17, 2013

It’s coming 2 America nao gais

Anonymous said on Apr. 17, 2013

It’s coming “2” America now!

Italy veneziano said on Apr. 19, 2013

Well it’s coming finnaly time to go buy a wii u


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