Unnoffical EarthBound Sequel Releasing Winter 2014

Unnoffical EarthBound Sequel Releasing Winter 2014

Fan developer Azure Studios has slated its Mother 4 project for release late next year.

Ask fans of role-playing games what their favorite series is and you're going to get a wide range of answers. Some will cite Final Fantasy, while others will point to PC titles like Baldur's Gate and its ilk. Inevitably, however, someone will name EarthBound. EarthBound, or Mother 2 as it's known in Japan, is considered by many to be the quintessential SNES RPG, though it's arguably been existed as a cult classic status in North America. Even in Japan, however, the Mother series has enjoyed an arguably troubled history. Mother 3, in particular, went through a long and difficult development that partially prompted series producer Shigesato Itoi to proclaim a fourth iteration to be "impossible." The series' fans would probably argue against that proclamation however, especially seeing as a full-fledged fan-made sequel is nearing release.

A group of fans calling themselves Azure Studios, have been working on said unofficial sequel since 2008. Now, with some fives years of work under their belts, the team has finally been able to peg its game, Mother 4, with a Winter 2014 release window. While the continued wait is likely to disappoint other eager fans, they're arguably lucky the game is coming out at all. Setting aside the fact that Nintendo could probably still issue a cease-and-desist order at any time, the sheer magnitude of this project makes its completion an accomplishment on its own. This is especially the case when you consider that, according to the game's website, less than twenty people were involved in its development. Whether the end results live up to the official series is yet to be seen. That said, the project's completion is likely to delight more than a few fans hungry for new Mother content.

Source: Mother 4 via Polygon

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I look forward to this getting C&D'd and the reactions of people being "omg what nazis can't even let fun" showing they know nothing to do with copyright.

Looks decent though.

That looks really good! I rather like the unsettling music that was playing throughout. Though it would be really easy for Nintendo to shut this down here's hoping they actually pick it up.

Mother certainly has a dedicated fan base.

I wish they say inspired by the Mother series, at least that way it wouldn't get canceled :(

Oh man, this is definitely going to get C&D'd, and I'm surprised it hasn't already.

Looks neat though.

This has already gotten Itoi's blessing and has been in known development for years. If they haven't C&D'ed this already, they probably won't since they've already declared they aren't making a Mother 4 and if fans wanted to make one, they could attempt.

Considering the fan-translation for Mother 3 was made by the same group and was never C&D'd (again, blessed by the creators), this will most likely see release. I'm looking forward to it.

hazabaza1:
I look forward to this getting C&D'd and the reactions of people being "omg what nazis can't even let fun" showing they know nothing to do with copyright.

Looks decent though.

Oh, they have the right to do so at any time. It just would be a really dick move considering how they seem to not give a shit about the franchise. Mother 3 has existed for a while now, but for reasons that no one understands, they will not officially release it outside of japan. Hell, the fans made their own english translation and even offered the translation to the company to use, so really, all they have to do is just publish it. Yet they won't.

So to shut down everyone elses attempts to enjoy would be a very dick move, even if totally within their rights.

Dalisclock:

hazabaza1:
I look forward to this getting C&D'd and the reactions of people being "omg what nazis can't even let fun" showing they know nothing to do with copyright.

Looks decent though.

Oh, they have the right to do so at any time. It just would be a really dick move considering how they seem to not give a shit about the franchise. Mother 3 has existed for a while now, but for reasons that no one understands, they will not officially release it outside of japan. Hell, the fans made their own english translation and even offered the translation to the company to use, so really, all they have to do is just publish it. Yet they won't.

So to shut down everyone elses attempts to enjoy would be a very dick move, even if totally within their rights.

I think it's also because Mother 3 might be caught in the same legal nexus that the original Mother, and the Megaman Legends games, are caught in. Basically one of the reasons that it took Earthbound so long to get here on the VC is because it was caught in legal troubles, I think it had to deal with the music specifically.
But while Nintendo has every legal right to shut this down, doing so would bring bad PR to them because of it, and I'd not be surprised since the Mother series has reached the status of being cult classics at this point.

JamesBr:
This has already gotten Itoi's blessing and has been in known development for years. If they haven't C&D'ed this already, they probably won't since they've already declared they aren't making a Mother 4 and if fans wanted to make one, they could attempt.

Considering the fan-translation for Mother 3 was made by the same group and was never C&D'd (again, blessed by the creators), this will most likely see release. I'm looking forward to it.

While it's blessed by the creators, ultimately Nintendo's board and higher ups, in this case Iwata, have the final say in this since they own the rights to the franchise. Copyright law is weird and needs to be updated, because sometimes even blessings from the creators can be problematic, see YouTube for example, mainly because the company that licensed the product and produced it technically own the legal rights to the game. Now if Iwata has come out and given his blessing to it then everything should be fine I believe.

I have wanting more Mother for a while now, but I have a feeling Nintendo is going to be Nintendo unfortunately. Color me cautiously excited.

I am curious about the impaled slime though. It should be interesting what direction they go with it.

Neronium:

While it's blessed by the creators, ultimately Nintendo's board and higher ups, in this case Iwata, have the final say in this since they own the rights to the franchise. Copyright law is weird and needs to be updated, because sometimes even blessings from the creators can be problematic, see YouTube for example, mainly because the company that licensed the product and produced it technically own the legal rights to the game. Now if Iwata has come out and given his blessing to it then everything should be fine I believe.

While I agree, I still doubt Nintendo is going to do anything at this rate. The franchise is declared finished, there will be no official Mother 4 and this game has been in known development for what, 3-4 years? It hasn't exactly been a secret, they've had plenty of time to can this if they wanted to. And considering Iwata was the head of HAL when HAL was a thing, his personal investment is higher then most, if he wanted it stopped, he probably would've done something by now. I could be wrong, I'll admit, but I hope not.

JamesBr:

While I agree, I still doubt Nintendo is going to do anything at this rate. The franchise is declared finished, there will be no official Mother 4 and this game has been in known development for what, 3-4 years? It hasn't exactly been a secret, they've had plenty of time to can this if they wanted to. And considering Iwata was the head of HAL when HAL was a thing, his personal investment is higher then most, if he wanted it stopped, he probably would've done something by now. I could be wrong, I'll admit, but I hope not.

Really I'm just pessemistc about things when it comes to being given blessings because Copyright laws are just so broken and actually need to be updated like really badly. Of course they never will be, but still. :P
Mainly I'm also just wary about these things because I've seen companies before do nothing for a while, and then change their minds later on and stop a project, even when it's close to being completed.

i expect a inevitable c&d just before release. Dont expect me to get exited at this point, just saying.

I am working towards King's Field games by way of revitalizing From Software's "Sword of Moonlight: King's Field Making Tool". What's interesting about this is it has King's Field Making in the name. So I think it will be an interesting way to start to challenge all this C&D stuff, because From Software would look foolish to do so, it's not a huge nebulous entity like Nintendo (to be fair it isn't at all unclear that this is not what From' wanted at the time of the software's release)

And KF was arguably the first true 3D game ever. So it can herald a new age of people appropriating these golden age games, remaking them for historical preservation (with opensource code and ripped graphics) and remixing them. We need to do something fast to reintroduce a new generation to what makes a good game. Then the opensource versions can be used to learn from the games and build out from them.

The Sword of Moonlight is also not a mod kit. It's a PC game maker that allows you to make "official" and unencumbered games, which you can then do anything you like with them. The idea is people will see by example that this is a good thing, and then the companies will eventually just stop fighting back. Then we can talk about opening up culture, so that it can be self referential, additive, and accumulative once again (translation: it's the old foot in the door trick)

PS: To my mind I think we kind of collectively got stuck in a time warp with 3D. I don't think we've learned anything about the actual art in the meantime. So only now can we really begin to tackle the order of magnitude greater complexities of 3D vs 2D games. It's good to see solid 2D formats such as Mother hanging around.

GZGoten:
I wish they say inspired by the Mother series, at least that way it wouldn't get canceled :(

Andy Shandy:
Oh man, this is definitely going to get C&D'd, and I'm surprised it hasn't already.

Looks neat though.

Yeah, really. It seems extraordinarily naive, stupid even, to have called it Mother. The Mother series shares mostly spiritual similarities as it is. It's not exactly like Mario or Zelda, where if you don't have the titular characters it wouldn't be a sequel.

Each mother game has the PSI powers and whatnot, but different enemies, different protagonists and party members, different settings.

Really they wouldn't even have to change the game itself whatsoever. Just change the damn title and Nintendo would have no leverage(or need) with which to deal out a C&D. But, since these brazen folk saw fit to proclaim their game to be a Mother sequel, instead of just having a Mother shout-out in the credits or something, the game will likely never see the light of day.

Call it "Father" or something. Save themselves some grief.

So rather than giving the game a unique title and simply giving it the qualifier of "inspired by Earthbound", instead they're basically going to taunt Nintendo with a title that will force them to issue a C&D. Way to waste 5 years of work, guys.

 

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