Very passionate fans are to thank for the English localization of EarthBound, which should be released some time later this year.
SNES classic EarthBound, known as Mother2 in Japan, will be making its way to the Wii U's Virtual Console some time this year. It has been available in the Japanese market since March, as one of the 30 year NES anniversary Virtual Console titles. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explains that pleas from very passionate fans on the Miiverse message board were what prompted Nintendo to release the game in Western territories.
EarthBound was first released for the SNES almost 20 years ago, way back in 1995. Iwata himself was a programmer for the game, and he says that he, along with the game's creator Shigesato Itoi, are very happy to see the game released in the west.
EarthBound plays like a your run-of-the-mill Japanese RPG, but its modern setting gives it a bit of a twist. Ness and Lucas, whom many new-generation gamers will only know from the Smash Bros. series, wielded baseball bats and frying pans instead of the traditional RPG swords and shields. Rather than slaying goblins and trolls, they face more urban fare - crazed cultists, deranged hippies, out-of-control taxicabs, and the occasional big pile of puke.
The game was critically acclaimed for its solid gameplay, quirky setting, and brilliant writing, which often contains tongue-in-cheek references to JRPG tropes. It quickly became a cult classic and this news is sure to excite fans who have been asking Nintendo for a re-release for years.
Iwata said that the actual release date will be announced later in the year. Mother3, the sequel to EarthBound, was only ever released in Japan, and never saw an English translation. Hopefully, if the Virtual Console version of EarthBound sells well, it might finally persuade Nintendo to localize its sequel.