Mother 3 comes to Nintendo Switch Online, but only in Japan

The Latest from Nintendo Direct: Mother 3 Comes to Nintendo Switch Online in Japan

The Japanese version of Wednesday’s new Nintendo Direct showcase had a surprise: Beloved Game Boy Advance role-playing game Mother 3 is now part of the Nintendo Switch Online lineup of retro games.

But that release is only for Japan. There was no similar announcement for fans of the Earthbound games in the West. While Switch owners in North America and Europe will get their hands on a new batch of games from developer Rare through Nintendo Switch Online, a long-awaited official translation of Mother 3 still eludes us.

And it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll ever get that, based on Nintendo’s history of releasing (and re-releasing) Mother 3 in Japan and affording its Western players the same privilege. Back in 2015, Nintendo made Mother 3 playable through the Wii U’s Virtual Console, but only in Japan.

Nintendo has released Mother and Mother 2, known in the West as Earthbound Beginnings and Earthbound, respectively, through Nintendo Switch Online. But the North American and European arms of Nintendo have ignored pleas to localize Mother 3 officially for non-Japanese audiences. A localization of the Game Boy Advance game “just didn’t make business sense,” former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé told Bloomberg in 2022.

Developed by HAL Laboratory and Brownie Brown, Mother 3 was released in Japan in 2006, and fans of EarthBound have repeatedly bugged Nintendo for the game to be officially localized into other languages. The star of Mother 3, Lucas, has appeared in the Super Smash Bros. games and got his own amiibo figure in 2016.

It appears that, for now, Mother 3 fans will have to continue looking to fan translations to get their fix.