Rumor: Nintendo canceled Mother 3 localization due to controversial themes

Nintendo reportedly canceled a planned Mother 3 localization due to the game’s controversial themes. Fans of the series, known as Earthbound in the west, have repeatedly requested that Mother 3 be brought to these shores. However, it has now been alleged that while Nintendo previously planned to do so, the company has ceased development on the project altogether.

The news comes from GameInformer editor Imran Kahn, who responded to a ResetEra post discussing the likelihood of Mother 3 appearing in the next Nintendo Direct. Imran said that the localization was a “dead end,” adding: “It was full steam ahead for a while but upon re-evaluation there were aspects of the game that weren’t going to go without controversy.”

Mother 3 is a notably darker entry in the series, with its central theme focusing on bereavement. It also features many instances of animal cruelty and drug use, making it a tricky prospect for the notoriously family-friendly Nintendo to promote.

With that being said, Nintendo has released games with adult themes on the Switch, with the likes of Doom and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus both making their way to the console. It could be that Nintendo believes Mother 3‘s content hasn’t aged particularly well, or that Ness and Lucas’ appearance in Super Smash Bros Ultimate would cause unwitting players to assume the RPG is suitable for all ages.

Nintendo has never officially confirmed that it was working on a Mother 3 localization, with the Earthbound series being largely overlooked by the company. Rumors of a true sequel to Mother 3 have repeatedly popped up over the years, but this speculation has always been unfounded.

Mother 3 was released back in 2006 for the Game Boy Advance. The game was a critical success, though Nintendo opted to only release it in Japan. Fans of the cult classic have since released English translations of the game, though it has yet to receive an official launch in the west.