Reggie has spoken candidly in his new book titled Disrupting the Game about why the long-awaited Mother 3 never came to the west and he conceded that there were a number of important factors at play. Nintendo had considered adding it as a Virtual Console game on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U on their respective digital storefronts, but it simply never happened. They did however release EarthBound Beginnings, which is the first Mother game, on the Wii U eShop. Reggie had previously spoken to Mr. Iwata about adding Mother 3 to the digital storefronts, but as we know, the former Nintendo president sadly passed away in 2015 aged 55 due to bile duct cancer and the Wii U system was a colossal failure in the sales department and therefore the company simply moved on to their next system.
“The initial decision not to launch the game had happened before I joined the company, but certainly afterwards I had many conversations with Mr. Iwata about this game, about the fan passion, and certainly the perspective was the first game on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System had not sold all that well. Certainly as I’ve gone back to look at it, the marketing wasn’t great. I think it was marketed some bizarre way like ‘this game stinks’ or something like that. It really was not the best marketing activity behind the launch of a new game. Because it hadn’t sold well, because yes there’s a lot of time and financial investment in localizing this type of content, it just really wasn’t a priority. And then when it’s at the point where we’re putting all of our effort on Nintendo DS and games like Metroid Prime Hunters and Mario Kart for DS and Pokemon for DS, it really just was not a strong business priority. But boy, the game journalists had to ask me every single time.”
“There was a serious conversation during the Nintendo 3DS days, and as we launched the Wii U, that we should look at making the game available digitally through our digital storefront, because at that point the production and distribution costs are the minimus. We had already had conversations about having a group of games that were not localized, that it was the pure Japanese game made available. And we did that for a number of titles. They did okay. Mr. Iwata and I had that conversation about Mother 3.
What ended up happening is that we launched the first Mother game called EarthBound Beginnings on the Wii U eShop. That’s a sense of the conversations that were happening and the thought process. And who knows? If Mr. Iwata had not passed away, if maybe the Wii U had done better in the marketplace, maybe the Mother 3 game would have made it at that point. So there were certainly conversations, but it would have needed to have been done the right way.”