Mother 3, the Game Boy Advance follow-up to Mother 2 (Earthbound) on the SNES, might not ever come to the Switch—or to any other Nintendo platform, for that matter. Nintendo reportedly had solid plans to officially bring the RPG westward in 2016 but scrapped those plans after it realized localizing the game's controversial content would be difficult.
Earlier this week, Game Informer senior editor Imran Khan declared Mother 3 "a dead end" in a Resetera thread discussing the latest Nintendo Direct (thanks, Eurogamer). "It was full steam ahead for a while," Imran posts, "but upon re-evaluation there were aspects of the game that weren't going to go without controversy."
If you've already played Clyde "Tomato" Mandelin's excellent fan translation of Mother 3, then you can already pick out a controversy or two. For starters, Mother 3 is a dark game where terrible things happen to innocent children. The game's young protagonist, Lucas, also undergoes a nightmarish hallucination sequence after he eats some bad mushrooms (turns out damp patches of poisoned ground aren't reliable dealers). But Nintendo's probably most stuck on how to localize the Magypsies, ancient beings with complicated gender expressions. Most of the Magypsies blend male and female characteristics, and there's a good chance Nintendo would rather bow out of translating Mother 3 than court controversy.
Strong rumors about an official localization for Mother 3 entered the atmosphere in 2016, but then they seemingly broke up and vanished without a trace. The buzz, followed by dead silence, gives credence to Khan's report. Nintendo's adoption of the Bayonetta games demonstrates it's getting more comfortable marketing games with extremely violent and sexual themes, but it might feel it's out of its league with the Magypsies, which is a big shame. Maybe something will change in the future. I hope it does. Mother 3 is a powerful game that's unlike any other RPG on the Game Boy Advance—or any other system.