When Earthbound popped up during last week’s Nintendo Direct, fans briefly hoped that Mother 3 might finally get its much-requested English release. Those hopes were ultimately dashed, but this gorgeous new trailer is a small consolation prize for fans desperate to play Shigesato Itoi’s classic RPG.
Developed by Curiomatic, the Youtube channel behind the popular Smashified series of videos, it offers an arresting glimpse of how a full-blown remake might look, from the battle system to a cameo by the Mecha-Drago. Similar to 2019’s remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, it meticulously recreates familiar scenes from Mother 3 using clay figures — a nod to the advertising of the first two games.
Speaking via DM, illustrator Omni Jacala tells IGN that the project took a team of 22 creators more than two years to produce. It included more than 90 characters, “hundreds of props,” and more than 30 environments — all for a trailer that lasts just over three minutes.
Originally conceived back in 2015, work began on the project at the end of 2019. The team hoped to release the trailer in time for the 15th anniversary of the original game, but it wound up taking another year to “fully realize our vision,” Jacala says.
Jacala says the team was inspired by Itoi’s ability to “craft beautiful stories within the constraints of the limited hardware at his disposal.” Like its predecessors, Mother 3 was a 16-bit RPG with colorful but otherwise relatively simple visuals. It gained fame in North America thanks to the way that it married mature themes with comic visuals, which in turn inspired a number of independent RPGs, mostly notably Undertale.
“The stories definitely speak to themes of family, friendship, coming of age—things that often have a profound impact on those who play it. The many let’s players who have played the game can certainly speak to that,” Jacala says. “On top of that, I think that the original games being in that sort of top-down, classic RPG style makes it necessary for players to use their imaginations to fill in the gaps. And that’s not to discount Itoi’s writing at all, but something about primitive graphics leaves room for the imagination to elevate the experience above what we see on the surface.”
The team decided to use clay figures to “fill the gap” with the first two games. “The Mother/Earthbound series is well known for the clay figures that were produced to promote the first two games. However, the creators of the game never made clay models for the third game, so we felt there was a need to sort of fill a gap, so to speak. We felt that going for a stop-motion aesthetic akin to the likes of Studio Laika or Aardman Animations would be appropriate to carry on the tradition of the figurines,” Jacala explains.
If you’ve never played Mother 3, you needn’t worry too much about spoilers. In choosing the scenes to depict from the game, Jacala says that the team went with moments that don’t have as much significance without context. The result is a trailer that gives viewers a feel for Mother 3 without ruining its biggest surprises.
Curiomatic’s trailer is part of an going wave of appreciation for the Earthbound series that recently included the release of Earthbound and Earthbound Beginnings for Nintendo Switch. As the only game in the series to not get a North American release, Mother 3 has been hotly-requested by fans over the years, to the point that former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé joked about the constant requests for a translation. Even Terry Crews has asked for it.
In the wake of last week’s Nintendo Direct, we’re no closer to an official release for Mother 3, but Curiomatic’s imagined remake can let us dream.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN
Source: IGN Video Games All