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Old 03-13-2015, 08:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What's the Deal With EarthBound on Wii U Virtual Console?



Last week, Nintendo annnounced a bunch of details on upcoming Wii U software, including a solid plan for the the system's take on Virtual Console. All in all, the Virtual Console service doesn't seem as bad as we'd expected -- it's limited, yes, with support for only a handful of platforms announced (including the inexplicable decision to bring Game Boy Advance titles to Wii U rather than 3DS, where they would make some degree of sense). And owners of these titles on Wii will have to pay a dollar to $1.50 apiece to upgrade to the Wii U version... but since I expected to have to shell out full price again as they've been making us do on 3DS, a modest upgrade fee doesn't seem so bad.

The magic of lowered expectations is that it then becomes difficult for anyone to disappoint you. Thanks, Nintendo!

Nintendo issued a loose list of upcoming releases (incuding a limited-time pilot program in which we can buy a selected title for 30 cents each month) for both the American and Japanese markets, and they were surprisingly similar. There was just one key difference, though: Our friends in Japan will be able to buy Mother 2, aka EarthBound for 30 cents. Meanwhile, the game didn't even get a hint of a mention for the U.S.

So that means we're screwed again, right? Japan gets this game for cheap, and we'll have to continue shelling out $200 just to play it without stealing it, right?



Substitute "Reggie Fils-Aime" for "Starman Junior" and you have the essence of the past week's worth of message board conversations in a nutshell.

I'm not sure that gloomy outlook is correct. I've seen quite a few theories about why we haven't seen EarthBound on Virtual Console -- remember, it was teased as "coming soon" in the Japanese version of Smash Bros. Melee years ago but never appeared over there -- and the one that holds the most water is that the heavy use of audio sampling and familiar popular music riffs has tangled the game in the wires of an overly timid legal department. If that's the case, those concerns would hold about as true for the Japanese market as in the U.S. If the game is cleared for release in Japan, there shouldn't be any real impediment to a U.S. release.

So why, you ask, didn't Nintendo mention it? Why didn't it get a name drop last week in the American Nintendo Direct? Why aren't we going to be able to buy the game for 30 cents?

If you have to ask these questions -- especially that last one! -- you still have much to learn about Nintendo.

If Nintendo excels at anything, it's making money by leveraging its catalog of legacy software. They know there's money to be made by satisfying the U.S. market's demands for an EarthBound rerelease. Why on earth would they sell the game to its fans for 30 cents when they know people will pay hundreds of dollars for it? Not that they're going to charge hundreds of bucks when EarthBound makes its way over, but you can be sure that if it does show up in the U.S. again -- which I consider more likely than not -- it'll happen with great fanfare, much noise, and a healthy price tag. Sure, they could sell the game for 30 cents, but the Nintendo way is to hold an ace like that close to the chest, to be played when they need to perk up their fans.

And hey, since Game Boy Advance will be on Wii U Virtual Console, maybe we'll finally get Mother 3, too. Naw, just kidding. That'll never happen.



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Old 03-19-2015, 05:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: What's the Deal With EarthBound on Wii U Virtual Console?

I would not be shocked if instead of a virtual console release [and I hesitate to say all this but the possibility has occured before] that they are working on a Remaking of the game instead. Nintendo knows there is a large number of fans or people who want Earthbound, lots of fans..
So why sell that sort of a game for normal virtual console price, when you can 'update it' and sell it as a full retail game? Remember Mother 1+2 was made as a GBA game so on one hand we might get a port of Mother 1... but on the other we might get a mockery of a comedic yet awesome RPG game.

The BEST case scenario is that they are gonna release all three mother games together. touch up graphics, fix some translation errors.. maybe add a few areas.. link the games stories. [probably add more to Mother 3's ending.. though I like how it was sorta. YES I playd a fan translated hack.. Love those games.. Lucas.. was an interesting protagonist.] Then SSMMAAASHH!! Mother trilogy.
though a special mode where you got to pick team mates from all three games would be cool.
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Old 03-19-2015, 05:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: What's the Deal With EarthBound on Wii U Virtual Console?

To be honest, I would not expect anything else Mother reaching the west. Itoi is done making these games and Nintendo wouldn't bother unless they could build up hype for a new title.

At least we have Mother 4 to look forward to.
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Old 03-19-2015, 06:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: What's the Deal With EarthBound on Wii U Virtual Console?

I would normally agree, however there have been quite a few games being remade and then rereleased lately. Granted most of the examples I know of are on the 3ds, but nintendo has remade plenty of games, and Earthbound does have a huge following of fans. If the market for the game or a remake exists then its possible for whatever to happen.
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