Former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé has said fans shouldn't hold their breath for a revival of the cult classic Mother/Earthbound series, including a long-awaited western release of Mother 3.
Speaking on the Kinda Funny podcast as part of a press tour for his new memoir Disrupting the Game, Fils-Aimé was asked about Nintendo franchises he was looking forward to - before Mother 3 was inevitably brought up in conversation.
"How long did it take until Earthbound and the Mother franchise came up? Don't hold your breath," Fils-Aimé - who departed Nintendo three years ago - said. "Again, I'm not there, I don't know what's going on."
Fils-Aimé went on to discuss past efforts to bring Earthbound to the west - something he credited the late Nintendo company president Satoru Iwata as having helped champion.
"While Mr Iwata was alive, he really understood the passion that fans had for the Mother series and you need to remember that it was under his watch Earthbound Beginnings was first brought on to the Virtual Console platform," Fils-Aimé explained.
"The company knows there's a lot of passion for that franchise, but thinking about how to make it current, thinking about how to make it bigger than just the - you know, let me call it the relatively small group of fans that desperately want to see Mother 3 or something next in the Earthbound series - that's what the company I'm sure has been thinking about and they just haven't figured out yet the solution to that, or at least they haven't been prepared to talk about it."
Fils-Aimé further discusses the potential for Mother 3's localisation in his memoir itself, sections of which have been posted by Nintendo Everything.
"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," he explained. "We had already had conversations about having a group of games that were not localised, 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.”
Just yesterday, Mother 3's producer offered his own thoughts on why the game was yet to reach western shores - something he said would be "a challenge".
Over the years, multiple reports have suggested that a western release has been considered - but ultimately dropped by Nintendo due to concerns around elements of the game's story.
Earlier today, Fils-Aimé distanced himself from recent reports concerning contract workers at Nintendo, and said the issues raised were not representative of his time in charge.