To the delight of Nintendo fans everywhere the big N has finally announced that the cult classic SNES RPG Earthbound would soon be seeing a re-release in the North America, and for the first time ever it will also be released in Europe. While no release date was given, in the latest Nintendo Direct, President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata did confirm that the game would be released this year on the the soon to be released (as in next week) Virtual Console service for the Wii U. This marks the first time that Earthbound (Mother 2: Gyiyg Strikes Back, in Japan) has ever been re-released outside of Japan since the original game launched in the US in 1995. Interestingly, American fans have been basically begging for the game to be released state side for many months now, as seen in these example posts from various Miiverse communities. As to why it has not been released outside of Japan since then, there are a lot of speculations, such as: licensing issues, copyright issues (as a lot of the in game music is very highly influenced by real life bands such as The Beatles), pop-culture and drug references… etc. etc., Hey the game was made and originally released in the 90s when copyright issues were very lax in the video game industry.
Interestingly, Earthbound did see release on the Wii U Virtual Console last month in Japan, and was even rated by the ESRB for re-release on the original Wii Virtual Console in the US back in 2008 but never saw release. As to why the game is seeing a longer delay in the re-release to Western markets, many are speculating that Nintendo may be “editing” or changing some aspects of the game in order to avoid any potential legal issues in the future.
And for anyone who is still rocking their SNES, you can pick up a USED copy of Earthbound for a measly price of about $180-$250 on Ebay! This is great news for every SNES RPG fan for sure! I really should have kept my copy of Earthbound sealed in the collectors box, it would be worth about 1-2k!