After 18 years, Nintendo's JRPG cult classic Mother 3 is back – on Switch too, but only in Japan

Mother 3
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Mother 3, the beloved cult classic sequel to Earthbound, is making its long-awaited comeback on Switch - but only in Japan.

The Japanese edition of today's Nintendo Partner Direct included an extra stinger before the end, revealing that Mother 3 - originally released for the GBA back in 2006 - is returning as part of the Nintendo Switch Online service. Since this bit wasn't in the English-language versions of the Direct, it's probably safe to say that this one is only coming to Japan.

The Mother series has always been a wild ride for English-speaking JRPG fans. Nintendo translated but never released the original NES game, but Mother 2 was released as Earthbound on SNES and quickly became a cult classic even as it failed to sell particularly well.

A decade later, Mother 3 hit GBA and turned into a classic in its own right thanks to a heartfelt story filled with goofball comedy and absurd characters. It was a strong inspiration for Undertale if that helps give you an idea of what to expect. Many English-speaking fans did end up playing Mother 3 thanks to an excellent fan translation, and while Nintendo did eventually put that translated version of Mother 1 up on modern platforms, it's never made any gestures toward translating and releasing Mother 3 in the West.

That's despite the literal years fans have spent begging for an official release of Mother 3. It's occasionally a meme, but it's also a genuine outpouring of support for what's genuinely one of the best games Nintendo has ever published. One of Mother 3's producers has even been calling for an English-language release, but some potential drama around the game's music might have Nintendo fearing the same legal issues that hit Robin Thicke.

Most of the best GBA games were officially released in English, at least.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.