Mother 3 Is On Switch Now But You (Probably) Still Can't Play It


Mother 3 is out on Switch after years of fans requesting the classic GBA game, but you probably can’t play it. Nintendo made the announcement during its February Direct showcase, though only in the Japanese version. Mother 3 on Switch is only available on Nintendo Switch Online in Japan.

You can create an account with Japan as your home country, which lets you access the Japanese eShop, but Mother 3 on Switch only has Japanese language options. So you’re out of luck, unless you can read Japanese.

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Mother 3 is a sequel to Earthbound that launched for Game Boy Advance in 2006, at the end of the handheld’s lifecycle, but Nintendo never localized it. The Big N never provided an explanation for why, though the theories run the gamut from believing the financial return for localizing it would be too low to the idea that some characters would prove too controversial for the time.

Whatever the case, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting an English Mother 3 localization any time soon. The original Fire Emblem seems to be an exception, and not the rule, for Nintendo’s approach to its own classics. Since Nintendo localized the NES game for the series’ anniversary, we’ve seen other un-localized classics, including Shin Megami Tensei, launch on the Japanese Switch Online platform, with no hint that international audiences might one day get them as well.

Veteran translator and localization editor Clyde Mandelin led a fan translation project for Mother 3 shortly after the game’s release that’s still available on the internet, if you’re very keen to play it. We won’t be telling you where, though.

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