A lawyer has outlined the reason beloved JRPG Mother 3 will most likely never see a Western release in its current form.
First, some set-up. Last year, former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé revealed to Bloomberg that "business needs" stopped the release of Mother 3 in the West. In short, Mother 3's music features some copyright infringement, which a lawyer now believes will stop it ever releasing in the West, at least in its current form.
That lawyer goes by the persona "Moon" on YouTube, and they recently uploaded a video delving into Mother 3's complicated legal situation. It's long, but it should help you to properly understand the legal standings surrounding music licensing and Mother 3, and why it might never receive a localization thanks to modern music copyright laws.
Almost unbelievably, the key obstacle stems from a lawsuit filed by the family of soul singer Marvin Gaye against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams. That lawsuit alleges that Thicke and Williams' 2013 hit 'Blurred Lines' copied Gaye's 1977 song 'Got to Give it Up'. The landmark case was earth-shattering for the music industry, as while musical similarities were noted, significant portions of the defence hinged on the suggestion that a musical 'feel' couldn't be copyrighted.
With the awarding of $4 million to the Gaye estate, that suggestion was rejected, and this is the scenario that Mother 3 now finds itself in. Previous Mother games slotted into an intellectual properly law loophole to get around sampling, but Mother 3 doesn't. The game makes countless musical references throughout its soundtrack, including to the Batman theme, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Baby Elephant Walk, and even Beethoven.
Mother 3's music is so integral to the game, that it would be theoretically impossible for it to release in the West without falling afoul of the current music copyright laws. Therefore, the game would have to dramatically change its musical references were it to launch in the West, a likely expensive process that could cover the "business needs" that Fils-Amie claims held up its localization in the past.
It's a hell of a lot to process, and potentially disastrous news for Mother/Earthbound fans who've been desperately hoping for a Western release of Mother 3 for over a decade. A Mother 3 producer did previously call for its localization after Earthbound's re-release on the Nintendo Switch, but this video reveals it's very unlikely to ever happen.
This is all to say that Mother 3 might never release in the West because of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines. Jesus Christ.
Head over to our upcoming Switch games guide for a look ahead at all the titles that definitely are coming to Nintendo's console in the near future.