When a game becomes far more than just a game
With the Nintendo Switch Online release of EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings, the Mother series is fresh on fans’ minds — not that they ever stop playing, dreaming, and creating. Today, thanks to a fan-created trailer from Curiomatic, we can peer into an alternate universe where Mother 3 got a remake with stop-motion clay stylings.
It feels strange to even sum this project up as a “trailer” — so much work went into devising the visual identity of this (not actually playable) Mother 3 remake.
“This video represents over two years of work on a scale many times larger than anything we’ve attempted in the past,” said Curiomatic. “It is quite possibly the largest fan production we will ever produce.”
So while it’s not going to be a playable fan game, it was still a capital-e Effort from this group. Sharing more behind-the-scenes context on the official website for this unofficial love letter, the Mother 3: Tribute team explained that they wanted to “freely explore the aesthetics of a hypothetical remake without the anxieties related to fan games.”
The creators also spoke about the clay style and why it fits:
“In many ways, MOTHER 3 has always felt like a game that was never given the same presence as its predecessors. One particular shortcoming of the original game’s marketing was the lack of promotional imagery, especially when compared to the previous two games, which both came with a collection of charming clay model renderings.
In an effort to rectify this, many passionate fans in the MOTHER 3 community have taken it upon themselves to create their own clay models, some of which have become ubiquitous among the fandom. In that tradition, we’ve produced our own key art to represent our vision for what a MOTHER 3 remake could look like.
We’ve painstakingly created dozens upon dozens of assets, including character models, props, environments, and even typefaces and user interface elements, taking great care to capture the essence of the original game. Our hope is that any fan can look at the results of our work and feel that it authentically represents the world of MOTHER 3.”
You can — and totally should — check out more of these character renders.
In a world where Square Enix is cool with bringing an obscure yet wildly interesting RPG like Live A Live to the West for the first time with a pitch-perfect HD-2D art treatment, I can’t help but wish that Nintendo would do the same for Mother 3. Given the “hand-crafted” feel of games like Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and Yoshi’s Woolly World, this aesthetic feels within reach. And Zelda already had its turn!
Similar to how I can’t mentally separate EarthBound the game from the fan-made “Pollyanna” animated tribute, this mock remake trailer will pop into my mind whenever Mother 3 comes up. Fans will seemingly never stop pushing for an official localization (for good reason), and they have to get their creative energy out any way they can.
In turn, the least we can do is celebrate their passion.