During those amazing Nintendo World Championship bouts, Nintendo announced a game. Yes, in between the competitive eSports on the grand stage just before Bethesda's E3 conference got underway, the Big 'N made it known that Earthbound Beginnings was available on the Virtual Console, exclusively for the Wii U.
Now before you get your hopes up too high, you can check out Nintendo's eShop trailer for the game and recognize that this isn't actually a new game, but an unreleased game that never found its way to North America, outside of emulation.
The trailer showcases snippets of gameplay throughout Ninten's adventure throughout the open world. Ninten comes across various other kids while venture about town, battling some really weird characters, getting stronger in the process and making a bit of money on the side.
The combat and interactions are all done through big, blocky, black contextual menus. As the gameplay trailer showcases, you can talk to people, give them things, interact with various objects or battle in a first-person, turned-based combat system. I was never really a big fan of the first-person, picture-based combat systems because it felt kind of cheap and seemed like it displaced a lot of the immersion factors with just a blank screen and a static character image in the middle of the screen. Worse yet is that you have to use your imagination for a lot of the attacks because the image just shakes back and forth, usually, when it gets hit.
Anyway, the Earthbound games have always had an off-kilter quality about them and it's no different here with this re-release of the original Mother, renamed to Earthbound Beginnings.
The game was originally known as Mother but here Stateside we call it Earthbound. The original game was produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and first came onto the scene back in 1989. The game was pretty revolutionary at the time because there weren't many open-world RPGs where you could venture around and talk to people.
Earthbound Beginnings is just giving new-school gamers an opportunity to take a stroll through the old-school park. The game was planned to be localized and released many times in the past before, but it just never happened. Following up on many other copyright issues plaguing the SNES version of Earthbound being re-released on some systems after its original debut just marred the whole localization process for the other titles in the Earthbound or Mother franchise.
If you click through the video and read the comments, everyone sees this as Nintendo's opportunity to finally localize Mother 3. They also feel as if Lucas, one of the main characters from the game, being added to Super Smash Bros is a surefire sign that Nintendo is getting aboard the localization train for games that gamers have been begging to arrive on the Virtual Console for ages.
All I can say is: baby steps.
Earthbound Beginnings is available right now, exclusively for the Wii U.