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If you think the mess involving the Real-Money Auction House and Diablo III is a headache, or all the industry wide problems involving DLC is annoying, well a lot of companies have been dealing with legal issues since the inception of a game's design, legal issues that most people rarely ever hear about. A perfect example is Earthbound.
A lot of gamers have been asking for an Earthbound 2 or at least a re-release of the original Earthbound for newer consoles. The problem is that Nintendo of America wanted to make some changes to avoid legal issues and Nintendo Co. did not. So what happens? The game gets stuck in legal limbo.
According to Earthbound Central, there are three things currently holding the game up from being re-released on Nintendo's Virtual Console, and the items include:
1.) The Sky Runner song needs to be changed
2.) The Chuck Berry battle song needs to be changed
3.) The Dali’s Clock enemy name needs to be changed
Two of the items, according to Earthbound Central, aren't a problem because the Chuck Berry battle song can be replaced with any other battle song and the Dali's Clock simply needs a name change. The actual problem comes in with the Sky Runner theme song, which needs a complete overhaul to avoid any sort of legal hurdles, and NCL doesn't want to deal with having to redo a song over again for a specific section.
I'm not sure if other games run into the same kind of legal problems as Earthbound (although I'd imagine Rockstar has probably had a fair share of issues more than others given the often real-world imitation of items, logos and themes found in Grand Theft Auto games) but Earthbound Central has another fascinating article listing all the items that had to be changed during the development of the game when porting it over to America, in a lengthy comparison list right here. A lot of it seems horribly petty but we do live in a sue-happy society.
Given all the hurdles just to get the game on the Virtual Console, it does make you wonder if it's even worth it for Nintendo to have Earthbound appear on the Wii's VC?