Fan developer Azure Studios has slated its Mother 4 project for release late next year.
Ask fans of role-playing games what their favorite series is and you're going to get a wide range of answers. Some will cite Final Fantasy, while others will point to PC titles like Baldur's Gate and its ilk. Inevitably, however, someone will name EarthBound. EarthBound, or Mother 2 as it's known in Japan, is considered by many to be the quintessential SNES RPG, though it's arguably been existed as a cult classic status in North America. Even in Japan, however, the Mother series has enjoyed an arguably troubled history. Mother 3, in particular, went through a long and difficult development that partially prompted series producer Shigesato Itoi to proclaim a fourth iteration to be "impossible." The series' fans would probably argue against that proclamation however, especially seeing as a full-fledged fan-made sequel is nearing release.
A group of fans calling themselves Azure Studios, have been working on said unofficial sequel since 2008. Now, with some fives years of work under their belts, the team has finally been able to peg its game, Mother 4, with a Winter 2014 release window. While the continued wait is likely to disappoint other eager fans, they're arguably lucky the game is coming out at all. Setting aside the fact that Nintendo could probably still issue a cease-and-desist order at any time, the sheer magnitude of this project makes its completion an accomplishment on its own. This is especially the case when you consider that, according to the game's website, less than twenty people were involved in its development. Whether the end results live up to the official series is yet to be seen. That said, the project's completion is likely to delight more than a few fans hungry for new Mother content.