Earthbound creator calls another game ‘impossible’

When Nintendo of America announced that cult-favorite RPG Earthbound was coming to the Wii U Virtual Console, fans had renewed hope that Nintendo was listening to their pleas. Maybe now the company will take notice of the vocal audience and have Shigesato Itoi make another game!

Well, no. Probably not.

In Japan, Earthbound is known as Mother 2. North America never received the original Mother or Mother 3, which was released on Game Boy Advance in Japan in 2006. A Japanese fan asked Itoi about whether he might make Mother 4. His response (via Kotaku) was one word: “muri,” which translates to “impossible.” That doesn’t sound optimistic.

Fans have offered a free translated script of the cult RPG to Nintendo of America, but it appears the company is uninterested in pursuing the project. For now, it appears that outside of appearances in Smash Bros. games, the Earthbound franchise is effectively dead.

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Nintendo may explore ‘games that require a monthly subscription fee’

Nintendo’s jump into digital gaming has been a success so far. But, there’s much more to do than simply offer retail games as downloadable titles on the eShop. Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata knows this, saying that “we think that digital distribution of packaged software is only the first step in expanding our digital business.” The future of Nintendo lies in expanding their digital offerings to include free-to-play, and even games with subscription fees.

Already, Nintendo has begun to experiment with DLC, with New Super Luigi U being the company’s next big digital expansion pack. However, Iwata told investors that “we might have many other types of business models in addition to packaged software. For example, we might see more games that are similar to free-to-play games, games that cost much less or games that require a monthly subscription fee.”

Nintendo has previously admitted that if it were to make a free-to-play game, it would want to do so with an entirely new IP.

While Nintendo has no concrete announcements to make regarding free-to-play and subscription games, Iwata does point out that “Nintendo 3DS and Wii U have flexible systems to handle such trends, so it is now a question of putting these ideas into action.”

“I can definitely say that Nintendo will make new offers that go well beyond simply replacing packaged software with digital software.”

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Nintendo may explore ‘games that require a monthly subscription fee’

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Gears of War movie gets Battleship, Ted producer

The Gears of War movie adaptation has a new friend in Hollywood. Producer Scott Stuber (Battleship, Ted) has signed on to produce, and will reportedly be developing a script alongside Epic Games. Stuber has given Universal a first look deal, and both Stuber and Universal will be shopping the movie to studios.

Variety reports that the movie is still in its infancy, lacking a writer or any of its actors. Universal could also turn down the movie, which would leave it without a distributor. But Stuber has a track record for large releases, so it’s a step in the right direction.

Two years ago, the project was scaled back and seemed in limbo until late last year. As of October, the Creative Artists Agency was meeting with producers for the project. That must have paid off, because the movie appears to have found its producer and is on-track again. Still, it still may be quite a while before we see the results.

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The Wonderful 101 director warns haters of short games

The Wonderful 101 is probably going to be on the short side, judging by a comment from director Hideki Kamiya. But, responding to the flare-up of controversy caused by that comment, executive director Atsushi Inaba attempted to clarify.

It started with a tweet from Kamiya (via Siliconera). “If u hate to finish a game the next day u buy it, u better not play TW101,” he said. “I focus on how it is fun, not how long it lasts till the ending.”

That sounds like an admission that the game will be short, but Inaba responded with a long series of tweets. “What he is saying is his basic approach to how he creates an action game. The idea is rooted in that you shouldn’t pad your game with content users won’t enjoy in order to control play time to the end of the game. It isn’t something he wants to do, or thinks you should do.”

He says that Kamiya actually tends to put a lot of content into his games, and that in his past experience he’s never worried about game length. In fact, he says, as executive producer it tends to be his job to order cuts when a game is too long.

“Of course, even though @pg_kamiya didn’t intend for people to jump to their own conclusions, they did,” Inaba said. “In this case, that conclusion was ‘So TW101 is going to be short then?!’ Let me make my own conclusion: TW101 will be so much fun you are going to wear out your Wii U GamePad. Actually, the Wii U GamePad is pretty sturdy, so you probably won’t wear it out.”

It’s notable that he didn’t make any direct statements about the game’s length, and chose instead to focus on his past experience with Kamiya. He said announcements are forthcoming, and with E3 just around the corner, it’s a safe bet that we’ll have a new look at the game then.

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Star Command coming to App Store May 2

Star Command, a mobile Kickstarter success from way back in 2011, is preparing to launch. Developer Warballoon announced the game is due this Thursday, May 2, after which it will set a course for Android and finally PC.

Joystiq reported the release dates, after the studio revealed them on Twitter. The original Kickstarter mentioned inspirations like XCOM, Game Dev Story, and The Sims. From the looks of it, it also owes a good bit of its identity to Star Trek. That means we can at least pretend this one is aboard the Enterprise, instead of playing the the official one.

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