Video Game: Mother 4

Truancy, adventure and an aversion to business suits!

Shortly after the release of MOTHER 3 in 2006, Shigesato Itoi revealed that there would not be a successor. Instead, he openly welcomed other people to contribute to the series, stating that he'd rather be the player this time. Cue the undying determination of the fanbase...

MOTHER 4 is a fan-made game continuing the MOTHER saga, in development by Azure Studios. It started development in 2009 and has gained recognition as one of the most ambitious fangame projects ever.

The game will mainly take place in Pleiades, following a young boy named Travis, the leader of a biker gang named Leo, a fortune-telling girl named Meryl, and a charming boy named Floyd. An enigmatic group known as the Modern Men have shown up, and the mysteries surrounding them only continue to pile up...

Overall, the gameplay so far seems to stay true to the Mother experience, with a few minor tweaks. Notably, while it is generally turn-based, with you selecting the characters actions before the battle phase and having them play out accordingly, there's also an addition of a cool-down system. During the battle phase, the characters' status bars will slowly fill up with each successful attack and combo attack they do, and if the status bar fills up completely during it, they will be able to perform an additional attack during it, allowing for more strategy than the past games.

For more information, including character profiles, screenshots, and samples of the soundtrack, go here. A teaser trailer can be found here. A gameplay trailer can be viewed here. The game was slated for a late 2014 release but was pushed back to sometime in 2015. The team had aimed for release in June of 2015, but stated then that, due to needing help, they will not be announcing any more prospective release dates until the game is finished to be fair to people waiting.

Due to these repeated Schedule Slips and the fact that a large portion of the development team can only work on it in their spare time at best thanks to such things like school, college, jobs, and similar situations, they have opened up positions for more people to join in on the project to finally finish it for good. If you know anything about game programming or spriting, then do everyone who has been waiting for this game for several years a big favor and help finish the project!


This work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Ascended Meme: Actively defied. In a bi-weekly update, they made clear that one of the set rules they had when it came to writing the game's dialogue was to never reference memes, at the time famous celebrities, or other web series, as to keep a timeless quality to the game and keep it more in line with Mother style humor. Even referencing funny moments from the canon Mother games is considered off limits if possible.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Similar to EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound, the game is said to take place in 197X. Though it's left to the player's imagination if this is set before or after the Dark Dragon recreates the world in MOTHER 3.
  • Action Commands: The rhythm-based combo system for MOTHER 3 makes a comeback.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: From an Autumn Leaf to mops with eyes and arms to the standard evil mushrooms known in nearly all MOTHER games.
  • Art Evolution:
  • Attack Reflector: When equipped with a bat, Travis has a random chance to hit enemies' projectiles back at them, just as Ness and Lucas do in Super Smash Bros..
  • Attract Mode: In homage to EarthBound, the game has this.
  • Befriending the Enemy: One of the effects of Floyd's "Talk" command can lead to enemies wasting turns by chatting with him.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: One of the areas in the game is a graveyard, in the style of Halloweentown.
  • The Bus Came Back: Mostly elements from EarthBound Beginnings, such as PK Beam, the gamebreakingly sweet 4th-D slip remastered, and Telepathy. We also see the return of three PSI users like EarthBound with the Muggle getting their own special ability to use in combat.
  • Celestial Body: The Modern Mind enemy has a glowing ball of energy for a head and has stars dotted throughout its humanoid form.
  • The City: The developers have stated that they have a Fourside equivalent.
  • Color Motif: The Modern Men seem to have a sickly lime green as their Color Motif. It's shown up on many of their structures and graffiti, and the title screen depicts a world colored green that looks like it's being drained dry.
  • Cool Bike: Leo has a motorcycle you can actually ride in-game, much like Ness could with a regular bicycle in EarthBound.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • It's been stated that this game will be darker than MOTHER 3. And considering how dark that game was...
    • It was later stated in a Q&A that the story will mainly have a tone similar to EarthBound Beginnings, which had a more subtle dark atmosphere than Mother 3.
    • The teaser trailer has disturbing music. It starts calm and with people laughing in the background and slowly gets louder and more ominous and the people in the background keep laughing, with the laughter turning into screaming laughs in the manner of a maniac, then ending off with a music tone that is creepy and foreboding.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Leo's Smoking Is Cool part of his characterization is mostly to play up the idealized 50s vibe, even though many people know nowadays that smoking is anything but such.
  • Delinquents: Fitting of the game's 'idealized' America setting, Leo and his biker gang are based on the '50s greasers, right down to the leather jackets and greaser style hair.
  • Desperation Attack: A new element called the "Final Stand" feature will be used, causing a character's stats to dramatically increase while their health is rolling down toward zero. Similarly, when your psychic points are rolling down, you can still use PSI for a cost as high as the number the meter indicates as it slowly decreases.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Possibly hinted as the Modern Men's goal, as the Earth (similar to the mechanized planet in MOTHER 3's logo) features a teardrop, as if being drained or leaking out of the Earth itself.
  • Extra Turn: When it fills, the "GROOVY!" meter allows a character to immediately take an extra turn. Doing damage and eating food increases it, while suffering damage, status effects, and bad food lowers it.
  • Fan Sequel: Quite possibly one of the most promising ones on the internet. Not only does the overall style stay faithful to the Mother series as a whole (the sprites taking cue from MOTHER 3, but being set more in EarthBound's and EarthBound Beginnings's 'modern' urban setting), but even the music doesn't sound far off from something that would be made for an 'official' Mother game.
  • Foreshadowing: During the game, there's a scene where Travis in his pajamas walks across a bridge, only to see an odd green object floating rather haphazardly through the starry sky... Only time will tell if it's anything significant.
  • Fungus Humongous: In one of the teaser gifs they posted, they showed off an area with mushrooms that are almost as big as Travis himself.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: Time passes between day and night (if you so choose it) when staying in a hotel, with a number of different tasks and events available only at certain times of the day, or with specific character combinations.
  • Leitmotif: As in MOTHER 3, everyone has their own battle sound effects. Unlike the 3rd game, they have their own level up jingles as well. See Variable Mix below.
  • Life Drain: According to some extremely early leaks and from the looks of things, this is what the mechanical spires are doing to the planet, draining it of its life energy for some purpose.
  • Musical Nod: They've remixed the MOTHER title theme, "Humoresque of a Little Dog" (and called it "Dog Humor"), the hotel theme from MOTHER 2, and the Yado Hotel's theme from MOTHER 3. They've also combined and remixed "Battle Against a Dangerous Foe" (from EarthBound Beginnings) and "Sanctuary Guardian" (from EarthBound). "Dog Humor" also contains a tiny nod to "Because I Love You" (AKA Fourside's theme) from EarthBound (which is really a nod to the Super Smash Bros. Brawl version of "Humoresque of a Little Dog.") And it probably doesn't stop there.
  • Mythology Gag: Travis's ability to reflect projectiles with his bat is derived from Ness and Lucas's appearances in Super Smash Bros., where they have the ability to do so with their respective bat and stick moves.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Unlike previous MOTHER games, characters who get KO'd in combat don't become ghosts. Rather, they're dragged along the ground while passed out behind the current conscious party members.
  • Original Flavour: You'd swear it was an official MOTHER game if you didn't know it was made by fans. It's even apparent with the music. For example, "The Green Run" sounds just like the Onett theme, right down to the instrumentation, the beginning bass line, and the trumpet duets.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: A given, considering how the Mother series has odd enemies abound. The current crowner though seems to be this odd yellow vase shaped... things with green tongues and eye stalks. The trailer showing them off said you can 'run from these things', which seems to imply they may be a very powerful enemy.
  • People Jars: Although nothing official has been said yet, some early concept art shows that, in continuing the grand Mother tradition, this may happen at some point to a large portion of people, with the stuff they're floating in looking eerily similar to the green blobs the spires are generating.
  • Poison Mushroom: Eating nasty food will decrease a character's "GROOVY!" meter, rather than increase it.
  • Power-Up Food: The ultimate vitamin. Having a character take it in battle gives them guaranteed Critical Hits on their turn, including all the combos in their combo attack!
  • Psychic Powers: But of course, seeing as it's an EarthBound/MOTHER fangame.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: The characters can walk along railroad tracks at some point in the game. Considering what can happen to Lucas and Boney when they do so in Mother 3...
  • Retraux: Shares the overall GBA design of MOTHER 3, with some minor anti-aliasing to make the shading of the sprites look smoother. Averted with the music, though, which uses a completely original sound font that sounds way more advanced than anything the GBA or SNES could do, Outside of the Sampling example below, of course.
  • Revisiting the Roots: This game appears to be far more in the style of EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound, despite having a similar graphical style to Mother 3. In addition to being set in 'modern' times as opposed to the fantasy setting of 3, enemy designs are more in the style of EarthBound, and the dev team has said the plot is more along the lines of 1 in tone.
  • Sampling: One of the battle themes samples several sounds from EarthBound. Fittingly, the theme's name is "Battle Against a Familiar Foe".
  • Scenery Porn:
    • The sprite work so far is amazing, as seen on their site, and all of it was made in various versions of MS Paint. Not only that, but there's a lot of attention to detail with it, with several NPCs in the game having their own idling sprites when not walking around, a few occasional birds flying in the background of certain areas, and even being able to see the insides of buildings through their windows. All this results in a game world that feels very lively, despite being a purely 2D game.
    • If what the dev who works on the games area designs is to be believed, a lot of areas in the game have tiles completely unique to them, even if it's an unimportant area. All this is to make the world feel more lively and lived in, similar to Mother 3
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: One of the effects of Floyd's "Talk" command, he bribes the enemy to take some of the party's own cash and make them leave the battle.
  • Shout-Out: The Modern Mind's design seems to be directly based on the poster for The Thing.
  • Slice of Life: Emphasis is being placed on character relationships and interactivity with towns and cities beyond using them as a means to continue your adventure.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: One of the areas of the game is a town blanketed by snow, complete with transparent falling snow.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Presumably Leo. Seen in the video link above, Leo is a smoker. And given the nature of most playable characters in the Mother series, if there will be smoking, then they'll look cool doing it.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: One of the areas in the game is a rather rural looking town, with pickup trucks occasionally driving by.
  • Talking Animal: Like past MOTHER games, the trailer shows you can talk to animals like dogs.
  • Trauma Inn: Hotels return to serve this purpose. Stay in a low-quality hotel, however, and you might get bitten by a mosquito and not regain all of your HP.
  • Under the Sea: One of the areas in the game seems to take place in either a vast lake or an ocean, with what appears to be an underwater lab in the middle of it.
  • Variable Mix: Instead of a singular level up jingle like the other three Mother titles, every character will level up with their own leitmotif (Travis's is a retooled version of the original level up tune). These will seamlessly overlap with one another when two or more characters level up simultaneously.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Travis and Zack's father works in The City far off from their town, and frequently has to sleep in hotels there while only seeing the family on occasion. According to the dev team, this will be important to the plot.

Don't be nervous, you can do it!