In this business, we’re used to any brand with even the slightest cultural following getting sequel after sequel. If the latest game is bad, who cares? We’ll just put all our hopes on the game that comes after it. Movies and TV shows don’t work this way; only video games do.
Earthbound, however, was not your average video game series. It was the vision of one man, Shigesato Itoi, who had already become famous for his writing before Nintendo asked him to make a game. Itoi had just three Earthbound games in mind, and that is all he ever wants to make. Japanese site Game Watch got the following quote from him: “Among big-time popstars, if they, you know, put out ten albums, around the fourth album, they can’t make very good songs. The albums sell, but everyone at the concerts wants to hear songs from those first three albums. Everyone.”
It seems rather pessimistic, given Mario’s fourth game was Super Mario World and his sixth was Super Mario 64. But Itoi feels the series is over, and it was his to begin with, so we’ll have to respect his wishes. Itoi added, though, that if he officially worked as a game designer, Mother 4 and 5 would already exist, since he would have had to make them to eat. He must’ve been thinking of Hideo Kojima there.