June 5, 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of EarthBound, which kickstarted an underappreciated Nintendo franchise. While this game didn't make much of a splash in North America when it first released, it has since garnered a massive cult following that's far stronger now than it was a quarter of a century ago.
These days, EarthBound fans are clamoring for one thing: For the game (and its two sequels) to be re-released on Nintendo Switch.
As of June 2020, there is no official way to play EarthBound on the Nintendo Switch but there are plenty of rumors implying that Shigesato Itoi's classic might come back to Nintendo Switch to celebrate the series' anniversary.
When is the EarthBound Nintendo Switch release date?
As we've mentioned, a Nintendo Switch version of EarthBound has not been announced by Nintendo. If it were to happen, the most likely way would be via the Nintendo Switch Online SNES game service. This service includes some of the greatest classic Nintendo games like The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but is still missing some heavy-hitters like Earthbound.
At one point in time, games were added to the Nintendo Switch online service every month, but that cadence has slowed down to roughly every other month or so since SNES games were added into the mix. Keep an eye on the SNES games being added in July, September, and November, as that may be the best shot for EarthBound to wind up on Nintendo Switch.
If Nintendo is planning something like a collection, remaster, or remake for the Nintendo Switch in celebration of the series 25th anniversary, then it would likely release sometime after Paper Mario: The Origami King is released on July 17, 2020. That game showed that Nintendo is willing to announce a game only two months before its release, so don't count this option out, however unlikely it may be, until November 2020.
What is the story of EarthBound about?
EarthBound is a turned based RPG follows a boy named Ness (whom you might recognize from Super Smash Bros.) and three other kids — Paula, Jeff, and Poo — as they try to save the world from the evil Giygas and Ness' former neighbor Pokey.
The whole world is an interpretation of American life from the Japanese perspective with some supernatural elements like magic, zombies, and aliens spliced in. What really makes the game memorable are the weird situations, enemies, and dialogue. At one moment you'll be walking around the town fighting police, hippies, and a kid-friendly gang. In the next moment, you'll be fighting a cult or stopping zombies from taking over a town.
EarthBound is funny and well written, but also has a lot of heart. Even its battle system is interesting, albeit simple, as players' health scrolls down instead of automatically being taken off, so you can heal at the right time to stop an attack that may have killed you. If you're still wondering if the game is for you, check out a walkthrough or pick it up on Wii U or the New Nintendo 3DS. But there's no way to play it on the Switch, which is why EarthBound needs to be brought over ASAP.
Why is 2020 the right time to re-release EarthBound?
As we've mentioned, 2020 is the 25th anniversary of EarthBound's North American release on June 5. So far, Shigosato Itoi's company has celebrated EarthBound's anniversary with an art book but has kept teasing that more announcements related to the Mother series that EarthBound is a part of are coming this year.
This has given fans hope that all three Mother games, including EarthBound, might be re-released on Nintendo Switch sometime during 2020. So far, Nintendo hasn't confirmed anything, but the avid EarthBound fanbase will hold out hope until the end of the year.