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LONG BLOG

Harvest Moon: LIGHT OF HOPE Thoughts + HM/Story of Seasons Shitshow Recap

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Early Light of Hope Thoughts:

With the announcement of Light of Hope aka Link's Awakening with more animals and less puzzles, 2017 is shaping up to be a good year for Harvest Moon fans. So, what do you think of the new game based on the early details?

I think it'll be interesting to see what they do with the lighthouse and hopefully there will be more in terms of depth and objectives as promised in the press release (aka time to stop getting completely manhandled by a one man dev team #stardewvalley). From what I gather, it's still unclear whether the development effort will be another collaboration with the Japanese company Talbot that made a mess of The Lost Valley and did a mediocre job with Skytree Village and Seeds of Memories, or if Natsume is collaborating with another team, but I hope for the best.

In other Harvest Moon news, we've been treated to quite a bit of farming goodness so far this year:

  • Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition re-release
  • Harvest Moon: Save the the Homeland re-release
  • Harvest Moon 64 for Wii U
  • Harvest Moon Lil’ Farmers! on the way (hopefully not terrible)
  • PS: A new Story of Seasons game hit earlier this year as well :)

Am I missing anything? Lots of magic on the port/re-make front, and SoS was an excellent game.

Beyond Light of Hope, how do you generally feel about the Harvest Moon franchise under Natsume's guidance? Ever since Marvelous Entertainment started publishing the Bokujou monogatari games as part of the "Story of Seasons" series in North America and Europe and Natsume capitalized on their ownership of the Harvest Moon name to develop their own games, I can't say the results have been particularly compelling from where I'm standing.

To briefly review the events that led to this split for those who are like me and didn't become aware of the situation until a couple years after it initially unfolded...

Bokujou monogatari / Harvest Moon / Story of Seasons - The Split:

To begin, Marvelous Entertainment -- who previously developed the games under its now-absorbed subsidiary Marvelous Interactive, which in turn was previously known as Victor Interactive Software -- develops the Bokujou monogatari series in Japan, which has been known as Harvest Moon in North America until 2014.

"Bokujou monogatari" could be more closely translated as “Farm Story” or “Farm Tale" but for whatever reason it was called Harvest Moon back when the original Super Nintendo game was localized. So, Natsume published the Bokujou monogatari series in North America for years under the localized title Harvest Moon.

HOWEVER, in 2014 Marvelous decided that their own subsidiary publisher XSEED games would take over publishing in North America, but Natsume held -- and still holds to this day -- the rights to the Harvest Moon series name, so Marvelous is NOT allowed to use it. This is why the Bokujou monogatari series has been rebranded as “Story of Seasons” outside of Japan, and also why you simultaneously have games like Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley published by Natsume but made by a developer other than Marvelous, coming out in North America and Europe.

I know that this in itself is old news, but I recall when I was out of games for a while and stumbled upon "Story of Seasons" at Wal-Mart, and thought it was a cheap knock-off of the HM series. Little did I know. (-.-) Anyways, it's interesting how this situation emerged and one can only hope that Light of Hope will be a strong entry in the "new" HM stream to maintain the franchise's legacy. After all, having two series of farming games is better than one if they kick ass!

So, what are your thoughts on Harvest Moon vs. Story of Seasons, and the odd situation that led to this division?

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About Charlesone of us since 5:19 PM on 10.20.2008

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