The trend (mania?) of farming simulators and farming-enhanced life sims and RPG adventures isn’t starting in 2022. It could even be argued that the 2020 lockdown doesn’t have much to do with it, as Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, Farming Simulator, Harvest Moon/Seasons stories or Rune Factory have built serious fans there for so many years. However, since Gamescom and the recent Nintendo Direct reveal a month ago, we can really talk about the unstoppable bloom of these games, because there have been so many announcements that we’ve lost the count.
Many of these games have blossomed in Marvelous Entertainment Office, which is why we visited them to chat with director and producer Shiro Maekawa about all things Rune Factory. Now, A Tale of Seasons: The Good Life is indeed sprouting up on Nintendo Switch in 2023, and the same year Rune Factory 3 Special will see the original on the same platform with new features, not to mention “new runes” Factory Series” is being presented. But to keep the focus, we’re mostly talking about Rune Factory 5, which launched on Nintendo’s hybrid system in late March and then on Steam earlier this summer.
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“We deeply regret making our fans wait so long for the latest issue,” Maekawayama said in a video about the decade that has passed since RF4. “When it came out in March, it was hugely popular, and we just released it on Steam, so we’re happy that our user base is intact and we look forward to sharing more with you today.
Same-sex marriage was highlighted as one of the main features when the Western adaptation of Rune Factory 5 was announced a year ago, so we asked Japanese producers about the acceptance of this inclusive option.
“Of course, as always, there were some negative voices, but in Japan, we felt most of the feedback was very positive, and we also knew from previous Rune Factory installments that this is really what players want to see in the game, And we thought that had to be included in Rune Factory 5 from the start, especially abroad, and it’s been there since then,” Maekawa said.
Also, when the protagonist joined a peacekeeping organization called SEED, we wondered how this echoed with the current global situation:
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“Yeah, of course, you’re absolutely right, the global environment is a bit unstable at the moment, the Rune Factory series has always been this very enthusiastic, peace-loving environment, so we hope this is their little escape to bring players back to this peace-loving environment environment, so we want our users to continue their quest to become these peacekeeping rangers.
The same can be said for those who use fantasy and farming games to escape reality during the pandemic:
“Of course, during lockdown, there were a lot of games that did well during that time because people wanted to be in another world, but for the Rune Factory series it was also very literal because it was actually another One world, you’re doing these daily tasks, farming and everything, and completing tasks, so we really wanted to take players to another world and help them escape the hardships of the real world.
However, the Japanese producer is still not ready to talk about the mysterious “New Rune Factory series” that will be announced soon:
“It’s been about ten years since our last mainline release, and we feel that the user base has really embraced it well, and we feel that a lot of users really like what they’re seeing”, when asked about the future Potential new entries and the idea of Rune Factory’s online shared world, Maekawayama said. “So, within Marvelous, we also want to continue to grow the series, so we want you to stay tuned for more announcements, and we want to keep you informed about future events in the series.
But with so much farming, we haven’t talked about what makes Rune Factory special: its fantasy RPG aspect. There are monsters and magic, but our favorite is that you can farm…on dragons:
“I’ve been a producer since the special edition of Rune Factory 4, so I can’t talk too much about what the producers of Rune Factory 1 thought at the time,” when asked about farming on Longshan, Maekawa smiled. “But really, the fantasy setting of everything originally came from[收穫月亮]Seasonal Story, we really wanted to continue developing Seasonal Story, but add an RPG element, so that’s why the Rune Factory series came alive afterwards. Adding these RPG elements, expanding our user base and really finding new players to enjoy, that’s why it’s a season story in a new setting.
Have you already played Rune Factory 5 and are you looking forward to playing any of the upcoming farming games?