The latest in the string of Harvest Moon games from Natsume Inc. has just been announced. Harvest Moon: One World, coming to Switch autumn 2020, will update the long-running franchise with a new engine and graphical style.
Set in a world that has lost all knowledge of farming and cultivating crops, players will embark on an adventure to restore the agricultural ways of old. Armed with an ancient tome that tells of tomatoes, cabbages, strawberries and the like, players will journey far and wide, spreading the message of agriculture while making a life for themselves and forging relationships along the way.
Hiro Maekawa, CEO of Natsume, states that the upcoming game "features a brand-new way of exploring Harvest Moon that seasoned players and new generations will both enjoy" and that his studio is "excited to share more about the features of Harvest Moon: One World in the coming months".
Interestingly, this announcement has sparked a (rather complicated) degree of outrage among many long-time fans. While the 'Harvest Moon' series from Natsume used to be mere western localisations of the Japanese Bokujo Monogatari series. The studio lost the rights to produce such games in 2014, leaving XSeed Games in charge of future localisation efforts under the Story of Seasons name.
However, despite losing the rights to localise the Bokujo Monogatari series, Natsume retained the rights to the title 'Harvest Moon', and has since continued producing what many perceive as 'copycat' games under the title. Not only do some fans see these games as a betrayal of the Story of Seasons franchise they know and love, but many of the changes and innovations these 'unofficial' Harvest Moon games introduce are criticised for missing the appeal of the original games.
In defence, Natsume reminds players that the studio has always innovated from title to title, even before the split of 2014. Still, judging by the more positive reception of the recent Story of Seasons games in comparison to Harvest Moon, these innovations are less than welcome. It'll be exciting to see how the new additions to One World affect overall opinion of the modern Harvest Moon franchise.
Harvest Moon: One World is planned for release autumn 2020 exclusively on Switch.