Jesse Woo
Story of Seasons Producer Talks Design Tweaks to Storied Series
Nurturing a fan base is like raising a prized crop.
04.05.15 - 1:19 AM

Yoshifumi Hashimoto, the producer behind all the Harvest Moon games except the latest Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, has shared a heartfelt note to fans of the series in the run up to his newest game, Story of Seasons (don't worry, you're not the only one confused by the titles). Referring to the series by its Japanese name Bokujo Monogatari, Hashimoto shared his reflections on 18 years of the franchise as well as new features in Story of Seasons.

To our fans:

Over eighteen years ago, we were inspired to create a game that was not about battling fantastic monsters but about the cycle of life. At the time, there was little corporate interest in a farming simulation about the natural cycle of life and death. But over the course of the many games in the Bokujo Monogatari series, millions of players grew crops, raised animals, and perhaps even learned about the life of a farmer, who takes care of a farm top to bottom with his own two hands.

In the games, the lives of the players’ crops and animals depend on his or her hard work. I feel this helps players understand how life and death are intertwined with one another. Though we have a new name, Story of Seasons is much the same—if we don’t keep tending to the game and trying to make it better, it could wither on the vine. In this case, I believe that Story of Seasons will not wither, but will in fact flourish. I believe we’ve created a new and evolved game that continues our legacy, and is healthy and ripe for enjoyment.

However, my high hopes for Story of Seasons are not based solely on the new features that we’ve implemented. Our fans have played a paramount role throughout our entire eighteen years with the series, including the time that has followed our initial reveal of Story of Seasons. Fans have nourished this new crop we’ve planted with the waters of dedication and the fertilizer of enthusiasm, and I could not be more humbled by and thankful for the support I have seen across the world from the wonderful players of the Bokujo Monogatari series.

I can confidently assure you that Story of Seasons could not have happened without our fans, which is why we’ve done our best to ensure that both seasoned players and newcomers alike will be pleased with this fresh experience. We’ve kept the interests of our fans in mind throughout every step of the game’s development, and I hope you will conclude that we were successful in this endeavor once you have had a chance to take in Story of Seasons.

One feature I would like to highlight is our newly introduced Seedling mode, which makes basic tasks less stamina-consuming, and thus less time-consuming. It’s designed for both novice farmers and those who play to focus on other aspects — developing romantic relationships, customizing their farm, sharing with friends, competing and showing off their animals and produce, and so on. We’ve also added a Safari Park so players can bring the wildlife of many different lands together for the town to enjoy. Ultimately, the game takes what we have learned about player enjoyment throughout the years and weaves it into a new experience that builds on past titles and fan favorites. There is even a guest appearance from the Super Mario Bros. franchise, which I am personally a fan of. You can plant and harvest Super Mushroom, Fire Flower and Super Star!

I hope you will agree that this new chapter of the Bokujo Monogatari series is its most enjoyable yet, and that you will continue to lend us your support once Story of Seasons arrives in your hands. I can sincerely say I am excited and eager to have our fans experience a wonderful new world that provides all the familiar qualities we’ve built over the years.

With warmest regards,

Yoshifumi Hashimoto

Story of Seasons is out now in North America and Japan for the 3DS. A European release date has not been announced.