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Natsume on how Harvest Moon almost didn’t come west, more Lost Valley details

Posted on June 13, 2014 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, News

Thanks to a preview from Polygon, we now have more details about Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley. There are also quotes from Natsume’s Graham Markay as well as president CEO Yasuhiro “Hiro” Maekawa, who even touched on topics such as how the Harvest Moon series almost didn’t come west.

Check out our summary of Polygon’s report below. You can also read the site’s full preview here.

“I came across the first Japanese farming simulation game in 1996. At the time, I was operating Natsume Inc. all by myself, and I had a chance to publish that farming simulation game in America. Because I was a newcomer to the big video game industry at that time, I wasn’t too sure about which games [to publish]. So I decided to check with my friends to see how they thought about the game.”

– Maekawa brought the game to his friends working at other video game companies in Japan
– The response was not quite what he expected

“To my surprise, everybody said, ‘This is such a boring game!’ ‘Don’t bring this boring game to the American market, if you do it, it will be a certain mistake!’ But I said to myself, America is a huge farming country, so there might be potential to grow. And at the same time, for some reason, my instinct told me it might be a good idea.”

– Harvest Moon’s name was inspired by what Maekawa feels is the core of the game
– This is hard working people being rewarded for doing so
– Maekawa wanted to develop games that showed people how success and good fortune comes from working hard

– Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley has players helping restore the coming of the four seasons to the the titular vale, which has been shrouded in snow
– The game mixes familiar old mechanics with a handful of new ones
– Can customize fields and the entire swath of farmland
– Pick and choose what crops and animals to raise
– The game offers “the greatest amount of freedom ever in a Harvest Moon game”
– Can now dig wells, and then dig lakes and waterfalls as deep and wide as players want
– Build hills and mountains
– Can customize the layout of the valley
– Farming system has been redone to allow for more tools and opportunities to use them
– Farming system will move and shape the layout of the environment as players cultivate the land
– Don’t have to rummage in a rucksack to find the items you need
– The game will now automatically call up items players use in the situations where they will need them
– Gives veteran players the same task-packed experience without alienating series newcomers
– Natsume has made it easier for players to jump into the game and build whatever they want
– They’ve also reworked the control scheme to smooth out the game’s user interface and give players an easier, more comfortable set of button commands

“The button system was one of the things that was mainly looked at for the 3DS – how can you use these buttons and each of these functions so that not pushing one button for a variety of different functions and getting lost? Certain buttons are dedicated to certain things so players can develop a memory map.” – Markay

“You won’t be lost in this game. You will know exactly how to play, we’ve made it very user-friendly.” – Maekawa

As for the game’s lasting popularity, which has allowed the series to grow by more then 30 games in 18 years, Yasuhiro Maekawa said that although not everyone spends all their time in the field, players of all walks of life can relate to the idea of working hard to achieve something. Farming is also one of the most important industries in the world, so the idea of getting your hands dirty raising crops and working the land appeals to human nature on a basic level.

“Harvest Moon actually touches on a common world — farming. This game has something in common worldwide, farming simulation and relationships. Those concepts are accepted in both markets.” – Maekawa

“Not everyone farms, but it’s that idea of hard work that gets rewarded that appeals to people. That applies to anyone anywhere in the world.” – Markay

“These games are non-violent, family-oriented, peaceful and slow. They show a slow lifestyle. That kind of thing is appealing to everyone. Some people like fighting games but maybe other people don’t like them. But these peaceful games appeal to an audience worldwide because they are just that.” – Maekawa


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