The news is out. Harvest Moon is now in the hands of XSEED, because Marvelous AQL wants its North American branch to handle the series from here on out, even if that means changing the name of Harvest Moon: Connect to a New World to Story of Seasons . To that, I have to say this: hallelujah!
Yes, I’m glad that Harvest Moon has been taken out of Natsume’s hands, even if it means there’ll be a bit of confusion for an installment or two, while people adjust to the series having a new name outside of Japan. Because, while I appreciate Natsume having handled the series since the original Harvest Moon on the SNES in 1996, the company honestly didn’t do the best job with the series.
I mean, there were almost always delays. Sometimes, with Natsume, you wouldn’t even know when a Harvest Moon game would be released, until a few weeks or days before it appeared on store shelves. And even if you did have an idea of a release window, it was tentative at best. No one really knew when the next Harvest Moon game would be released, and it was more likely than not it would be delayed. XSEED is known for being pretty good about getting games out when they promise, and are upfront if a delay seems likely, which means when they say Story of Seasons will be out later this year, it will definitely be out before 2014 ends.
Still, Natsume’s tainted Harvest Moon history didn’t just involve delays. There were other problems too. Which made it all the more frustrating when Natsume would finally put out a Harvest Moon game, but then we’d find it was filled with problems. The least of which would be translation issues. Though there is a lot of text in the games, they aren’t terribly challenging in terms of translation or localization, but it still wouldn’t be uncommon to find awkward sentences, and various grammatical and spelling errors. Meanwhile, XSEED is known for being awesome when it comes to game localization, which means Story of Seasons will read perfectly.
Though, the biggest problem with Natsume’s Harvest Moon releases were the glitches. I think the only installment in the series I’ve played without running into a glitch that crashed my game or, worse, corrupted my save file, is Harvest Moon: A New Beginning . Even then, I’m chalking that up more to the fact that I only invested 23 hours in it, than faith in Natsume stepping up. The series is known for having all kinds of bugs and glitches, some of which only appear in the North American releases. With XSEED being part of Marvelous AQL, I have a lot more confidence that Story of Seasons won’t have gamebreaking problems. If there is something wrong, I feel that XSEED wouldn’t release the game without touching base with the original developers to make things right.
Really, I think this is all going to be for the best. It’s sad that this is an end of an era. Harvest Moon has been a Natsume staple for years. But, I think it will be better for the series and the fans for XSEED to be in charge of things now.