Did You Know Story of Seasons is the Real New Harvest Moon?

Harvest Moon: The Last Valley may not be the game you expect.

Harvest Moon has been a staple of the gaming landscape since its initial release in 1996 for the Super Nintendo. Traditionally it's been published under Natsume, but the company's recent release, Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, isn't what you think it is -- and neither is XSEED Games' Story of Seasons.

Let's lay some groundwork first: The Harvest Moon series is called Bokujou Monogatari in Japan, where the series is developed. To avoid confusion, from here on the traditional series is going to be called Bokujou Monogatari. You'll see why momentarily.

There are two types of Harvest Moon fans: Those that knew Natsume had lost publishing rights, and those that didn't. And if you know they lost publishing rights, you know Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley is not a real Bokujou Monogatari game.

Bokujou Monogatari, the series traditionally known as Harvest Moon in the West, is now being published by XSEED Games under the name Story of Seasons. This is XSEED's first (and hopefully not last) published game in the series.

The confusion between The Lost Valley and Story of Seasons stems from Natsume losing the series publishing rights, but still holding onto the name trademark -- meaning Bokujou Monogatari published by XSEED needed a different name.

Some may see Natsume's continuation of the Harvest Moon name despite not having publishing rights for the Marvelous AQL series may see their move to retain the name as a bit underhanded. After all: How many people have been confused by the name change so far? Judging by the questions of my friends, a lot.

Natsume has only been known for Harvest Moon in the past, and releasing the trademark to XSEED could only spell bad news for Natsume. And who knows, maybe Natsume's next self-developed Harvest Moon game will surpass The Lost Valley.

In the meantime, if you like the modern Harvest Moon/Bokujou Monogatari series pre-The Lost Valley, give Story of Seasons a shot. It may have an ungodly long tutorial, but it is probably the relief to the Harvest Moon itch that The Lost Valley couldn't give.

Published Apr. 6th 2015

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