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Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day.

Few franchises are as confusing to follow as the Harvest Moon series. Each game follows the same basic premise of starting a new life as a farmer in a small town but when they all have different titles and some are remakes while some are new entries, it can be tough to follow. It doesn’t make things easier when the franchise branches off due to licensing issues and now there are essentially two Harvest Moon series going on at once. Today, is the first game in one of those branches. Today’s game is Story of Seasons, developed by Marvelous AQL and released on the 3DS in 2014.

Before we jump into the game itself, let’s talk about the name for a moment. Despite the name change in the west, Story of Seasons in Japan is still called Bokujo Monogatari, the same name the series has had throughout its history. In the west, however, the developer Marvelous, decided to work with XSEED, instead of the rights owners Natsume. Thus, the long time developers of Harvest Moon could no longer use the Harvest Moon name. It was decided to change the name to Story of Seasons. So, despite Natsume releasing their own Harvest Moon game, The Lost Valley, on the 3DS in the same year, that game is a western exclusive and Story of Seasons is the true successor to Harvest Moon. It’s all quite confusing but hey, that’s IP for you.

So, Story of Seasons. While there may have been a lot of legal turmoil around the game, it actually does little to break the mold from previous Harvest Moon games. The player character starts off hearing about a town needing farmers and jumps at the opportunity to change their life. Players can choose to play as a boy or girl and has the option to change their appearance in a number of different ways throughout the game with different hair styles and accessories.

The major change is a focus on international trade, rather than the simple economics used in most previous games. Oak Tree Town is a small town but has aspirations of being a leader in global trade. Players sell their grown crops at a Trade Station where they can sell to a number of different countries. Each country has different needs and prices so selling to the correct country and managing those economics is key. As the town grows, new vendors will set up shop, allowing greater access to seeds and items. 

Story of Seasons also allows players to create an exotic animal ranch, caring for animals such as parrots and monkeys. They can then setup a safari allowing people to tour their ranch and all of its wildlife.

Story of Seasons takes advantage of the 3DS hardware in a couple of ways as well. The 3DS StreetPass feature allows players to trade farm data and people you’ve passed may show up in your town. Story of Seasons also has a direct multiplayer mode although this is not a full cooperative mode. It functions much like Animal Crossing in that you can visit someone else’s town, help their crops a little bit, but time will not pass until you end the multiplayer game.

Story of Seasons sold quite well, dramatically outselling Natsume’s Harvest Moon game that same year. The series has continued with the most recent game in the west being Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns in 2016.

Thank you so much for listening! For more facts on Story of Seasons, follow me on Twitter @vg_oftheday. Check for archives and transcripts. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day.

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Devin "Katosepe" Sloane is a long time gamer and host of the show Video Game of the Day. He firmly believes Darklands is the pinnacle of gaming achievement and this is a hill he will die upon. Where his nickname came from is a secret to everybody.