In mid-July, a remake for Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town will be released on the Switch. If you’re wondering why it is now referred to Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, the short answer is that the games now go by their original Japanese title as a different company is responsible for their localization. With that in mind, here are five features I think you should know about the Friends of Mineral Town remake before it launches in America and Europe in a few months.
1) New Art Style
The first thing on this list is probably the most obvious, but also one of the most important. As you can see from the above screenshot, the game has decided to go for a more chibi artstyle a la entries like Magical Melody. To be honest, I think it’s a little underwhelming for a game that’s coming out in 2020, but it is of course, significantly better than it’s 2003 Gameboy Advanced original. Many of the character sprites have be redesigned as well. I think Thomas the Mayor (seen above in the red top hat) has a redesign that is faithful to the original, but different and unique at the same time. Other characters though are arguably given a worse redesign. I don’t think any of them that I’ve seen so far are terrible though. Overall, I’d say the new art style is a mixed bag. Some aspects of it are an upgrade, some a downgrade. But of course, your opinion on it will largely come down to personal preference and who you liked in the original version.
2) New Playable Characters
It was a fairly common occurrence for Harvest Moon games to launch with a version in which you could only play as a male character, only to release an updated version of the game in which you could only play as a female character. Friends of Mineral Town/More Friends of Mineral Town. A Wonderful Life/Another Wonderful Life. Harvest Moon DS/Harvest Moon DS Cute. Eventually, the games started to just let players choose what gender they wanted to be. This change has been implemented into the remake of Friends of Mineral Town. However, this time around, two new playable characters were also added, one male and one female. Additionally, you can change the skin tone of the character you select. While certainly not as robust as a character creator, it allows for far more choice than was allowed in the original game.
3) New Marriage Candidates
Every marriage candidate from the original game is back and is able to be married again. However, this time around, two new candidates have been added to the game. There is Brandon, a woodcarver that works alongside Gotz the carpenter. There is also Jennifer, a woman who lives by the lake after leaving the city in order to be in more touch with nature.
4) Gay Marriage
In Harvest Moon DS Cute, there were a few female marriage candidates from the original game that could still be married as a woman. This was the first time gay relationships were in a Harvest Moon game. This ended up being swept under the rug, so to speak, by declaring the two characters “best friends” even though they lived with each other and could adopt a child together. That euphemism apparently wasn’t good enough for Natsume, the localization team, however, and ability to marry them was removed in the North American version of the game. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time Western localization had removed references to LGBT characters, and the feature was never seen again until now. The Japanese release of the game kept the “best friend” nomenclature, but the American release of the game decided to call it marriage. And unlike DS Cute, this feature is now available to all marriage candidates and is open to male player characters.
5) New Animals
Finally, while the remake still has the animal staples you would expect, such as cows, sheep, and chickens, a few new types of animals have been added for you to raise. New types of cows have been added which include strawberry cows, fruit cows, and coffee cows. Brown chickens also join the traditional white chickens. Finally, rabbits and alpaca have been added. The new cows simply produce different types of milk. The rabbits and alpacas presumably just provide a different type of fur/wool to use.