There's some exciting news for Harvest Moon fans: after fourteen long years, you may soon be able to return to Mineral Town, one of the most beloved settings in the series. Marvelous Inc. has just announced a Nintendo Switch remake of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and its counterpart Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town. The new game, Reunion in Mineral Town, will be a full 3D remake of the original Gameboy Advance titles.
Famitsu featured a two-page spread detailing Marvelous’ announcement in its most recent issue as well as some gameplay images showcasing the protagonist of FoMT, Pete, in action. From the looks of it, the new game will give players the choice between playing as a boy or a girl— like more recent Harvest Moon titles— whereas the originals split this option between the two games (the player character being a boy in FoMT and a girl in MFoMT).
Players will also be able to choose either the classic FoMT/MFoMT protagonists’ appearances or new alternate designs - and it’s not just the protagonists who are getting a makeover. With the announcement showing updated redesigns of characters Popuri, Karen, Rick, and Cliff, it’s safe to say all NPCs are going to be revamped in the remake. The bottom right corner of the spread also seems to tease at the addition of some brand new characters.
With all that said, North American Harvest Moon fans might have to hold their breath a little longer. While the remake is slated to release in Japan on October 17th under the original title Bokujou Monogatari: Saikai no Mineral Town (Ranch Story: Mineral Town of Reunion), there’s no telling when— or if— it’ll be coming to North America.
Long-time Harvest Moon fans will remember the licensing kerfuffle in 2014, when Marvelous Inc. stopped licensing the Bokujou Monogatari series to Natsume and opted instead to have Xseed Games publish its games in North America. However, Natsume still held onto the rights to the “Harvest Moon” brand, effectively forcing Marvelous Inc. and Xseed to distribute new Bokujou Monogatari games under a new title, Story of Seasons.
As Natsume continues to release Harvest Moon games to compete with Story of Seasons, it probably doesn't have any intentions of letting go of its monopoly on the Harvest Moon brand (despite the fact that these new releases haven’t done as well without the creative direction of the original developers).
It’s likely that it'll object to Marvelous attempting to distribute a game that is a remake of titles it technically still hold rights to in North America, even if the remake is released as a Story of Seasons game. Whether this potential conflict will turn out in Marvelous’s favour or Natsume’s, North American fans will just have to wait and see.