Harvest Moon, you sure have come a long way. What started as little more than a farming/life simulation game for the Super Nintendo has spawned into a cultural phenomenon. Featuring 14 titles in the main series and a number of spin-offs stretching across almost every console and handheld system, the Harvest Moon series has sold millions in North America alone and does not have any plans of slowing down. What’s the secret to such a successful franchise? The President and CEO of Natsume, Hiro Maekawa, reflected that they “couldn’t be happier that the series has caught on with so many fans. It’s their tremendous enthusiasm and support that has kept the series growing and evolving over these past ten years.”
Natsume isn’t celebrating this landmark birthday quietly either. They’re releasing two new Harvest Moon games, Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness and Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility, for the Nintendo DS and the Nintendo Wii respectively. Additionally, plush toys of the different animals from the various games will be made and given away as pre-order bonuses. Rounding out the collectible items marking the anniversary will be a Harvest Moon DS Lite Kit, which will include a stylus and protective cover among other things, and new strategy guides from BradyGames.
Island of Happiness starts out as you have shipwrecked on a deserted island, finding an old deserted farm, and having to turn the once empty island into a thriving town. Players can choose between life as a boy or girl, and the game supports the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection for multiplayer modes. The premise for Tree of Tranquility is that the lifeblood of your town, the Mother Tree, has disappeared, and along with it the Harvest Goddess. It’s your task to tend to the earth until the Mother Tree can be reborn.
Both titles will be shown off at the E3 next week, and are slated for a summer release in the US.