For decades, the Harvest Moon franchise was the go-to franchise for RPG and sim fans who wanted to try their hand at virtual farming, but that seemed to change in 2015. Xseed’s Story of Seasons emerged, quickly taking that spot from Natsume’s venerable series, though it was less a shocking twist and more balance being maintained. In Japan, both Story of Seasons and the Harvest Moon games are sold under the Bokujo Monogatari name and both are developed by Marvelous. The only real difference is that with Story of Seasons, Marvelous used its own US publishing arm, Xseed, while Natsume retained rights to the Harvest Moon name outside of Japan and continued on with the franchise using different developers. Considering this confusing set of circumstances, it is somewhat surprising that the transitions occurred so effectively, though Xseed believes there is very good reason Story of Seasons not just doing well, but becoming its best selling game ever.
“It could’ve been called anything in English and fans would still know right off the bat that regardless of what it says on the cover, the game they’re playing is Bokujo Monogatari,” explained Xseed localizer Tom Lipschultz. “With all the good will this series has built up over the years, and the consistent level of quality seen in the games that bear its name, it only stands to reason it would sell well.”
Beyond the quality of the game, I think it’s also safe to assume that dedication of the fan-base played a pretty big role because, and let’s be honest, the people who have kept the series going haven’t done so casually. The franchise has always been something of a niche, oftentimes flying under the radar of mainstream gaming culture. In order to stay up to date the fans have had educate themselves about the games, so when things got mixed up during the publisher transition, most of the fans were likely well aware. Ultimately, it just goes to show that gamers reward their favorite developers with commitment and loyalty, even if means having to do a little homework.
Source: Nintendo Everything