Natsume Talks Switch and the Harvest Moon Split

The publisher’s CEO reflects on the farming series on its 20th anniversary.

By Jon Stevens. Posted 07/12/2017 15:45 Comment on this     ShareThis

With June 2017 marking the 20th anniversary of the Harvest Moon series in North America, its publisher’s CEO recently took some time to reflect on the series’ journey over the last twenty years.

Speaking to, Hiro Maekawa explained how a mix up of intellectual property rights led to the split between the Harvest Moon name and what would become the Story of Seasons games. While Natsume helped localize the series outside of Japan from the 90s onwards and owned the rights to the name Harvest Moon (the series was released in Japan under the name Bokujo Monogatari), it was developed by a separate Japanese developer. When the Japanese developer was acquired by Marvelous, this partnership continued until 2014, when Marvelous decided to release games in the West through its own subsidiary, XSEED Games.

This led to Natsume retaining the rights to the Harvest Moon brand and the original developer going on to create the Story of Seasons games. While we already knew most of the details surrounding the split, it’s interesting to hear it from Natsume firsthand, and it’s well worth reading the full interview here.

Maekawa also touched on Natsume’s next Harvest Moon game, Harvest Moon: Light of Hope, which is coming to Switch in 2018. With recent Harvest Moon games released on either 3DS or mobile devices, Maekawa goes on to say how:

Nintendo has now shifted their energy to Switch… At this point, I don’t think they are interested in DS titles. And our customers aren’t interested in DS titles either. They are losing their interest in 3DS titles as well, simply because of Switch. Everybody’s talking about Switch, Switch, Switch! So Switch will be not only the next big handheld, but also a console platform. Either way.”

There has been 32 Harvest Moon games over the years and, with the Story of Seasons series and the runaway success Stardew Valley, Natsume now has much more competition in the farming sim genre (something that Maekawa directly addresses).

Sure enough, with Stardew Valley coming to Switch in 2017, it will be interesting to see whether Natsume can breath new life into the longrunning series with its next Harvest Moon game.


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