Details of a new Rune Factory game for the 3DS have been announced in this week’s Famitsu. Like the other games in the series, it is being developed by Neverland Company.
Players can choose between a male and female character, named Lest and Frey respectively. Both characters start with amnesia and the ability to communicate with dragons, and they live as a prince or princess for the time being. Instead of jumping straight from being friends to being a wedded couple, you can date someone (or more than one someone) for a time period. Producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto claimed that there would be some heartwarming moments, as well as some that are “quite embarrassing.”
You can place crops anywhere rather than being limited by a grid. You can also recruit monsters while dungeon crawling and raise them on your farm. In addition to your usual crop tending, you can also accrue prince/princess points and use them to create buildings (blacksmith, ornament building, or pharmacy), with the goal being to attract tourists. Your character gets a ranking based on how many people come.
Rune Factory 4 is at 50% completion and expected to be released in Japan at some time this year.
Analysis: I was first introduced to the series through Rune Factory Frontier, and while I was a bit late to the party for both Harvest Moon and Rune Factory, I grew to enjoy them. The option to choose between a male or female character seems a bit prolonged in coming given that Harvest Moon has had the option in some entries. The dating aspect seems as though it could lead to some entertaining and potentially mushy scenes. I’ll be watching this one to see how this develops, and this may well help motivate me to get a 3DS.