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XSEED shares more insight on the Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons rebrand

Clearing up confusion

The Harvest Moon franchise went on for years and years with the Harvest Moon name, and then one day it switched over to Story of Seasons. While the change has been discussed a few times, many fans are still in the dark as to why the swap came about. In an interview with GamesBeat, XSEED's Ken Berry aims to explain the situation in full.

...it’s basically our parent company Marvelous Japan, and their previous publishing partner, Natsume of America. Natsume had the trademark for the name Harvest Moon, when they decided to change the Japanese name of Bokujō Monogatari to something more appropriate for the West. And from what I can gather, that may have been a business practice that was more common in the ’90s, when people didn’t really know too much about the international market and you will let your partner handle everything.

But I believe, as time went on and development budgets climbed, and you’re looking at spending millions of dollars per title, our Japanese parent company Marvelous wanted full control of their own IP worldwide. And if their U.S. publishing partner who trademarked the English name wouldn’t give them back that English name, I think they wanted to go with a different brand that they have full control over. Despite knowing how much equity and love people had for that well-known title Harvest Moon, which, Natsume admittedly did a great job building up over the years. So I think you can sort of see both companies’ standpoints on why Marvelous wouldn’t want that English name as their own IP, as well as Natsume having basically taken that series of farming game back in the 90s, probably people laughed at that thought at first. Having really grown the series, they probably want to hold on to the trademark name.

Comments

Natsume brought over a series of farming games that every other publisher thought would fail. When they showed up with Harvest Moon SNES at E3 1996 some of the other publishers laughed at them and told them it was a bad idea. Over the years they grew it into a niche but much loved series by their fanbase. Their localization quality was usually lacking but just the fact we could play them in English made the fanbase happy. Nobody else was willing to give the series a chance.

Natsume certainly deserves credit for giving the series a shot when no one else would, but it's still a shame that after they lost the publishing rights to the "Farming Story" series internationally they weren't able to make "Harvest Moon" games that retained the quality of "Farming Story" which is now "Story of Seasons" over here. What makes it more of a shame is that people who have no idea that "classic Harvest Moon" is now "Story of Seasons" and that the "modern Harvest Moon" is not related to the classic series are left wondering "geez what the hell happened to the quality of this franchise?", not knowing the franchise they love is still around just under a new name.

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