First Pick A Character, Then Fall In Love In Rune Factory 4

By Spencer . June 29, 2011 . 3:11am

imageRune Factory 4 has two protagonists; you can choose Les, a male lead, or Frey who is female. Both appear to have the same origin story, which involves your losing their memory. Les and Frey also have the uncanny ability to communicate with dragons and at the start of the story live life as a temporary prince or princess.


Marvelous developed a system around this where players spend prince or princess points to construct buildings. You can create a blacksmith, ornament building, or pharmacy. Buildings draw in tourists and your character gets a rating depending on how many people show up. "Beginner Prince" is the starting title. While you’re on the field, you can explore Rune Factory 4’s 3D maps and place crops anywhere. You aren’t limited to a grid in this game.


The biggest addition may be the sweetheart system. In past Rune Factory titles you would go from being friends to getting married. In Rune Factory 4 there’s a period in between where your character can be sweethearts with other characters. Yes, plural. It’s possible to date multiple guys or girls. Rune Factory 4 also keeps track of exciting moments while you’re dating. A feature called Doki Doki Zoom (doki doki is the onomatopoeia of a beating heart in Japanese) zooms in on scenes so you can see the facial expressions of the characters. You can take dates on picnics too and if you’re lucky you might get a love confession.


Rune Factory 4 is 50% complete and slated for release in Japan this year on Nintendo 3DS.

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  • all my money
    take it now

  • DanteJones

    I feel kind of bad for the main characters of these games, the constant memory loss has gotta suck.

    The prince/princess points sound pretty cool though. It’d be interesting to see if they’ll let you build other things beyond the main crafting skills, like a machine that you can put near crops to have them watered on a daily basis or something.

  • for some reminds me a little of Atelier Annie or Atelier Meruru
    still want much

    • puchinri

      Maybe because of using the points to construct stuff and getting points? Although that isn’t new per se, the fact that at least Meruru is a princess and there are some other similarities there does remind me of it now that I think about it. (But maybe you meant something else, since I didn’t play and know nothing of Annie.)

      • well Annie was about building stuffs and attracting customers as a way to get more money to build more stuffs XD
        you should try Atelier Annie if you had a chance its fun

        • puchinri

          Ahh, I see. It does sound quite similar then. x’D
          I think I will~. I was really pulled in by Atelier Marie and Elie and wanted to try them, and while the recent stuff (Rorona/Totori/Meruru) looks good, the change in style is kinda sad. Annie reminds me a lot of Marie and Elie though, so I think I’ll give it a try first~.

  • This has to get an American release! I want this game so badly, but I still have yet to play the third. Is it even worth it guys? I’ve heard mixed reviews. =( I’ve played the first two and Frontier so I’d figure I’d like the third but I don’t know. Can anyone lend some help?

    • DanteJones

      The third one is pretty g’dang amazing. Out of all of them Frontier and RF3 are my favorites. Although RF3 can get a little, er, easy at times lol.

      • andref

        Well I was glad RF3 let you up the difficulty after your first fight

    • Mixed reviews? What were the negative points you heard? The way I hear it (and tell it myself from firsthand experience) is that 3 is the best in the series, and once you play it, it’s somewhat difficult to go back to 1 or 2.

    • The third is basically “much more of the same thing” imo. It expands on everything in the first two games. Characters feel more talkative, town feels livelier (sometimes a little too lively…), combat is better, it’s a faster game in general and so on. 

      But despite all that, there’s nothing that REALLY made it feel very fresh for me, personally. It starts out with the same old memory loss routine, and soon after, you’re doing the planting crops thing with no real story in place. 

      They did try to make some changes, but again, that depends on your taste. The fantasy element may’ve been stretched a bit too far; like, living in a giant tree just feels kind of…odd sometimes. The new village tends to feel a little overcrowded, too, with so many people running around all the time. There’s a lot to “do” in the game for sure, but I think the pacing felt “off”. There was no real sense of spontaneity or a sense of mystery like in the first RF (or even Frontier).

      I didn’t feel like there was a proper build-up…you’re just sort of thrown into the game and they expect that you know your way around, since it’s Rune Factory. Music felt a little lacking, too. Frontier had really nice catchy music (especially some of the caves), so I was expecting a bit more from RF3, hahaha. 

      Mmm…I guess I’d say it’s a “step up” but if you’re expecting more of “the next step,” you may not find that. Sorry if that all sounded like a bunch of nitpicky rubbish…I just woke up. ><

      • DanteJones

        Nah, that was a pretty good description Ishaan, NAISU! /thumbsup

        You just woke up? I’m about to go to sleep over here. XD

        • Literally just woke up, hahaha. I’m going to go make myself look human now.

          • You’re not human? D:! You heard it here first, folks.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        And we’re getting memory loss again — at this stage some one in production must think it the proper running joke. Hope the idea of multiple dates actually means you in practice aren’t forced to pretty well pick your conquest target right from the start.

        • Yea, I really hope they handle the memory loss a little differently this time around. The “passing out in front of random girl” thing is getting pretty old at this point. I’m waiting to see what the entire roster of characters looks like, too. It seems like every game looks a little “cuter” than the last. Personally, I liked the original RF (and Frontier) designs best.

          I remember Hashimoto telling us (it’s somewhere on the site) that with RF4, he wanted to focus on actually “living in a fantasy world” as opposed to just “fighting in a fantasy world,” which is something I’m super interested in seeing. I’d be happy if they can deliver on just that alone. 

          • andref

            Though I hope they don’t do the same marriage at the end like RF3, I had a hard time wanting to play with my character again to just do things like before. all I did was do bonus dungeons

          • RunePokegrl00


            U fight the bosses then get married instead of getting married, have kid u can play as then fight the bosses. In the pic: Raven, Micha in wooly form, Karina, and Sofia.

          • Vino (Tim N)

            I can’t wait to see the character designs as well. The original RF’s designs were my favorite as well. I was hoping they keep the “cute chibi” characters for Harvest Moon. I didn’t like playing as a kid from the get-go that much.

            And I wonder how the expressions work, it made me think that these characters were going to be 3D models like the recent Atelier games.

          • That could be really interesting, the enhanced-dating stuff. I’m all for allowing you to “maintain” a relationship after you’ve gotten into one. That’s something I feel like the Social Links in Persona could afford to do as well…actually let you maintain or evolve a relationship without having to jump into marriage.

            I guess we’ll find out soon enough about the models! But I agree, there is a pretty good chance that we’ll see them use models instead of portraits after what they said about expression in Rune Factory Oceans.

          • Vino (Tim N)

            The Rune Factory 4 site has opened, and it has the male and female leads on the page ヽ(゜∇゜)ノ


            and an ds:overclock one

      • I think they are just trying to make the memory loss a tradition on RF games… Sadly, it was already too used before, so i dont think it’s that good.

        Not that i care as long as the main story is good mind you xD

        AND I WILL BE A PRINCE OMFGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG, will i even need to woo girls? I mean, im a friking prince

  • After just finishing RF3 about a month ago, I want want want this game

  • Somazu

    I really cannot wait for this. Too bad it’ll probably not come to europe untill a year after an american release. oh how i loathe thee, 3ds region lock!

  • puchinri

    It sounds. Pretty sad that it’s a portable game, but looking forward to it. As if I didn’t have enough reasons to get a 3DS. And hopefully, this time the ratio for bachelors to bachelorettes isn’t as poor as 1:3.

  • Great I was wondering when RF moves to 3DS.  I cannot wait for Tides of Destiny and this would make a nice game to own once I get a 3DS.

  • *crosses fingers for yuri*

    the romances also seem more in-depth too!

  • omg omg omg!!! I want this now!!!
    So do we get to play as a female in this one too? :S

  • You can play as a girl now? Now I’m finally interested in this…

  • andref

    To be honest when hearing about building establishments it sounded like to me they took the Rune Factory on the Wii and transferred it with a new story and characters to the 3DS

  • raikage

    I dont’t really know what I should think about the build-a-city-thing…
    But it’s good that you can finally play as a girl (and no, I wouldn’t choose the girl, cause I’m not a girl).
    I just wonder how it would look like on the 3DS (graphics could be even better than the ones of Oceans (Wii-version of course).
    I’m surprised of the early release (it is only 50% done, so it will probably be finished in September in order to be released in December (or late November) which means they aren’t using much time for this which could have a bad effect on the game).

    • …What exactly does your real-life gender have to do with choosing an in-game character gender? Heck, I’m male and I choose female avatars all the time, if, for nothing else, because many developers tend to put in noticeably more effort into making girl characters look adorable. Of course, when they make the boy characters look nice, I pick them as well.

      • raikage

        You’re totally right, it has nothing to do with it, but I would like it more to play as a boy, than as a girl (and date boys xD).
        If the character is more look you, you can better identify with it.
        But that’s just my opinion. ^^

        • RunePokegrl00

          Playing as a boy in past HM games is boring. I want this game and HM cute….

  • KeyCross

    Frey.-“Um…who am I? Hey, there is a dragon attacking the townspeople!”
    Frey saves the town by yelling at the dragon.
    King.-“Oh, thank you for saving the kingdom. Please ask anything you want as a reward!”
    Frey.-“Ok, I want the land.”
    King.-“No problem, here, this farm is now your…”
    Frey.-“Oh no, I meant YOUR land. Want me to call the dragon?”
    King.-“…all right…”

    And so the story of RF 4 begins…

    • AzureNova

      I LOL’D hard at that XD!

      • RunePokegrl00

        Sounds funny! I want this game now if it was a ds game instead of 3ds

        • AzureNova

          Yeah, I have yet to buy a 3DS but with the price drop and all I might just get one lol

          • RunePokegrl00

            My mom’s friends kids have a 3ds…………… Maybe i can barrow theirs?

    • I’m pretty curious about how the story will start. Because I would assume passing on the role of royalty is something difficult. Plus, this guy seems to have amnesia too! So that might be the only way it can start out. xD

      Either that, or dragon-speaking people can only come forth in lines of royalty or whatever.

  • DDanny

    Hoping the main character doesn’t look like a 5 year old this time.

  • The main character is still an amnesiac, huh. RF3 certainly had some fun poking fun at their own recurring amnesiac origin trope near the beginning.

  • Rune factory games always makes big improvements every version, so this convinced me to buy a 3DS.

    • RunePokegrl00

      IS this game only for 3ds? 

  • xflame10

    havent played a rf game since fronteir(probably spelled that wrong), i never finished it either, that game cheats! i couldn’t kill the first boss until i was level 30!! this coming from someone who killed the last boss of rf 1 in 10 hits(well they were charged attacks but you get the point) And its on the 3ds which makes it a must buy for me practically since i already have one!!!!!!!!!! looks like my ps vita funds are gonna be dry for a while……..

  • I’m really liking the Sweetheart System, it finally allows the protagonist and the love interest to be in a relationship prior to marriage, instead of  
    [Friends :D  ->  Love you~ >///  Marriage xD] like the previous titles (Dunno about “Tides of Destiny”).
    But What I’m curious about is where the whole “farming” now stands, seeing the Princess/Prince points will be used to construct buildings, which used to be from the profits you earned from your crops (and materials gained).
    But I hope they make an event similar to RF3, saving your fiancee from the final boss was one of the highlights of RF3 xD
    But…Damnit all 3DS! Stop taunting me with your awesome games!! D’:

  • vadde939

    Always up for more Rune Factory! :D Hopefully the female character is treated a bit better than the one in Oceans though. Having only 3 guys to choose from and not even being playable until beating the story kinda sucked. :(

  • Omfg this is awesome, i love this prince/princess stuff, all i hope is that the story isnt too generalized since they gotta aim for a male and female character (making the main story dialogues maybe kinda dull)

    Even if its hard, i hope they give a bit time to each different MC’s story.

    They now adding city management SIM, omg so cool, and man, i cant wait to see how the new dating stuff will be.


  • meat0bun

    Can I pimp my multiple sweethearts out to townsmen to supplement my turnip seed budget?

  • Can the girl have more than 3 guys to choose from? 

    Also, multiple dating? YES. SOCIAL LINK G – oh wait.

  • I always feel like a tease playing these games. pimping out the town folk.

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