Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley Has “Exceeded Expectations” Says Natsume

By Ishaan . January 8, 2015 . 4:00pm

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley has “exceeded expectations” according to Natsume president and CEO Hiro Maekawa.

 

“It is because of the strong support of loyal Harvest Moon fans like you that Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley is performing beyond our expectations in North America,” Maekawa said to fans on the company’s Facebook page. He goes on to mention that that Natsume look forward to the game’s upcoming launch in Europe.

 

Additionally, Maekawa says, Natsume’s new Harvest Moon series is going to continue.

 

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley is the true beginning of great things to come in the series as we will be building upon fan feedback, media comments and our own 18 years of experience with the franchise,” he writes.

 

While the game itself is out now, Natsume plan on releasing downloadable content for it starting later this month. New DLC will be released every month through April.

 

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley is the first in Natsume’s own series of Harvest Moon games. A reshuffling of publishing responsibilities in North America has left Xseed in charge of the original Harvest Moon franchise (now titled Story of Seasons) while Natsume—who own the “Harvest Moon” name—have begun creating their own Harvest Moon games with a distinctly different gameplay style.


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  • Manny Being Manny

    I can’t believe people supported such a scummy move by Natsume. Not only putting the Harvest Moon name on a brand new series to try to trick people into thinking it was the same series, they released a terrible product that was no where near as good as a real Harvest Moon game.

    • Guest

      They didn’t try to “trick” anyone by doing that, and Natsume and XSeed/Marvelous obviously reach agreements on this.

      • Chaos89

        It wasn’t really an agreement. If Marvelous could, they would totally release Story of Seasons as Harvest Moon. But they can’t since Natsume holds the Western trademark to Harvest Moon.

        Its more of a “Well we can’t really do anything about it.” situation. And since Natsume doesn’t get to be part of Story of Seasons as a localization team they decided to take the Harvest Moon name and make their own.

        EDIT: Which is some what tricking the consumer, since Natsume never made a Harvest Moon game before, just localization. So anyone buying it and expecting it to be similar to Marvelous’ games is in for a surprise.

        • We’ve both developed and co-developed BokuMono and Harvest Moon games.

          • Out of curiosity, but which are the games you guys specifically had a hand in with development, when you were doing the Bokujou Monogatari games?

      • Manny Being Manny

        If they didn’t try to trick people, why didn’t they just make the series with a new name? They were obviously trying to make people think this was a new Harvest Moon game, even though it was a shoddily made imitation by a bunch of hacks. They aren’t even bothering to release it in Japan because they know it can’t sell without using the name they built up over the last 20 years of releasing Bokujo Monogatari.

      • wez

        It’s definitively a trick

      • Goto-Chin

        People really need to stop blaming natsume.. Do your research on your games instead of impulse buying x_x.

    • landlock

      Well they own the name Harvest Moon they can do what they want with it. In the end it was Marvelous’ choice to dump Natsume after 20 odd years.

    • Totally Da Real Ducked

      They own the rights. Natsume knew it was a possibility. Why use a new name when they have one that will sell? Put it in their perspective. Anyways, Harvest Moon was getting stale, needed a new gimmick.

  • DesmaX

    Wait, this game is already out?

    • AJ

      I’ve seen it on shelves, but I thought it was the last HM game and the new one was still coming.

    • Rose Spinoza

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who had this immediate thought.

    • Princess_Eevee9

      The game you might be thinking of is Story of Seasons and XSeed Gaming as yet to give an official release date.

  • wahyudil

    so, how about the review of both games?

    • Barrylocke89

      Story of Seasons isn’t even out yet, so it’s hard to properly compare the two unless someone imported the Japanese version.

  • landlock

    I do wonder how many people brought it by mistake though thinking it was part of the original Harvest Moon series.

    • Enma_Kozato

      A lot going by the replies on their post.

      • landlock

        I’m not surprised. Which means because the game doesn’t seem all that good. The next HM will most likely flop.

        Natsume are most likely going to end up being in trouble HM was the only really decent selling title from what I can see.

        • Seink

          if they fix the problems and add more features, I think it will have a chance to compete with harvest moon.
          well, not really compete, I think there is space for both series in the market and people who buy one are surelly able to buy the other, thats why i think as long as they are able to keep improving their this title, it will survive.

    • Seink

      lots :p
      I knew it was not the well known harvest moon but still bought as I like the gender, even after reading all bad reviews about the game :p.
      The game has a lot of points that need improvement, looks more like a alpha/beta version than a finished product, or at last thats my impression when I see no city, cows that finish eating in the tick of an hour (if the cow started eating 12:58, it will end eating 13:00, if it started eating 12:01, it will still finish eating 13:00), and other problems…
      But even with all the problems I wouldnt call it a bad game. while it may not make you spend 4+ years like other harvest moon titles, it can make you at least play 1-2 years to finish the story and I think thats good enough for the price I payed.

      • I think this is really the right point to look at it: The game has a lot of problems, for certain, but it’s not a bad game. I think for their first shot at developing a game internally, it was fine, and on a fair point, people probably wouldn’t be judging it as harshly if it didn’t have the Harvest Moon name (but people would likely call it an HM rip-off otherwise, you can’t win really there).

        I like the game and am evidently an avid supporter of Natsume trying their hand at this (and will still buy Story of Seasons when it comes out!), but it’s not as if I don’t have a decent list of things I’d suggest for changes/improvements, and I hope that Natsume definitely fields the suggestions made by people who played the game.

  • Priley

    So, the general consensus on Lost Valley is that it’s bad? Even if it had been good, I was leaning away from trying it because I dislike the art style…hmm.

    On the one hand, I do think it is rather nasty of Natsume to just kind of run with the brand as they have…but the other, more pragmatic side of me feels that a bit of competition might be good for both series?

    • XSeed would agree with you. Competition is good.

      Though I just wanna say: I don’t think the game is bad. I think it has a lot of faults in it that they can improve upon, but it was enjoyable. I played through the entire storyline and I know there’s things I can do to improve my experience in a second run. Only reason I stopped playing was because of Pokemon, really.

      • Priley

        I may have to read some more reviews or watch some videos, then. I still find the art to be pretty lacking, at least for me, but if I can ever catch it on sale or after its had a price drop, I might check it out.

        It will be interesting to see if Marvelous and Natsume continue their competition onto other platforms. I’m curious to see what each might bring to the table for Wii U “Harvest Moons”

        • Satori Satya

          Yes. If anything, this competition is good. It will force each side to make better games.

          • Manny Being Manny

            Is it really competition if its only releasing in the West though? I can’t really see Marvelous viewing a Western only game that is rated 42% on Metacritic as a serious competitor.

          • Satori Satya

            It can certainly be seen as competition if this game sold well enough.

            I mean, its not like the HM brand is huge in either region. Most HM games in Japan struggled to sell over 100k in their entire life-cycle. So these companies probably have a very low bar when it comes to sales. As often happens with niche franchises.

            If you’re fighting over pocket-change, every penny counts. And you will not take competitors lightly.

          • Priley

            Valid point. I still think both companies will probably want to step up their games, though.

            Natsume has to convince consumers that the Harvest Moon brand is still a guarantee of quality; Story of Seasons has to effectively build its brand up from the ground.

          • I believe there’s been stated intention on hoping to release the game in Japan– but it requires them to get a Japanese-side publisher to release it, if I remember it right. I’d likely have to double-check, but I definitely remember it being mentioned off-hand.

        • Personally I think the artwork translates well to the 3D– whoever did the modeling knows how to use other colors to make them “pop”. But I can see why people can be put off by the artwork revealed for it. The one plus for it though is that since it’s all 3D models in-game, characters are more animated.

          One of the advantages of this situation at least is that since Natsume is developing this stuff, there’s far more of a direct way for fans to give suggestions/criticism to Natsume representatives. With Story of Seasons, while sure, people can say stuff to XSeed, it’s really on them to try to get it back to Marvelous if any input needs to be made by fans, western fans especially. As a result, we’re at least more likely to see a Wii U (or even a Vita!) Harvest Moon game as long as fans give demand for it. I’ve seen quite a few people requesting a Wii U game sometime down the line.

          CeeCee of Natsume has been /super/ open about how Lost Valley is during development, and it’s refreshing to see it. She’s definitely passionate about the game itself and gave constant updates about it and answered feature questions before it came out. This game did well, beyond their expectations, and that’s good– it means that they’ll be receptive to the response, and will likely make improvements to the game through sequels. Refining always needs a starting point, after all.

          • Aww, thank you :)

          • No problem! I just want to see the games getting better and better as you work on them in the future. :D

          • Priley

            Oh, certainly! I can understand why the artwork may be appealing to some. The more “chibi” Harvest Moons have just never clicked with me, for whatever reason.

          • Haha. Honestly, I think if they adjusted proportion a bit better (most people seem to just be put off by the “stick figure” of them, which is fair), I think they’d probably be more aesthetically pleasing. But it’s nice that you recognize that the cute/chibi style more just isn’t your taste. XD

    • It’s different. There’s no town. The sole focus is farming. You wake up, farm, tend animals, and usually go back to sleep. People occasionally come around, but interactions aren’t very fulfilling.

      • Syltique

        Sounds like HM 64, my favorite one. I don’t know if I’d like it, but if it has a price cut, I’m going to give it a shot.

        • katamari damacy

          HM64 had a town and more importantly characters you care about because they have motives, dreams, and desires. The characters in Lost Valley aren’t as strong as HM64.

          • 64 is still king for me.

          • katamari damacy

            Pinnacle of the series IMO. every HM since then has been a step back.

    • ShadowFang

      It’s not nasty at all of Natsume; it’s their IP to use after all.

      People do it all the time; just because developers change doesn’t mean Microsoft can’t ship games with the name, “Halo” on it anymore, right? Letting Retro Studios handle Metroid despite being a new studio for that franchise didn’t mean Nintendo should’ve called Metroid Prime something else, right? Developers get shuffled around all the time, but the IP’s are the publishers to use. That’s how brand names and intellectual properties work, which is why more gamers should pay attention to the credits/talent behind the game and follow that around at least as much as they just pay attention to the title on the box.

      It’ll only be a shame if XSeed fails to effectively communicate to fans that don’t know any better that “Story of Seasons” is the original-style Harvest Moon series continued. Then it sucks for the consumer, which would be bad. But that’s also not Natsume’s fault.

      • Priley

        Mmm, I mean, I see where you’re coming from, kind of, but I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how common or uncommon it is for one group to own an IP, but not that IP’s brand…which kind of seems to me to be the issue we have at hand here with Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons?

        And I guess some of the weirdness just stems from the fact that Natsume and Marvelous were just so consistent in working together for so long.

  • Alexzander Shelton

    More like thanking them for falling victim to their false marketing. It’s not even a Harvest Moon game in Japan.

    • JonathanisPrimus

      Actually, if The Lost Valley ever comes out in Japan, it’ll be the first Harvest Moon game over there. ;-)

      • Yeah. That’s the funny part, isn’t it– Bokujou Monogatari was never “Harvest Moon” in Japan in the first place. This will be the real “Harvest Moon” if they can find a Japanese publisher for the game, by all counts.

      • 古戸ヱリカ

        Well, the one for PS1 did have the subtitle Harvest Moon in Japan, for some reason.

  • Wow, I am glad that it was a hit, because I thought it would be shit.

    • JMaster3000

      hehe…. it rhymes…..

  • Blick Winkel

    The situation reminds me of Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

    • How so? I never got into the plastic instrument craze, so now I’m curious.

      • Blick Winkel

        Harmonix made Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero 2.
        Then Activision made Guitar Hero 3 and all subsequent Guitar Hero games while Harmonix went on to make Rock Band.

  • Hmm. Given how this was kind of set up under “deceit” (I mean, younger people that play HM might not catch on, but people following the publishers/devs will know the difference), I don’t know how to feel. Cool it did well, but I side-eye that they used the HM name.

    • dawnbomb

      uhh, the harvest moon brand name is in the real creators name. Xseed is not the real maker of harvest moon, thats why they had to name theirs story of seasons. the falling out likly happened because Natsume wanted to bring major series changes instead of keeping things same as always as X seed wanted. I can’t blame natsume from splitting.

      that said, the new HM game did do far better then expected for natsume, seems their major changes paid off, even through a company split.

      It’s unlikly story of seasons will do as well. people have been asking for HM to be spiced up for quite a while now. that why things like RF, and the upcoming stardew valley are hype across the internet. i’m personally more hype for stardew seeing as it has full multiplayer.

      Here is hoping Natsume continues to really change the harvest moon name for the better.

      • Princess_Eevee9

        Have you even played this game? It’s a hot mess of wasted potential and screwing customers over. Everything I was promised in this game barring the MineCraft-ish gameplay was overexaggerated.

        Meanwhile Story of Seasons the real “Harvest Moon” title well be what us fans actually want.

      • Rafael Budzinski

        …you’re clearly in the dark here. Marvelous AQL, the developer of the game, wanted to use their own subsidiary, XSEED, to bring their games to the West. So, it does not have anything with Natsume wanting to “change things”. Natsume’s only using the Harvest Moon brand and the memories of Marvelous works so far. Simple as that.

      • . . .what? Pretty sure the title translates as Ranch Story in Japan. This is exactly the kind of confusion/deceit I mean, lol. That is probably far from what happened. MMV has always had a good hold of what they do with their game and Natsume is not Nintendo; they won’t try to push innovation on a developer (and MMV did that on their own to some extents).

  • :B

    Dang, seeing the reactions from others, I wasn’t expecting a response to a game that doesn’t have the “Harvest Moon” feel. Something doesn’t seem right for Natsume.

    • Princess_Eevee9

      What makes me mad is that I love the bachelor. But the game has so little characterization and other substance I feel I was screwed outta 40$ when buying the game.

      • :B (ⓩⓖⓕ)

        Gosh, they strip down many things that was HM. Pretty sad.

  • JuVu

    I’m just afraid that this one is going to be the only new “Harvest Moon” game we’re getting in Europe, there hasn’t been, like, any word about EU release for Story of Seasons… hold me, I’m afraid.

    At least we got Rune Factory 4, for that I’m eternally grateful.

    • Pedro Tavares

      Yeah this game looks awful, its rushed, a cashgrab and many other things. I want Story of Seasons and no part of this.

    • Goto-Chin

      That’s why you buy a US 3ds! i planned it ever since.

  • sakusakusakura_nyo

    Harvest Moon should allow for lesbian relationships like they do in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    • I know quite a few people have been asking for it, so maybe Natsume will be able to get it in.

      In general it’s been a fairly requested option, and I wouldn’t mind seeing it.

    • Lugar

      Well in “HM: A new Beginning” you can change your male MC later in a “Girl”. Give him Female Clothes and Female Hairstyles.

      • sakusakusakura_nyo

        That sounds like a new beginning indeed lol

  • Seink

    next time please add a city….

  • Chaos89

    Oh god, I feel sad for everyone commenting on Natsume’s Facebook page. Everyone is posting nostalgic posts about their history with HM, as if they’ll re-encounter it with a new HM game. But they have no clue that ‘Story of Seasons’ is the Harvest Moon game they use to love.

    • Thank goodness this sort of fan-on-fan hate isn’t common. It’s so toxic to a fandom.

      • Chaos89

        You seem to be taking things outta context. I don’t hate them, I feel sorry for them. If they know about the situation with Marvelous and Natsume and chose to continue Harvest Moon created by Natsume, then that’s fine with me. What people enjoy playing they enjoy playing.

        Its just that some of them don’t know, and have these hopes that the next title will be like the Harvest Moon that Marvelous created. Its kinda like having to tell a child that his hamster ‘ran away’.

        • I appreciate greatly the clarification :)

          I’ve seen a lot recently where people are being told they should feel ashamed for buying one game or another (and it’s not just Harvest Moon) and that sort of batty behaviour just makes me sad. I think the number of people who don’t know versus don’t care may be a little conflated, too, but YMMV.

          • Chaos89

            Personally I think Natsume should make a post about that sort of thing. Its a win-win situation for them too. Simply put it, if Natsume explains what happened with Marvelous. Then explained Natsume will continue their version of Harvest Moon while Marvelous would continue with Story of Seasons, it would patch up a lot of possible negativity.

            Marvelous fans would feel less slighted by Natsume. And Natsume will greatly lower the chances that their own fanbase would feel betrayed. Pretty much the only reason people are having qualms about this in general was that isn’t was very well explained by Natsume.

            I mean technically you can point out the line “It is the first time in our history that we have internally designed and developed a Harvest Moon title,” But that wouldn’t be very good damage control/prevention.

            And of course I’m sorry for being ‘that guy’ the one who attempts to give advice on someone else’s job. Heck I don’t even know if Community Manager does PR! But I just don’t want Natsume nor Marvelous to lose potential sales and fans simply from the lack of knowledge. Because I have been playing HM and RF for a long time.

          • Just gonna chime in a little bit: I feel like while yeah, people would like a solid statement/clarification on the situation, the main problem I feel with this is that just a lot of people don’t pay attention/read things, or don’t check things as often as some people do, ect.

            While Natsume’s front Facebook page might be best, people have said a lot of times in different places (including Facebook pages, Natsume’s or otherwise) about the situation, and yet there will still be a large amount of fans of the series who’re confused about it.

            Not that people shouldn’t keep trying to explain it, it’s just a bit of a large wall of communication and awareness to get over.

          • Indeed. And FWIW, that’s an ongoing problem with games in general, not just Harvest Moon or even Natsume. A fellow CM linked me a post to an “OUT NOW” and a buy link she did for one of her client’s games, with a comment that was “when is this out and where can I buy it???” XD XD

          • Aahaha, yeah, that’s no surprise there! It’s like I said, people shouldn’t stop trying, it just ends up happening so much that there’s never really one full solution to counteract people just not noticing things.

          • I’m always open to feedback, so it’s all good :) One of the things I admire about the HM fans is that they’re largely well-informed and self-informing, so the people who wanted to know the difference between the two titles were able to ask or learn so quickly.
            We have a separate person who does our PR (and she’s awesome) but I work closely with her. If you’re curious I can dig out the link where I talk a little more about my job duties (I did a post about it on my Tumblr).
            I’d love to see a full story on the relationship between Natsume and Harvest Moon, but I feel very strongly it’s not my story to tell, it’s Prez Hiro’s. He’s the one constant between ALL Harvest Moon games (BokuMono or not), from the very start when he worked with Wada-san and nobody told him to release such a “boring game” in North America hahaha :)

  • phayroent

    maybe next time they’ll think about going multiplatform.

  • ShadowFang

    I would’ve tried it if it were not so hideous. Seriously – these characters are hideous. They’re gross lollipops is what they are. Stick bodies with giant heads? C’mon. Not only is that terrible in and of itself, but it doesn’t look like Harvest Moon’s cute Chibi styles in games past. Everything from the original SNES game to Animal Parade and earlier DS games did it right – the ones in this game are nasty, and the world looks Minecraft-y, which is awful.

    If the next one doesn’t look terrible, I’ll give it a shot, Natsume.

  • Priley

    Quick question for CeeCee or for anyone who might know:

    I feel like I may already know the answer to this, but so I’m sure, is it safe to say that Marvelous owns the rights to all the characters who have appeared in past games?

    I only ask because I’ve longed for a while now to see another game with the 64/FoMT cast, although I understand that that could just be my nostalgia talking. If either company produced a game with old characters, it would certainly capture my interest, at least.

    • CeeCee can likely answer this clearly, yes, but funnily from what I’ve seen of Story of Seasons localization and Lost Valley characters, it’s this: Natsume owns the names, it looks like, that they made themselves for characters. For instance, there’s a character named Reina in Tale of Two Towns, which is a Natsume/Localized name, but in Story of Seasons, she’s going by Licorice, which is actually her original Japanese name. I believe it was stated that they can’t use her original localized name (Cam from ToTT also shows up as Kamil in SoS due to the same reasons). This also reflects in some mainstays: Harvest Sprites are in Lost Valley, but they’ll be Nature Sprites in Story of Seasons, cause again, it looks like Natsume owned the copyright forever ago on the names they picked. Who knows what the Harvest Goddess will be, cause a more mini/younger version of her shows up in Story of Seasons instead, and she goes by “Dessie”.

      However, in the sense of likenesses, Marvelous would be the ones who own those. So if you want a new game with the 64/FoMT cast? You’d have to be sending requests to XSeed (and hope they pass it along) and/or Marvelous Entertainment themselves. It’s just depending on what names were original to the Japanese version in the first place, or what were made in localization, there might end up being a couple changes in terms of what you’re reading, as a result.

      Of course, CeeCee or anyone can clarify the situation of this, but from simple reasoning, it looks like this is the outright case, so I hope it helps answer a thing or two about the situation.

    • Yes? No? Maybe? It’s a legal question, and not being a legal expert, I’m not in a position to answer definitively. It’s probably convoluted, since BokuMono and Harvest Moon were around long before Marvelous was.

      • Priley

        Sure. Hope I didn’t bother you with the question.

        Good luck to you and Natsume with your next Harvest Moon games.

        • Not a bother at all, and thank you ^^

  • Shining Jade

    I bought this cause I am a fan and adore the series and have played ALL of them even the odd balls on wii etc yes im saddened that the game is not as good as say HM~ANB but this one is too short, too many frustrations and too boring .. but im a fan I stick with them ^-^
    and pray for the best!

    ~Start Rant~
    I will say I dislike the farming system and now after finishing most everything but marriage and having a kid I refuse to farm unless its needed and I only plant exactly what is needed… I am so upset with the way things work I can’t even bother replaying a new save cause it was a pain the first time around.. MY reasons I would not start a new save, digging to the underworld, digging to find the mines and such is not fun is a pain in the butt!! its the least enjoyable chore in the game ..Plus its so bad that it NEEDS a whistle to save you your character tires to flipping easy! Oh that whistle, is a sprite and he takes 4 hours out of your day to bring you home COME ON if the system was better I wouldn’t be stuck in this flipping hole trying to get to the under king -_- ! and that is no matter where u are….
    im not joking !! you could be right near your home and be digging and get stuck ugh! … the digging aspect could be alot better or give us climbing gloves!!!! maybe they need a lesson from other cube games …. sorry I love your games Natsume but this one feels rushed …
    ~End Rant~

    Needs:

    ~ Climbing gloves or a instant teleporter no time wasted!

    ~Big NewTown

    ~Tool Upgrades Get ride of the sprite help system its a pain in the butt!

    ~Enable water near plants to keep them moist this games water/river AI is lacking O.O

    ~More story, new area maybe? Fantasy life pulled this off well Origin Islands 8$ and they put the door in a flipping storage room lol ……

    ~Get those people off my lawn ! they need, well we need a visitable town .. Please let this be my area unlocked so I can place decor here and put like my dog house out here ….

    ~more items to decor with apparently we can put stuff anywheres so how bought new buildings fish shack etc more decor..

    ~fix the NPC questing .. its a pain to have a quest, and yet the only time to finish it is during THERE hours when there stalking your front door!!! I want to go do quest and then go and find them ANYWHERES and finish said quest -_-

    ~Horses … for goodness sake let them jump!

    ~more events I think this is the first Harvest moon with the least events…

    ~I would like to see things return from Harvest Moon~ANB like fish shack and gardening contests and and Bees … Plus Beehives and nice fences and gates new items also ^-^

    ~Let us collect bugs ….Bees etc

    ~No tool upgrades possible for Natsume to do-_-
    Well then fine lets fix those sprites right now.. they should never have weekends off! they should work every day, all day, no time limit PERIOD ! We work are butts off and rush back to find out the sprite can’t bring in my cow because its 6:10 pm or its a Saturday and they don’t water crops ….

    ~more hidden areas .. More places …

    All and all unlike those giving it 1~2 stars I give 4 cause it looks cute and is fun and I went in blindly and didn’t read anything..

    it is just to short so much space with nothing to put in it, missing things that make sense to have…annoying with no town and feels empty…the fact of the quest system being a pain cause of where the NPC’s are is a let down and could push many away… the bad farming with only sprites to help you, who have weekends off and have locked time frames on things… the bad digging AI along with the poor teleport whistle …

    It can get hard though once finished nothing pulls many back in .. and Clothes Does not seem like the right choice as the January DLC but that is up to you guys …

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