Rune Factory 3’s Protagonist Design Goes Downhill

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Rune Factory is probably one of my favourite games of all time. I loved the hell out of the first one and I’m still pouring as much time into Frontier as I can. Neverland Co. and Natsume seemed to have invested a lot into making sure the characters were varied and fun, and that is one of the reasons the original cast is so memorable.

Unfortunately, Rune Factory 2 didn’t quite grab me the way the first one did. Maybe it was because it wasn’t as much of an improvement as I hoped it would be. But certainly, the main reason was that I just couldn’t bring myself to spend more than a couple hours with Kyle, the ever-blushing shota protagonist of the sequel.

I think making sure that the character you play as appeals to as wide an audience of people as possible, visually, is important. Raguna looked and acted believable. He wasn’t OLD by any means, but he was old enough to be convincing as someone who would grow into an experienced farmer, get married and look after a family.

Kyle? Not so much.

And now, we have the protagonist of Rune Factory 3, revealed in this morning’s issue of Famitsu. Now, don’t get me wrong; I was…and still am perhaps…excited for this game. I don’t have anything against effeminate characters. I’ve played and loved enough Square Enix games, but this…this…manwoman…with his fringe (is that what it’s called?) and bangs and hairband is a bit too much.

This is the guy you’re supposed to be. Whatever the hell happened to preserving a sense of believability?

Oh, RF3 is about 80% complete and will release this year in Japan. This could be XSEED’s upcoming DS reveal, considering Frontier was published by them. The protagonist can transform into some sort of a…were-woolie. The main girl is very reminiscent of Mist and another one looks a little bit like a female Laharl.

I’m going to go sulk in bed now. I’d appreciate it if someone could tell me if I’m overreacting here. The only other time I can recall flipping out like this is when Nintendo made Retro Studios give Samus that horrendous anime makeover for Metroid Prime 2.

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Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.