I’m going to go ahead and just say it. Some of the Rune Factory 4 Special love interests are more interesting than others. People who were once boss monsters that you can suddenly romance because you beat them? That’s pretty awesome. (Even if one situation does mean you get a spouse and a ghost in the process.) Others can be pretty appealing due to their backgrounds, character designs, or personalities. Like dating and marrying Forte could probably feel like you pursued Saber. But back when I first played Rune Factory 4 on the Nintendo 3DS, I thought Arthur was, well, dull.
Now, seven years later, I get it. I appreciate Rune Factory 4 Special’s Arthur and totally get where he’s coming from.
I’ll admit that part of this happened in Rune Factory 4 Special’s opening moments. For those unaware, it begins with a case of mistaken identity. The player’s avatar falls into the home of Ventuswill, a Native Dragon who looks out for Selphia and ensures its prosperity and safety. Venti mistakes them for the Norad royal family member coming to stay in town. (Even though she is expecting a prince and might get a princess.) Arthur shows up and, upon seeing someone is already there, goes with it.
While it is a convenient excuse, it makes so much sense years later, after I’ve been in personal positions that involved a lot of multitasking. When I saw the relief Arthur had when he realized he could pursue the other tasks that would fall to a member of the royal family, like trade and interacting with people from other regions, I thought about how great it would be if I could have a personal assistant of my very own. Because really, that is a lot of what the avatar is doing for Arthur. Arranging festival details? Determining what the shops in town will stock? Doing busywork like making deliveries or getting certain sorts of items? Well, that’s probably not as important as diplomatic affairs. Not to mention Arthur doesn’t have the same capabilities as the avatar does and letting the person who can perform those tasks act as the “leader” allows him to do the more mundane jobs that keep things running behind the scenes.
I also appreciated the attention to detail Rune Factory 4 Special’s Arthur offered. Since I was trying to get things as quickly as possible to see the Newlywed mode and other elements, I went ahead and played on the easy difficulty. In the past, I went with normal. Since I wanted to optimize activities as quickly as possible, I spent more time checking with him to see what the weather was like to know when I could go ahead and focus on massive dungeon-diving excursions and to take advantage of his trade resources. Not to mention, playing at an increased pace meant I’d pop by Porcoline’s more often for toast (which is a steal to refill 2040 health and 800 rune points for only 610 gold). I’d walk over to say hello since I was already there and came to appreciate someone so down to Earth and dedicated to his job.
I have to admit that his Another Story helped too. Rather than a look at a future life with the avatar, it showed what could have been. What if Arthur had been recognized for who he was in Rune Factory 4 Special and been forced to be the prince he is? It’s a busy, tedious life. Seeing him recognize it and his reaction when he is with the avatar again is heartwarming. It helped me realize how much he appreciated having her around to help and getting to be a normal person.
I don’t recall spending much time getting to know Arthur in Rune Factory 4. I mean, I’m sure I probably ended up getting our relationship up to the first level, at least, for a quest to earn Princess Points. But now that I’m older and wiser with Rune Factory 4, I better understand what he’s dealing with and appreciate everything he does. Not to mention once I did start spending more time around him, I started to think, “I would love to have a Jenni-doppleganger.” It just goes to show the nuance that a game can have and how Rune Factory 4 Special is so large, you might not even appreciate a member of the cast until years later.
Rune Factory 4 Special is available for the Nintendo Switch. Rune Factory 4 is available for the Nintendo 3DS.