XSEED Games is currently working on a localization for the latest Story of Seasons release. This one is particularly fascinating, and it’s not just because this is a remake of an older game from the Natsume days. Not only is the team at XSEED localizing the latest Story of Seasons from scratch, the North American localization features a small but potentially significant change to a part of the game related to the new, same-sex romance options.
This news comes from a blog post on XSEED Games’ official website that introduced some insight on the localization process. This new release, titled Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, is a remake of Game Boy Advance Harvest Moon classics Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town. While that title isn’t 1:1 with the original Japanese, as it altered the former Best Friend system, added new characters, and made other changes, XSEED is keeping the title for fans of the originals. That said, changes are being made as the team is localizing as if it’s a new project.
One change has to do with hearts. Romance options have them showing in conversations, so you can see the level of your relationship. Outside Japan, it’ll be possible to check that immediately regardless of a character’s gender. Here’s the full context explaining the change, straight from the blog post:
One major change between both the original version and the remake, as well as between our version and the Japanese version, concerns what has been called the “Best Friends” system in the Japanese release, where the player character can form a lifelong partnership with a character of the same sex. In our version, this will just be called “marriage,” and the relationship between same-sex couples will be given identical treatment to opposite-sex couples. This has been a very long time coming in the Story of Seasons series, and the producer has been supportive of our decision from very early in development. One minor but important change for the North American and European releases of Friends of Mineral Town is that the “heart icon” indicating a marriage candidate’s romantic affinity for the player will display for all marriage candidates from the start of the game, where in the Japanese release it will only display for same-sex candidates after you confess and start dating.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is coming this year to the Nintendo Switch. The XSEED store page notes a targeted July 2020 launch in North America, which falls in line with the July 10, 2020 release date for Australia and Europe, but that’s subject to change. It is immediately available in Japan.