‘Harvest Moon’ creator’s ‘Birthdays: the Beginning’ set for U.S. launch in March

Birthdays: The Beginning, a world-building sandbox simulation game from the creator of the Harvest Moon series, will make its English-language debut in March for the PlayStation 4 and Windows PCs via Steam, publisher NIS America announced this week.

Helmed by veteran designer and director Yasuhiro Wada, Birthdays allows players to build and customize a simulated planet, with the goal being to produce a self-sustaining ecosystem.

In Birthdays: The Beginning, players are given control over a cube-shaped planet’s geography, temperature, and environmental landscape. Specific combinations of geographic elements and climates will advance the game’s storyline by attracting herds of unique creatures, including birds, crocodiles, and dinosaurs.

Each planet must be carefully balanced to account for predators and prey, however, or constructed ecosystems will quickly crumble. Much like Rare’s Viva Pinata series, gameplay in Birthdays: The Beginning requires players to carefully gauge the impact new creatures will have on the surrounding environment before they can be introduced.

In addition to predatory and herbivorous creatures, players can also produce various types of fauna, which also have an impact on local ecology. Gameplay will span a period of millions of years, starting with single-celled organisms and concluding with the rise of mammals and other advanced lifeforms.

NIS America is currently taking pre-orders for a limited-edition PlayStation 4 version of Birthdays: The Beginning that includes a collectible plush toy, a charm key chain, and a soundtrack CD, among other bundled goodies. A standard edition release for the PlayStation 4 will also hit retail next year, while the PC version will be available exclusively through digital channels.

Birthdays: The Beginning will launch first in Japan in January, and a North American release will follow on March 7. Gamers in Europe can look forward to Birthdays hitting store shelves a few days later on March 10.