Natsume has announced a new installment in its long-running series of farming simulators for the PC, PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch, Harvest Moon: Light of Hope. The game will be developed in-house at the studio, and published in collaboration with Natsume’s long-standing partner, Rising Star Games.
Light of Hope gets underway with the protagonist in search of pastures new, only to be caught in a terrible storm that wreaks havoc on a nearby harbor town. Upon arriving at the village, the player is tasked with spearheading the rebuild and fixing the lighthouse, which will be accomplished via the series’ tried-and-tested gameplay mechanics of crop management, livestock care, and resource collection.
However, Natsume is planning to make some changes to the formula. “Harvest Moon: Light of Hope will set itself apart from other Harvest Moon titles with its depth, including a robust story and clear-cut goals,” said Hiro Maekawa, the studio’s president and CEO. However, he also noted that the game will be inspired by classic installments for the NES, and will possess a certain nostalgic quality.
After serving its passionate fanbase largely without rivals for many years, Harvest Moon gained some major competition in 2016 with the release of Stardew Valley. The indie sleeper hit built upon the series’ classic formula with some new ideas of its own, and from Maekawa’s references to a robust story and clear-cut goals, it seems that Natsume might borrow some concepts from its newfound rival.
This year, the Harvest Moon franchise celebrates the 20th anniversary of its arrival in the United States. To mark the occasion, Natsume has already re-released Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life Special Edition and Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland on the PlayStation 4, as well as Harvest Moon 64 on the Wii U.
No release date has been announced for Light of Hope, but the game will be playable at E3 2017 in June.