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HomeTown Story tells the tale of you—or, at least, a virtual you—as you attempt to revive your grandmother’s old shop. At first, that task will be simple: rework the shop, bring in new inventory, and sell those goods to customers. Soon, your life becomes about more than just moving products, as you come to know the residents of the village and being to develop deeper relationships with them.
Long before Animal Crossing was the cute slow-life simulation that everybody loves to love, Japanese developer Yasuhiro Wada was breaking the rules of what a game can be with Harvest Moon. Now, the real father of virtual farming—I’m giving you the evil eye here, Zynga—is looking to take what he built in that long-running franchise and blend it together with some all new ideas.
I’m a realist—and one who knows quite well that HomeTown Story probably won’t have all of the polish of pizazz that I’d love for it to have. And, you know, that’s okay. At the event where major new gaming consoles are being shown off by Sony and Microsoft, I’m glad that smaller, more heartfelt games like this can still exist.
One of the biggest reasons I’m looking forward to HomeTown Story is Wada’s dedication to gaming concepts that go beyond just killing and/or destroying. While Harvest Moon played around with some ideas of relationships and marriage, Wada’s goal in HomeTown Story is to make that act of connecting with others a major portion of the game. That relationship building won’t just be in romantic terms, however—it’ll also include connections such as good friends, family members, and others.
Of course, HomeTown Story will succeed or fail depending on how well that concept has been built. It’s easy to say that your game will be focused on developing relationships with other characters, but it’s also easy to then quickly bump up against the boundaries of what a player can and cannot do under those terms. Hopefully, Wada and his team can make HomeTown Story a game that’s as addictive as it is different.