Rune Factory, made by the game development company Marvelous, is one of the most well-known farming role-playing game (RPG) series. You farm, you fight monsters and you go on dates with your significant other — and then you decide to go on a date with another love interest, not realizing your first lover caught you in the act, and now you are divorced because you forgot to close the game without saving before it was too late.
Rune Factory takes the simple concepts of farming and fighting and incorporates them into a multitude of games. The next Rune Factory game that will be coming soon to Japan is Rune Factory 5. Not much is known in the West about the game aside from a few gameplay trailers, but in Japan, there is plenty of news available on the game’s website. A live broadcast with additional information took place on May 15.
The Story of Rune Factory 5
In the game’s world, people and nature live together peacefully through a force called runes, which cause many incidents throughout the story. It begins when the main character, a boy or a girl of your choosing, wakes up with no memory and hears a cry for help. They notice a young girl in trouble and rescue her. Because of their heroic deed, the protagonist goes to Rig Bath, a comfy village brimming with nature in the Kingdom of Norad.
With no memories and nowhere to go, the hero becomes a member of Seed, a security organization that keeps the peace in the town. As the hero of this tale, and a member of Seed, you must complete requests from the townspeople ranging from lost and found missions to monster extermination. Once you complete a task, you get “seed points” that allow you to use the “make” feature, which allows you to hold festivals, get a license to cook or blacksmith, and make tools applicable to your life.
Bear Arms and Fight
The combat features are somewhat similar to those of previous Rune Factory games. There are eight types of weapons to choose from, including a sword, a hammer, a magic cane and even your fists. If you enjoy using a specific type of weapon, you’re in luck, because your skills will improve the more you use it, and you can learn all sorts of attacks like step, charge and more. You obtain weapons in stores and dungeons, or you can make them yourself. You can also use rune abilities to access special attacks and recover using rune points. You can change the ability you have at any time as you strategize what will work best against the enemy.
New to the Rune Factory series is the Seed Circle, an item that only Seed members can use. Using the circle, you can stop monsters in their tracks or capture them to make them your ally for a short period. If you hold a beast, you steal items from them, but you can also become friends with them. Give the beast a present or brush them, and they will grow close to you and want to be your friend. If you can bond with a monster, you can take them home, but just like a pet, you have to take care of them.
There are all sorts of monsters; some monsters can fight and produce goods like milk and eggs. If you take care of them, they will grow more robust, and you can take them with you in battle and even ride them. You can also bring residents from the town with you and even change their weapons. You can activate skills together with townspeople to deal immense damage to an enemy. The townsfolk will level up like the hero as well, so feel free to repeat and grind them up as well.
Farming is also another significant component of Rune Factory. Sow the seeds, water them and then harvest: It’s a simple but effective process common to all games involving farming. However, in this game, not only do you have a farm in town, but also a farm growing on the back of a giant dragon. If you maintain your farm, the field’s quality increases, allowing you to develop better crops. There is a range of veggies and fruits to grow, and there are new crops not in previous Rune Factory games.
You can also fish in water and dig for ore in dungeons. All of these acts can improve your journey in Rig Bath; you can cook the food you collect and craft weapons and items with the ore. You can also give the items you create to the civilians in the town, but beware that everyone has different likes and dislikes, and their reactions to the gifts you give will vary.
A Tour of Rig Bath
Rig Bath contains many shops and buildings that will help you on your adventure. There is the Seed Rig Bath Station, where Seed operates and where you live. As for shops, there is a clinic, a restaurant, an inn, a workshop and a detective agency. The townsfolk inhabit these places, all of which provide helpful tools for you as the game progresses.
As time passes in Rig Bath, so do the seasons and festivals. There are many festivals to enjoy, such as cooking, pet and fishing competitions. In addition, some festivals let you pair up with a resident; this could be a perfect chance to increase your bond with someone you care about.
So Many Suitors, So Little Time
Speaking of bonds, there is love in the air — that is, in the game — as there are 12 suitors, both male and female, for you to pursue. All have great designs and are interesting to learn and care about, such as Murakumo, a man with animal-like features who owns the inn. He is a diverse character that appears rough around the edges yet comedic and down to earth.
Another character is Beatrice, a royal who has hidden her identity. She is very gifted, with the ability to play instruments and ride monsters. To pursue a love interest, giving gifts is a great way to start; your favorability will go up and the character will grow closer to you. You can eventually attend events with them, go on dates, and even get married and have children.
Is Rune Factory 5 Coming to the West?
Rune Factory 5 is releasing on Thursday, May 20, in Japan. Unfortunately, there is no news yet about it coming to North America or Europe, and it may follow a similar path as Persona 5 Strikers, which wasn’t released worldwide until a year after its initial release in Japan. While this pill is a bit tough to swallow, there are other ways to play Rune Factory on the Nintendo Switch and 3DS. Rune Factory 4 Special is currently on the Nintendo Switch; it is the same game as the original Rune Factory 4 on the 3DS, but it contains new features like Newlywed Mode, in which you can attend an event with the love interest of your choosing.
Rune Factory 5 may come out as the best out of the farming RPG trio. Fans were disappointed with the lifelessness of Harvest Moon: One World; Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town is currently the only other out in the West, and unlike Harvest Moon, it is very enjoyable to play. Hopefully, Rune Factory 5 does come to the West because it feels like it has been forever since a Rune Factory game came out, and some fans assumed that the series would be discontinued after Rune Factory 4.
Despite it all, Marvelous is a company that cares and will not ruin an outstanding series by thinking that just because they have a popular game with a recognizable title, fans will buy it automatically. It may or may not come at all; still, hope can remain.