C3 Exclusive Interview | Yasuhiro Wada: Rune Factory & Magical Melody on Wii, Harvest Moon

By Adam Riley 06.06.2007 7

Yasuhiro Wada: Rune Factory & Magical Melody
on Wii, Harvest Moon's Future & More!

The Harvest Moon series has been going now for around ten years, with its popularity growing to higher levels than ever before in recent times. However, there are plans to develop the series even more and creator of the series, Yasuhiro Wada, spoke with Cubed3 about these plans and much more. Are you eager to know about the future of Rune Factory, the Harvest Moon RPG spin-off, how Magical Melody will be reworked for Wii and when No More Heroes is coming to Europe? You will find all that out, plus lots more in this highly entertaining interview...

Cubed3: Are you pleased with how the Harvest Moon series has developed over the years and do you have any regrets about it at all?

Yasuhiro Wada, Creator of Harvest Moon: It's not as if I've got a strategy to develop the Harvest Moon series on a worldwide basis, so I should say I'm 'surprised' rather than saying I'm 'pleased' that everybody in the world loves the game. On the other hand, I don't have any regrets in the past but...I've never finished developing each product with complete satisfaction. So I might be able to say that I had some regrets each time so that I can have the enough power to stimulate me to move to develop the next product even better. This might be helping to make the series progress further, I suppose.

C3: What was the feedback like for A Wonderful Life on the GameCube?

YW: As for Wonderful Life, I spent most of my energy on creating "Mother Nature" in the game. But, meanwhile, I may have sacrificed the game's system. Japanese fans seemed to be disappointed about this but conversely European and American fans seemed to have welcomed it. This was my "harvest" and made me consider a different concept for the next Harvest Moon.

C3: Was there anything in particular that made you decide to take a different direction with Magical Melody?

YW: As I answered in the previous question, I feel like my concept didn't please fans, especially Japanese fans. And I myself also couldn't be fully satisfied with this game and its game system. Throughout Wonderful Life I wanted to express "freedom" but I had in fact partially restricted the players as a result. So I decided to get back to the "starting point" and tried to create a freer and more constructive game when making Magical Melody. As for the graphics, I abstained from real expression but chose to put the characters as "symbols" in order to make the players understand the Harvest Moon world more easily.

C3: And could you please tell our readers how it does indeed differ from the likes of A Wonderful Life and Friends of Mineral Town?

YW: Mineral Town is a game where you can find your own fun from many various factors and this is very close to the original concept of the Harvest Moon series. A Wonderful Life is a game where you can feel as if you are there, in a world of nature. Of course, a lot of factors are involved, but the player has to find his/her own fun by the time you get old and depart from life (in the game). (Though I added an endless mode called "Heaven Chapter" for the girls' version!). In Mineral Town, you don't need to worry about age and can play endlessly.

C3: Were you surprised to see A Wonderful Life prove so popular over in Europe and do you think that Magical Melody can reach an even wider audience this time?

YW: I was very surprised to hear that! Magical Melody has a different concept from Wonderful Life, so I'm not sure at the moment, but this new game has much more different and much deeper fun. I do wish you will have fun again!

C3: Do you think that taking a GameCube game and branding it as a Wii game is a risky move? Or do you have sufficient faith that people will overlook this and just see a great game?

YW: Most people seem think that a game has to have the special feature of that console included, but I don't think so. The most important thing is its game system and, to put it in an extreme context, hardware has nothing to do with the "fun of games". (Of course, we do have to use the spec of the hardware). If European people are thinking Wii is the best game hardware, there is a possibility that a lot of fans will have the chance to play Harvest Moon. In fact, Magical Melody has not been released on the GC in Europe, so I believe you can accept Wii system without any discomforts.

C3: When can gamers eagerly awaiting Magical Melody expect it to arrive in Europe?

YW: I believe very, very soon! September!

C3: Will there be anything additional to compensate for the delay? Or even anything extra included for use on the Wii?

YW: Originally this was made for GC so intentionally I didn't add many changes apart from Wii controller support.

C3: After working closely with the GameCube, has this made the transition to Wii much easier than expected?

YW: I've already started development on Wii so it was easier than I expected.

C3: Graham Markay of Natsume told Cubed3 that they are pushing for older Natsume properties to appear on the Wii's Virtual Console. Is Marvelous Interactive fully behind VC support? Will fans get their wish to see earlier Harvest Moon games and the likes of Lufia again?

YW: I'm thinking positively but I can't answer anything concretely at the moment.

C3: Wada-san, you have mentioned before that you are working on No More Heroes with Goichi Suda. What role do you have in this game and how will it differ to the current selection of Wii games on offer?

YW: No More Heroes is basically Suda51's product. I mean, he created its world, the scenario and all characters by himself. What I do is to supervise the action parts and to manage the whole project. I don't mean to burst in on Suda51's creativity, so I may be able to say 'No More Heroes is not my work'.

C3: Will Rising Star Games be bringing No More Heroes over to Europe? And if so, when can this be expected?

YW: Yes, RSG will. Compared to Harvest Moon series, we can shorten the translation time as the in-game text is less, so I believe RSG will hopefully be able to release No More Heroes around the beginning of 2008, before spring.

C3: Marvelous Interactive is also working with Town Factory and Cing on 'Project O', a game that has been likened to SimWorld. Will you play a key part in its development?

YW: I took an important role to create a concept of the game and to assign staff when starting this project, but now I'm keeping a distance from this project and just supervising.

C3: What does the 'O' stand for? Some people believe it is representative of the circular chain formed by the characters as part of the gameplay.

YW: That's very interesting. I honour that person who made that assumption! In fact, this is the first character of the title of the game. But that title is also a temporary one.

C3: Back to the HM series for a moment, there is already Rune Factory and the upcoming Puzzle de Harvest Moon, but do you have plans to expand the idea of Harvest Moon even further in the future? Will there ever be a 'Harvest Moon Racer'? (haha!)

YW: I think the possibility that I would make "Harvest Moon Racer" would be very low *smiles* But, of course, I have an eagerness to create brand new games with various new ideas, whilst trying to not destroy the characters and atmosphere of Harvest Moon series. On the other hand, I can also say Harvest Moon is a kind of "completed game", so I want young staff to take over this project and I myself want to keep putting my energy into creating brand new games.

C3: And with Rune Factory 2 now announced for DS in Japan this year, is that set to become a long-term series that will eventually appear on the Wii?

YW: Yes, of course. We've already removed the subtitle of "Harvest Moon" from the game title in Japan and Rune Factory is now independent game, working as an original series. I can't explain the details, but a new angle will be added to Wii version and Rune Factory will grow up as an original series.

C3: Do you feel Nintendo's approach to online gaming is too restrictive because of the Friends Code idea? And will Marvelous be taking its future Wii and DS games online via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection?

YW: From the conventional on-line gamers' point of view, yes, I surely feel a kind of restriction. However, I don't think this brings only harm. Thinking of free BBS and BBS of SNS service, each of them has its own good points. Wi-Fi is the same. Wi-Fi may be restrictive but it does offer safety and ease of use. I think the restriction brings this positive side. I'm going to pursue something "just like DS" or "just like Wii", utilising their own system effectively.

C3: Finally, what games have caught your eye recently?

YW: One is SPORE (PC) and another is Little Big Planet (PS3).

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So, No More Heroes has been delayed 'til 2008? SmilieSmilie

Really excellent interview Adam.

IANC said:
Dude yuor totally awesome. And i won't be killing you anytime soon.

Rune Factory 2 on DS we knew about, but Rune Factory on Wii is fantastic news! Smilie

And more positive words on the likes of HM and Lufia on VC!

AND Magical Melody will have Wii controls when released in September here!!! Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Lufia on VC... yes please.

Great interview Raz.

Rune Factory Wii! Smilie I can't wait!

HM will have more freedom... Smilie I'll just wait and see it for myself

Udkedae Everywhere! | PSN: Udkedae

I was sortof expecting No More Heroes as a 2008 title anyway Jamie - shame, but why compete with the big three first party titles? Might as well take the time to give it a bit of extra polish. Smilie

Excellent interview Adam. Smilie

I thought No More Heroes was going to be '08 as well. I'm really looking forward to it, Killer7 was great. That was a really good interview.

I'm pleased to hear NMH is coming out so soon, actually...I didn't expect it until summer '08 at the earliest, maybe even autumn '08.

And I'd love to see a NEW Lufia come to Wii!!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Watch Adam on the BBC! | K-Pop Korner FB Page | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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