Story of Seasons

All life is important, according to Yoshifumi Hashimoto, director of Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns. That's one of the main points he hopes to get across in the upcoming 3DS farming simulator, which mixes plenty of fan-favorite mechanics with some brand new offerings to keep the storied series fresh.

While Hashimoto's game might not be called Harvest Moon anymore, it certainly carries on that series' tradition nicely. There are still plenty of crops to work, love interests to court, animals to raise, festivals to compete in and more.

The focus of this latest game in the series is a collection of towns for the player to visit, each with a unique theme, shops, special events and more. But while many things are changing in Trio of Towns, Hashimoto said that plenty of familiar aspects will make a triumphant return. During our E3 2016 interview with the director, he said that a respect for all life has always been a focus in his games, something that holds true in the new Story of Seasons.

In Japan, when the series first came out, people would complain when animals or plants would die because they don't want to feel those sad feelings that come with that. But now they have grown up and have kids who they have to teach the value of life to. We don't want them to feel real loss, but a game like this can teach you that life, from plants to animals, matters. In the game, something dies because you don't take care of it. You have to care for life, which is something I hope people can learn from this game.

Along with that connecting theme between Story of Seasons and Hashimoto's previous Harvest Moon games, the director explained that all of the "farm life" fans have come to know and love will return. However, he said that he knows that if things remain too familiar, players will get bored. That's why he tries to mix things up between games. As the name Trio of Towns implies, players will no longer find themselves operating out of a single sleepy burg.

We have a Western-themed town, an Asian-themed town and a tropical town, which have distinct looks and inhabitants. Their stores are open at different times and sell different items. They also host different festivals. This is the series' 20th anniversary and we always get emails from fans who want to see it set in different countries or with different themes. I thought this would be great timing to put three together into one game.

Hashimoto said that this collection of towns actually makes the game more accessible to more players, as well as deeper for longtime fans. Players can try to juggle obligations across all three or focus on one primarily. Your fields are also much bigger and varied to allow for additional customization, and fishing can now be done at any spot with water.

Players will also have some extra special companions this time around, with 28 pets to choose from in Trio of Towns. You can have five pets at one time and select one to be your "soul pet," which will follow you around and share a deeper connection with the player. In case you're curious, Hashimoto recommends his favorite pet, the "queen of cats," the Maine Coon.

Look forward to all of that in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, planned for launch on the Nintendo 3DS in early 2017.

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