Story Of Seasons: Pioneers Of Olive Town is a new farming simulator coming to Nintendo Switch in 2021. It’s the first entry for the franchise on Switch, but it’s actually got a secret pedigree going back nearly 30 years.
Originally, Story of Seasons was known as Harvest Moon, but a switch in publishers in the mid-2010s led to two separate branches of the franchise.
Harvest Moon was the English name for the Japanese Bokujo Monogatari (“Farm Story”) series. The first entry appeared on SNES in 1996 and was followed by several iconic sequels including Friends of Mineral Town, which was recently remastered for Switch.
The series was translated and published in Western countries by Natsume (but owned by Marvelous) until 2012, with the final Harvest Moon-branded being Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning on Nintendo DS/3DS.
Afterwards, Marvelous stopped licensing the franchise to Natsume, giving the translation and publishing duties to American co-publisher XSeed in 2014. Cutting Natsume out meant the Harvest Moon name was no longer available for use, and a new name had to be used.
That’s where Story of Seasons comes in.
While Story of Seasons and Harvest Moon are now technically two different franchises, the Story of Seasons name now refers to the original Harvest Moon franchise. It’s basically a rebranding to avoid infringing on the rights of the original publisher, Natsume.
After the split, Natsume chose to begin development on their own Harvest Moon games, with multiple spin-offs like The Lost Valley, Skytree Village and The Light of Hope all being developed under the Harvest Moon name. These games have mostly been received badly, with many fans disappointed in the lack of depth, story and innovation of these sequels.
Meanwhile, the Story of Seasons franchise has gone from strength to strength, with rave reviews for every mainline entry in the franchise.
When Pioneers of Olive Town launches in March 2021, it looks set to bring the Harvest Moon franchise into the modern era with all the charm and style the series is known for.
In 2020, it looks exactly like the game we need. If you’re looking for a classic farming/life simulator in the vein of Stardew Valley or Animal Crossing, you’ll find it in the Story of Seasons franchise.