The road to Rune Factory 4 has been a bumpy one. Despite getting glowing reviews in the US, the company behind the bad guy bashing, turnip growing, fantasy-fuelled Harvest Moon spin-off suddenly folded late last year, leaving the fate of a UK Rune Factory 4 release up in the air. We'd pretty much given up hope of seeing the farming dungeon crawler over here, until the day we discovered XSEED had picked up the rights, and planned to give it a release over here after all. Sadly, little has been heard ever since that announcement, with rumours suggesting it could be released only as a digital download version in order to cut costs - but there's been nothing in the way of a release date, or even a progress report on the long-awaited instalment. Until now, that is.
During a random visit to the PEGI website earlier today (don't judge - everyone needs a hobby), we discovered that Rune Factory 4 has been granted a PEGI rating for the UK - a sure sign that development is still underway. Better yet, the game has its release date down as the 1st December 2014. Which is today. Sadly, a quick dash to the eShop showed the date to be wrong, as there's literally no sign of the game anywhere on the store - but Rune Factory fans need not give up hope yet. It goes without saying, we've contacted XSEED and anyone else we know in the UK who might know what's going on - but in the meantime, we'll stay hoping that it'll mysteriously show it's face this Thursday in the weekly eShop update - finger's crossed!
While it may have been a rocky road to the game's release, it seems the end may finally be in sight. We'll be keeping an ear to the ground (and an eye on our inbox), and will bring you more as and when we have it!
For those of you who've never played Rune Factory, it's fairly similar to it's sister game, Harvest Moon - various circumstances (which usually involve a bout of amnesia) lead to you inheriting an abandoned farm in a remote village, where you can plant all the turnips, onions and cucumbers you want, before selling them on for profit. Much like Harvest Moon, the village is full of weird and wacky characters to befriend, and of course, eligible bachelorettes (or in the case of Rune Factory 4, bachelors too, as this is the first game that lets you pick a female protagonist) to befriend, flirt with, and eventually marry. But where things get a little different is in Rune Factory's dungeon crawling - scattered around town are various dungeons, often intrinsically linked to the game's story, inside which lie various monsters, which can be defeated for rare items, or befriended and brought back to your farm as livestock. Fighting and farming may sound like a bit of a strange combination, but in the case of Rune Factory, it works.
In Rune Factory 4, the story is fairly traditionally weird. Your character was flying along minding their own business, taking an important delivery to the town of Selphia, when a sudden ambush sees the cargo stolen and the protagonist thrown from the airship, landing in Selphia below, before waking up with - you guessed it - amnesia. Accidentally mistaken for royalty, they get taken to the castle and taught how to farm - because in this town, where its seemingly considered totally normal for a prince/princess to fall from the sky, everyone has to do their part for the good of the village, regardless of their position. From there, you learn of the recent strange goings on in Selphia, and help the true prince (who shows up a little while later) to get to the bottom of the troubles, and save the world.