Don't you just hate it when a game you were really looking forward to gets cancelled? If it's ever happened to you, you can probably understand how crushed our very own Kate and Sarah were when they discovered that Rune Factory 4, the latest and greatest in the fantasy-meets-farming-meets-romance-sim would be released almost everywhere around the world - bar in PAL regions, simulatenously scuppering both Sarah and Aussie Kate.
Publisher Marvelous AQL were left with little choice but to pull the plug after developer Neverland went bankrupt last November. When contacted, USA publishing partner XSEED stated that technical difficulties (namely the lack of original Neverland staff) would likely prevent any possibility of the game being localised for Europe.
So when Rune Factory 4 was listed for classification by the USK (the German rating board for videogames) we were more than a little surprised. Despite having formally cancelled the game once, it seems XSEED and Marvelous have been hard at work behind closed doors to bring the fantasy Harvest Moon spin-off overseas, handing localisation duties to an undisclosed development team.
Japan-centric site Siliconera managed to get in contact with XSEED's Executive Vice President, Ken Barry, who confirmed that they're doing all they can to release Rune Factory 4 in Europe, likely as a download only game via the Nintendo eShop.
"The situation is that we know [that] Rune Factory 4 fans in Europe have suffered enough with one cancellation already," Barry explained to Siliconera, "we didn't want to announce anything until the game passed certification and we were sure its digital-only eShop release was imminent. I can say that the game has been in the works for months already and we hope to start the master submission process with Nintendo of Europe within the next couple weeks."
Looks like we'll finally be seeing Rune Factory 4 on this side of the pon - so long as Nintendo of Europe play nice. Famous for having one of the most awkward approval processes in the industry, it's possible there'll be a few hitches over the next few weeks, but still - Rune Factory 4 is now a lot closer than it was just a few short weeks ago. Time to get excited about all the turnip farming dungeon crawling RPG goodness all over again.