Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future 'Harvest Moon' Games

June 13, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Marriage has always been an important part of the Harvest Moon series, but has remained "traditional" since the game's launch so many "moons ago." Speaking to Joystiq Natsume's Graham Markay, Vice President of Operations; and Hiro Maekawa, President and CEO of Natsume indicated that Nastume is looking into the issue very closely and are listening to what fans of the popular and long-running farming sim-RPG want.

"It's obviously something that we're going to look into as we continue the Harvest Moon series," said Markay. "We're going to look into all aspects of it."

"We always listen very carefully to fans' voices," Maekawa said. "Fan voices, media voices. We know what the fans are looking for. We are always carefully listening to fans' voices."

Joystiq's report indicates that Maekawa was being very careful in parsing his words on this subject.

We'll see if the next game after - Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, which releases this fall on 3DS - has same-sex marriages or not, or if Natsume's top executives were just blowing smoke to placate a journalist.

Source: Joystiq by way Andrew Eisen


Comments

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

With all due respect, while I am against LGBT, I don't see a problem with adding them in, at the same time, I don't think it matters either.

However, people are going on about the mindset that LGBT is and should be put on the same value and level as straight, which I wholeheartedly disagree, for a lot of reasons, natural law being the general nutshell. People who are offended by straight couples is their own problem, and I doubt there are any normal people like that, by whichever reasonable definition you have for "normal".

As I'm not a Bokujou Monogatari fan, this won't affect me directly, so please don't be alarmed if you do not see any posts by me after this one here.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Am I the only one here who remembers that there actually was a gay marriage option (of sorts) in Harvest Moon DS Cute?

 

The female PC could progress through heart events and, eventually, marry any of four "special" marriageable female characters. It was functionally identical to marriage, too-achieved in the same way, with the same requirements, and you'd also eventually get a child, though I believe it was handwaved away as "a gift from a deity" of some sort.

 

It was called a Best Friend ceremony. Though, I think it wasn't available for the "regular" female partners; only for the special ones, like the Harvest Goddess or the Witch.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

If you're thinking of telling Natsume which side they should take, please make the "do the right thing and the right people will reward you for it" argument… not the "you're disgusting if you disagree with me" argument.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Why? They're both valid arguments. Unless you feel horrible people shouldn't be called horrible because it might hurt their fee-fees.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

The logic here may be that the former argument is more likely to work. The latter could easily put people on the defensive, which makes them less likely to be open-minded.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

And just how do you handle such a thing?  Do you make it so a character can romance all of the bachelors and the bachelorettes so you can make the whole town fall in love with you?  How does that play out, exactly, or do you ignore it?  Do you make only certain characters gay, and if so, what about the people put out that character A is gay but character B is not?  And how do you make it obvious that a same-sex character is romanceable without offending people?

Developers are really in a no-win situation.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

"And just how do you handle such a thing?"

The same way it's always been handled.  The protagonists each have a few different characters they can romance.  Simply make sure some of them are the same gender.

"Do you make it so a character can romance all of the bachelors and the bachelorettes so you can make the whole town fall in love with you?"

No, that would be silly.

"Do you make only certain characters gay?"

Yes.  Or bi.

"What about the people put out that character A is gay but character B is not?"

Tough cookies.  Sometimes the person you're interested in dating isn't interested in you.  That's life.

"And how do you make it obvious that a same-sex character is romanceable without offending people?"

The same way you make it obvious that an opposite-sex character is romanceable without offending people.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

"The same way it's always been handled.  The protagonists each have a few different characters they can romance.  Simply make sure some of them are the same gender."

And how many romanceable characters do you intend to put into the game?  Hometown Story took some flak because there were only a couple of characters per protagonist.  Now there's a balancing act of letting people who want a same sex character have multiple options and having people who want a different sex character have enough options not to be put out.

"No, that would be silly."

Which conflicts with:

"Yes.  Or bi."

Didn't you just say having this would be silly?

"Tough cookies.  Sometimes the person you're interested in dating isn't interested in you.  That's life."

But Harvest Moon isn't life.

"The same way you make it obvious that an opposite-sex character is romanceable without offending people."

We're talking about Marvelous Entertainment and Harvest Moon.  The characters don't tend to be nuanced.  There's a very, very strong probability that you're going to get someone that doesn't like the approach.

By the way, Andrew, do you play the series?  I'd just like to know how many people are throwing their weight this way simply because it's the cause du jour, and how many people actually play the series and really want this.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

"And how many romanceable characters do you intend to put into the game?"

However many were in the game in the first place.  Or, if budget allows, add more.  Ideally, every player, man or woman, gay or straight will have the same number of options.

"No, that would be silly."

Which conflicts with:

"Yes.  Or bi."

Sorry, I misread your original comment as "every NPC should be a romancible option."

Didn't you just say having this would be silly?

No, my "silly" comment was in reference to my mistaken read of "make the whole town fall in love with you."
 

"But Harvest Moon isn't life."

True, but it's still the way Harvest Moon works.
 
"There's a very, very strong probability that you're going to get someone that doesn't like the approach."
 
If a player doesn't like how Harvest Moon approaches its romances, then it's not a game for them.
 
"By the way, Andrew, do you play the series?"
 
I have but I like the Rune Factory games better.
 
 
Andrew Eisen

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Just do what Bioware did: Make all bachelors and bachelorettes bi. Sure, it's a bit unrealistic, but it's a game. They could also easily program it in so that no one will make moves on you unless you do something explicitly romantic to/for/with them first.

There. Now the only people who will complain are the blatant homophobes.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Andrew Eisen just said this idea is silly.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

In case anyone missed the clarification I made in another post, what I called silly was the idea that "you can make the whole town fall in love with you"

Of course, rereading David's comment, that's not what he meant anyway.

I address the idea of making all the romancable characters bi in another post if anyone's interested in my thoughts on the matter.

 

Andrew Eisen

 

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

I'd say more what bully did with it, where some characters respond to you that way and some don't.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

This game doesn't play like Bully. It's like none of you even play the games in this series. I'd be far more interested in talking to a gay player who loves this series who would like to see same-sex relationships in the next game -- and I know they're out there, I just hope one of them reads this blog -- than I am a bunch of people who don't care about the series, have never bought a game, and are just piling on because it's the thing to do.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

"a gay player who loves this series who would like to see same-sex relationships in the next game"

I am ones such person, but don't see why it should matter. The others are giving you the same responses I would.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Glad you're here.  You buying the games is what helps the series keep going.

My concern is only that these games aren't made by large teams, and that trying to add the social complications that gay relationships might entail would necessitate cutting back on content I'd otherwise play.  Can you address that concern?

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Gay relationships are no more complicated than straight relationships.  No one's asking for hover bikes, genetic manipulation of stock/crops or something completely new that's not already in the game.

 

Andrew Eisen

 

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Yes, it does complicate things. With straight relationships, you have only one way things can go, a boy and a girl. When you introduce gay characters, in order to have rival events you need to have multiple gay characters competing for one another. EDIT: The problem here is that means allocating resources to these new relationships, which means that a smaller development team either needs more time that they're not going to get or needs to have fewer characters all around, which brings up the issues people had with Hometown Story.  END EDIT.  In order to have bisexual rival events, you now need to consider boy-girl and boy-boy or boy-girl NPC relationships in addition to the PC's orientation. If these games were made by larger teams, then this wouldn't be an issue. The problem is that the games are NOT made by large teams, and I don't think the developers (nor the core gameplay) are up to the task of handling the new layers.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

I didn't say it didn't complicate things (although, how much it complicates planning and development depends on how exactly it's going to be handled), I said gay relationships are no more complicated (or different) than straight relationships.  Even the rival events.  It's no different from what the game is already doing.  You're making a mountain range out of a molehill.  

Besides, we're talking about a future game.  A future game designed and planned from the get go to include same sex relationships.  Just like making some of the multiplayer characters in Assassin's Creed Unity (or Far Cry 4) female, this really isn't that hard, resource intensive or time consuming, even for a smaller team (at least compared to the Assassin's Creed team.  It's not like the Harvest Moon teams are five people).

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

That causes problems with intra-NPC relations.  How are you going to handle rivalries?  Will you take those out to accommodate this?  It's a design issue for the series.

For a story driven game like what Bioware does, you can do whatever you want with characters because nobody else interacts with them.  For a game more centered on social interactions and things are supposed to happen independently from just what you do, it becomes considerably more difficult.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

How do rivalries pose a problem at all? Just do what's always been done - have the NPCs all pair up in pre-determined ways. Maybe some can be same-sex pairings, maybe not. And if the player romances someone in a rivalry... um, seriously, how is that so hard to handle? You don't even have to bring up gender in it. The games don't deal with sex, and they've never gone deep into discussions of gender roles, so it really doesn't need to be mentioned at all. Honestly, it really seems like you're fishing for excuses here for why it might be hard.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Because The Sims doesn't exist.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

And we all know just how rich the social interactions are in The Sims, and how it's made by a relatively small team.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Would the person who thumbs-downed that post like to elaborate?

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

The same announcement was also made for Final Fantasy XIV, so it's interesting to see the rate at which Japanese developers are coming around.

Re: Natsume 'Considering' Same-Sex Marriages for Future ...

Can always check out the future http://stardewvalley.net/ The dev has promised same sex relationships.
 
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