You’ve got to feel sad about the Harvest Moon name. It essentially created the charming life sim genre, way back on the SNES, and has become such a beloved brand. Stuff like Stardew Valley would not exist were it not for Harvest Moon. But then stuff happened.
A lot of messy nonsense regarding IP behind the scenes meant that the developer working on the Harvest Moon games needed to change the name (it’s now the Story of Seasons series), while Natsume has maintained control of Harvest Moon, under a new development team. The results have been nowhere near as good as the series name deserves.
This next Harvest Moon needs to be something special. Nasume has announced that it will be called Harvest Moon: The Winds of Anthos, and it will release in Summer 2023 (Winter 2023 for those south of the equator). It will be a celebration of the series’s 25th anniversary (which is why it needs to be something spectacular), and the publisher is promising something big:
“To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Harvest Moon, we are honoured and excited to announce Harvest Moon: The Winds of Anthos,” Hiro Maekawa, President and CEO of Natsume Inc, said in a press release “The upcoming Harvest Moon will take players to new lands and include features that are completely new to the series. We are eager to reveal more in the new year, since we still have so many big surprises planned for this remarkable anniversary.”
While we don’t have too many other details at this stage (there was no trailer nor screenshots to go with this announcement), the press release did include a summary of the game’s concept. It sounds very classically Harvest Moon to us:
The land players will explore is known as Anthos, and is home to the Harvest Sprites, spirits that protect people and nature, as well as the goddess of nature known as the Harvest Goddess. However, about 20 years ago, an unprecedented eruption in Anthos’s volcanic region forced the Harvest Goddess and her Harvest Sprites to use all of their powers to protect the people. The people were saved, but the eruption left the villages cut off from each other…
Believing that the separated villages and people would one day be reconnected, the Harvest Goddess sent a bottle into the ocean with a letter and a magic key, then fell into a deep sleep…
Let’s just say we’re cautiously optimistic about this one. As someone who spent hundreds of hours with Harvest Moon: Tree Of Tranquility on the Nintendo Wii (my personal favourite), I would love for this series to get that mojo back.