Game news Harvestella: everything we know about THE big surprise of the Nintendo Direct
If we found games expected during the Nintendo Direct yesterday (Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak, Mario + The Rabbids 2, Persona 5 Royal), it was also not stingy with surprises. And there is one that stood out more than the others: Harvestella, a Nintendo Switch console exclusive from Square Enix that brings together Final Fantasy and Animal Crossing.
Harvestella, the RPG/life simulation we’ve been waiting for?
New license from Square Enix, Harvestella is presented to us as a mix between Final Fantasy and Animal Crossing, ie between an artistically directed RPG and familiar wonderland, and a classic life sim. To sum up, the principle is to oscillate between gardening/arrangement/cooking sessions and Final Fantasy-style fights (new formula). The mixture may seem surprising, but Yet it is a genre that has existed for several years now and which is well known to some.
Rune Factory is probably the best known example. Existing since 2006, the license developed by Neverland then Hakama was initially thought of as a spin-off of Harvest Moon, taking up its life simulation side to add a good dose of action. Still as vibrant and important today, Rune Factory has paved the way for many other small games that have opted for this amazing hybrid gameplay, not without some variations. In the genre, we could therefore cite My Time at Portia of course, but also slightly different games like Moonlighter, Dragon Quest Builders or the latest installments in the Atelier series (on certain points). But despite more and more examples, the genre still remains niche and has trouble removing the label from weeberie which sticks to his skin.
But with Harverstella, Square Enix seems to be offering us a more mainstream title. From what we have seen, it draws on the strengths of each other, and will even look for other more general public licenses. A Workshop-like aesthetic by removing the particularly niche alchemy aspect, gameplay as rich as Rune Factory without the very childish side, all sprinkled with a story, a universe and a combat system that inevitably makes you think to the latest Final Fantasy.
But what intrigued the players the most was of course the famous Quietus (the season of death), which adds a surprisingly dark side to a game of this genre. Haverstella wants to be visibly more mature and deep than his colleagues. An interesting approach which seems to have had its small effect, interesting both regulars of the genre and those who sought to move away from it as much as possible. From there to say that this is what the genre lacked to democratize, it is still far too early. But Square Enix made a success of its entry, and this as much on the form as on the bottom.
Open world, fights… What we know so far
If we only had the right to a short video during this Nintendo Direct, Square Enix immediately concocted a long article for us to go back in detail on their next upcoming title. It must be said that the publisher had every interest in giving us a more complete overview of Harvestella since the game is scheduled for release in only a few months. It is indeed on November 4 that the title will be available on Nintendo Switch, of course, but also on PC. Note also that it is already possible to pre-order it on Steam (soon also on the Nintendo eShop). These pre-orders also allow us to know the price of the game which amounts to €59.99. At this price, we still expect very solid gameplay and content. Here is what Square Enix has revealed to us so far:
Want a moment of relaxation? You will find everything you need in Haverstella. The game does not seem to be outdone in terms of relaxing activities. In addition to managing your plantations, you can also go fishing or raise your livestock. The resources you get can either be sold or used for cooking. The small dishes thus concocted, in addition to looking delicious, will help you in combat. Note that Harvestella also has crafting mechanics allowing you to craft useful items for your home or dungeon exploration phases.
Who says life simulation, also says a strong penchant for socialization. Life is much nicer with friends and that’s also the case in Harvestella. In order to do this, you will need to talk to your neighbors and complete a number of quests for them. To thank you for your help, they will give you seeds and other particularly useful items for your adventure. Increasing your affinity with certain characters will even allow you to learn more about the history of the game and this terrible Quietus which threatens your plantations and your tranquility. A priori, they should even be able to help you in combat. Suffice to say that it is in your interest to discuss with the characters that you will meet in the vast world of Harvestella.
Open or linear world?
In the Square Enix game, you won’t have access to a single small town. Nemea, Shatolla, Lèthe or Argène are all places that you can discover and maintain. Each city is different from the previous one (coastal, icy, etc.) and you can get there using the world map. Around each of these locations are dungeons that you can go through at your leisure. No open world on the horizon then. But if the places to discover seem quite linear, they promise to be large enough to allow players to feel a certain freedom. Especially since the environments presented seem particularly varied and you can even explore the seabed with the help of a submarine. And as if that weren’t enough, the season system will regularly change these different environments.
The seasons, central to the story and the gameplay
During the presentation, Square Enix particularly emphasized the season system. This is, to tell the truth, not surprising for a game of its kind, since you will have to adapt your plantations and other activities according to them. Note that thirty days pass in game from one season to another and that each transition is marked by the appearance of the Quietus, also called the season of death. The latter releases a deadly dust forcing the inhabitants to remain confined to their homes and destroying all crops. It will therefore be necessary to plan your stocks and plantations according to this season of death, which becomes longer and longer as the game progresses.
These seasons are therefore particularly important for the gameplay, but also for the history of the title. The whole plot revolves around this mysterious Quietus and the possible solutions to eradicate it. It is also in the middle of Quietus that our customizable protagonist wakes up in a small unknown village. Quickly, he makes it his mission to discover the truth and stem this threat. Over the course of the discussions and other quests with the daughter of the future Aria, the brigadier Asyl or the missionary Shrika, you will gradually find the path of the Lumicycles, these four crystals governing the seasons and hiding a terrible secret. But to do this, you will have to take up arms.
We said it, the world of Harvestella has different dungeons. They are of course filled with monsters that you will have to defeat. To do this, you will have to choose the class that is yours. So far, Square Enix has wanted to reveal only three but promises us much more. First we have the warrior, a specialist in quick sword attacks; the shadow walker and his murderous twin blades and the mage, adept at ranged magic attacks. Note that it will obviously be possible to instantly switch between the different classes.
As for the fights themselves, they seem pretty standard. We are on real-time combat against small monsters or big bosses. Several attacks are possible, the interface is readable and familiar, and you can form a team to overcome the different dungeons.
For now, that’s all we know about Harvestella, but Square Enix invites us to remain vigilant for the next few months. New information should indeed fall on the big surprise of this Nintendo Direct.