XSEED Games has confirmed that the Western release of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town will include same-sex marriage, reworking the “best friends” system from the Japanese release.
Being able to romance and eventually marry other characters has long been a feature of the Story of Seasons series (previously known as Harvest Moon), though this has historically been limited to male-female couples. Harvest Moon DS: Cute added an option that allowed the female player character to become “best friends” with another woman instead of getting married to a man, and to receive a child as a gift from the Harvest Goddess—functionally similar to marriage, but not called that (presumably to avoid controversy).
Related reading: If you want some farm/life sim goodness to tide you over until Friends of Mineral Town‘s release (albeit without same-sex marriage, sadly), don’t look past Rune Factory 4 Special. Here’s our review.
This system was brought back for the Japanese release of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, but expanded to include all bachelors and bachelorettes as potential “best friends”, complete with a “Best Friends Ceremony”, moving in together, and starting a family. So marriage, essentially, but still not explicitly called that.
In a localisation update published by XSEED on Friday, localisation manager John Wheeler confirmed that for the Western release of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, same-sex marriage will be included directly, without the “best friends” euphemism:
“In our version, this will just be called ‘marriage,’ and the relationship between same-sex couples will be given identical treatment to opposite-sex couples. This has been a very long time coming in the Story of Seasons series, and the producer has been supportive of our decision from very early in development.
“One minor but important change for the North American and European releases of Friends of Mineral Town is that the “heart icon” indicating a marriage candidate’s romantic affinity for the player will display for all marriage candidates from the start of the game, where in the Japanese release it will only display for same-sex candidates after you confess and start dating.”
The update also confirmed that, although Friends of Mineral Town is a remake of a GameBoy Advance game from 2003, the localisation is not based on that of the original game. As such, there’ll be some changes—including to character names—but XSEED believed it was important to stay true to the Japanese version.
“The core of the characters and the world will be familiar to players, yet the way characters speak will no doubt be different and more contemporary in subtle ways,” wrote Wheeler. “Quite frankly speaking, I am nervous about how a completely new translation of a beloved work will be received—it’s a project unlike anything we’ve been involved in before—yet I believe strongly that the work of our excellent localization team will stand on its own.”
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is due out on July 10 for Nintendo Switch.