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New Harvest Moon game coming to 3DS in February

Yasuhiro Wada, original creator of the Harvest Moon series, may be releasing the spiritual successor to his creation in a couple weeks, but current rights-holder Marvelous AQL is still proceeding along with the HM series itself. This week's issue of Famitsu magazine has the first info on the new official Harvest Moon title, called Bokujo Monogatari: Tsunagari Shintenchi and due out for the Nintendo 3DS next February in Japan.

The first new Harvest Moon release in two years, the game's subtitle translates to something like "Connecting New Lands." Series producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto explained to Famitsu that "connecting" has a dual meaning here. "One meaning of that lies in the connectivity functions we use," he said. "The game supports StreetPass and Wi-Fi; you can trade assorted data with friends and you can also visit each other's farms. It also refers to connecting with the world, making connections to other countries via trade."

Trade in the new HM takes the form of a trading station that allows you to engage in import/export operations with foreign lands, obtaining new stuff for your town and making money selling your crops across borders. "You're able to purchase unique goods from the world's nations, as well as send products out to them," Hashimoto said. "At the start you can only trade with one nation, but as you ship more product, you'll gain access to more and more countries. Each nation will react to your goods differently depending on their preferences, with some enjoying them but others giving more of a neutral reaction."

In addition to assorted gameplay enhancements (such as the ability to seed or water entire nine-square farm plots with a single operation), Tsunagari Shintenchi also lets you unlock a "Safari" zone that you can fill with all sorts of animals. Hashimoto told Famitsu that this game features twice the animal types as previous HMs: "HM games up to now have focused more on the farming process, but we created the Safari location here to put more of a spotlight on the livestock portion of the experience. These are wild animals, though, so instead of taking care of them you're more just helping them out with their lives, but you'll be able to watch over all sorts of animals in the Safari. Instead of taking them home and raising them, you're securing a sanctuary for them and building up the number of animals who live there. "

No word on a U.S. release yet for the new Harvest Moon.