Harvest Moon 64 is heading to Wii U Virtual Console this week, publisher Natsume confirmed on its community forum. The game will be available for the first time on Nintendo eShop this Thursday, Feb. 23 — just eight short days before the Nintendo Switch arrives.
While the game’s release is a major cause for celebration for Harvest Moon fans, it’s also a strong reminder that the Virtual Console’s future remains unknown. Nintendo has said little about what the service will look like on the Switch, or whether previously purchased Virtual Console games will carry over to the new console.
That’s disappointing, because Harvest Moon 64 is a real milestone in Wii U Virtual Console releases. The game bypassed the Wii eShop due to major technical problems, and those same issues were likely to keep it off the Wii U as well, as Natsume president Hiro Maekawa told Siliconera in 2015.
“We know how beloved the title is by fans, and we have tried everything possible to have it released on the Wii Virtual Console, but there is nothing that can be done,” Maekawa said.
Natsume hasn’t elaborated on what’s changed with Harvest Moon 64 that makes it possible on Wii U now, but fans are pumped about the good news. For European Harvest Moon fans, who will receive the game first, this is an even bigger deal: Harvest Moon 64 has never before made it to that region. Meanwhile, stateside Harvest Moon lovers are ecstatic about playing one of the franchise’s most acclaimed entries, either for the first time ever or first time since 1999.
It’s a shame that those same fans should rightfully reconsider before paying up for Harvest Moon 64. With the Switch out on March 3 — and few reasons to hold onto a Wii U thereafter — anyone looking to make the move over to that new Nintendo console should hold off on buying any Virtual Console games until Nintendo explains what’s up with that program.