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Everything we know about Harvest Moon: One World

The upcoming farming game has new mechanics that encourage exploration

Take our mittened hand and let Polygon’s Winter Games package for 2021 guide you through the playground of wintertime games — what’s great, what’s not, and what exciting features await you in the games coming out in February and March.

Harvest Moon: One World is the next game in the farming simulator franchise. Ahead of its release, Polygon previewed a gameplay demo and spoke with developer Natsume about what to expect.

One World is a traditional farm sim, but rather than plopping you down in a lush farmland, there are also other options for where your farm can be. Using the Expando-Farm tool, you can move your farm around to different biomes, from desert lands to snowy escapes. The animals you’ll find and crops you’ll grow will vary depending on the biome you’re in, allowing for a variety of creatures and produce.

Ahead of its release, One World has been met with fairly negative reception from longtime fans of Harvest Moon, due to licensing and naming issues with the series. Natsume, the company behind Harvest Moon: One World, has the rights to the game’s name, although the developers behind the older games in the franchise were Marvelous Entertainment and Xseed Games. The latter two developers went on to create the Story of Seasons franchise, which is often referred to as the “real” continuation of the Harvest Moon series. Pair this with the barren landscapes and lackluster graphics that fans saw in the first One World trailer, and it made for low expectations.

Either way, One World does bring some new gameplay ideas to the table. Here’s what we learned from chatting with the developers:

Finding Harvest Wisps is the main way to get seeds

Harvest Wisps show up as glowing little balls around the map. When you interact with them, they’ll give you a random seed that you can plant. This is the primary way to get seeds. One World producer Taka Maekawa said that you can sell a certain number of crops to the general store to get seeds as an alternative, but he also said that you would have to sell a lot to unlock this perk.

You can also look up specific seeds to see if any Wisps have them on the map at the time.

Seeds will develop different crops in different regions

Some seeds will mutate into different plants depending on where they’re planted. While a tomato seed will yield a regular tomato in the normal grassy biome, if it’s planted in the snow-covered area, it’ll grow an ice tomato.

A female farmer hoes land between grown crops Image: Natsume Inc.

Seeds and animals have rarity tiers and differing appearance rates

Once you find animals to pet and Harvest Wisps to collect seeds from, they’ll respawn at the same location over time. However, some animals and seeds are considered more rare and they won’t spawn as often. Some seeds and animals also will only spawn at specific times, so you’ll want to make note of where and when you find Harvest Wisps.

There’s no same-sex marriage

If you want to marry one of the female candidates, you’ll have to play as a male character, and vice versa.

“We wanted to do it right, as opposed to just doing it for the sake of doing it, if that makes any sense,” said vice president of Natsume Inc. operations Graham Markay. “So I’m fairly confident, 99%, it’ll be in the next game.”

Markay noted that same-sex marriage was originally discussed to be in One World, but due to COVID-19-related complications and the required shift in communication, it was one of the features that got cut.

A female farmer talks to Kanoa, a red-haired man, on the beach Image: Natsume Inc.

Harsh weather affects your stamina

Your stamina will go down throughout the day as you run around the world, mine, or tend to your crops, but being in extreme weather conditions, like the cold or heat, will deplete it faster. To avoid this, you’ll need to eat specific foods to help warm you up or cool you down.

There’s no forced nighttime curfew

Unlike older Harvest Moon games, you won’t be forced to go to bed when it gets too late. Players will be able to stay up past midnight and beyond, allowing them to spend their time how they want. Certain animals will only come out at night, so you’ll want to explore later in the day as well.

Harvest Moon: One World will be released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on March 2. Limited Run Games will also sell collector’s editions of the games for Switch and PS4, which come with a diorama and a plush chicken.