STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town Localization Blog #1
Howdy, everybody! This is John from XSEED Games, here to tell you a little about STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town. It’s been about three years since I wrote about the previous installment in the original farming simulation series, Trio of Towns, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the chance to talk about the newest entry.
However, as many of you probably know, STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town isn’t a “new” entry, but rather a complete remake of two of the most beloved titles, originally released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003 and 2004 as Friends of Mineral Town and More Friends of Mineral Town. The literal translation of the Japanese title for this remake is closer to “Reunion in Mineral Town,” but as this is a remake and not a sequel, we decided to stick with the original subtitle to help avoid confusion.
So, what is Friends of Mineral Town about? (Veteran farmers feel free to skip to the next paragraph.) A young city dweller is invited to take over the farm that belonged to their grandfather in Mineral Town, an idyllic community in the foothills. There, they learn how to till the soil (in 1×1 squares, thank you very much) and become a part of a vibrant community, making friends, participating in festivals, and even falling in love. It is a tried and true formula for the genre, and the new Friends of Mineral Town refines some of the gameplay while retaining the strong characterizations that made the original version a classic.
When we learned that the next title in the STORY OF SEASONS series would be a remake, we immediately started considering our approach to the localization. While we were concerned about messing with fans’ nostalgia for the world and characters of Mineral Town, we realized that we needed to approach the translation as a completely new project, without referencing the original English localization at all.
This will lead to some inevitable changes for veteran farmers—the most immediately noticeable to returning players is that some character names will be different. This was a point that we agonized over because we know just how important character names are to ardent fans of the series—I wrote a localization blog about Trio of Towns detailing the decision to return the name of the character “Lisette,” which had been changed to “Carolina” early in the translation process. But, ultimately, we decided that we had to be faithful to the Japanese names.
My role in Friends of Mineral Town is a project manager overseeing an excellent team of two translators, two editors, and one amazing proofreader. I never played the original release in English, but as the localized text rolled in, I read through it and thought a lot about how much language has changed in 16 years. 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. 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.
One major change between both the original version and the remake, as well as between our version and the Japanese version, concerns what has been called the “Best Friends” system in the Japanese release, where the player character can form a lifelong partnership with a character of the same sex. 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.
There will be lots more exciting news to come as we reveal the English versions of some beloved characters, as well as the game’s many quality of life improvements. I’m excited to dive into Friends of Mineral Town this summer, and I hope you’ll join me as we bridge the gap between the past and present for a new and yet wonderfully familiar experience.
You can pre-order STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town today from:
XSEED Games Store: https://bit.ly/34hDXM2
Best Buy: https://bit.ly/2z9WKxc