Rune Factory (ルーンファクトリー Rūn Fakutorī) is a role-playing simulation video game series developed by Neverland Co., Ltd. for the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Wii and the PlayStation 3 video game consoles, and a spin-off of the Harvest Moon/Story of Season video game series. It is described by Yoshifumi Hashimoto, producer of the Harvest Moon/Story of Season series, as "Harvest Moon where you wield a sword."
Common gameplay elements
The gameplay of the Rune Factory series is similar to that of Harvest Moon/Story of Season. For every one real-world second, one in-game minute passes. The player can grow crops, using upgradeable farm equipment. However, the Harvest Moon game mechanic of purchasing animals has been replaced by defeating and befriending monsters in dungeons. If a monster is tamed, it can help the player in battle, produce goods, or help to tend the crops. The game's combat is in the action role-playing game style.
Like most Harvest Moon/Story of Season games, the player is given a limited amount of stamina, in the form of "Rune Points", or "RP". Rune Points get depleted as the player performs tasks at the farm or fights using a weapon or magic. The player is given hit points as well. The player can attack with no RP by sacrificing HP. The player can replenish RP by using Runes created by fully-grown crops or potions, while HP can be restored using medicine or healing spells. The town bathhouse restores both HP and RP. If the player runs out of HP while working on their farm, they will collapse and be rescued; however, in Rune Factory and Rune Factory 2, dying outside the town causes game over. In all other games, the player will not die while fighting in the caves or ruins.
Crops can be planted in different areas to sell for gold; other activities include mining for metal and minerals, fishing, or collecting food such as milk and eggs from befriended monsters. The player can then spend money and material to buy a variety of upgrades for their house, weapons, and tools.
In addition to their open-ended gameplay, the games possess a linear storyline, which can be furthered by exploring dungeons and defeating certain monsters. Just like in the Harvest Moon series, the main character's relationship with the other villagers increase by talking to them or performing actions that please them, like giving items they like as presents for example. Some of them can even be married if their relationship improves enough. Some games of the series require the protagonist to get married as part of the storyline.
|Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon||NDS||August 24, 2006||August 14, 2007||February 13, 2009||March 12, 2009||N/A|
|Rune Factory 2||NDS||January 3, 2008||November 18, 2008||October 8, 2010||November 18, 2010||N/A|
|Rune Factory Frontier||Wii||November 27, 2008||March 17, 2009||April 1, 2010||N/A||N/A|
|Rune Factory 3||NDS||October 22, 2009||November 9, 2010||September 30, 2011||N/A||N/A|
|Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny||PS3 and Wii||February 24, 2011||October 7, 2011||May 25, 2012||June 13, 2012||N/A|
|Rune Factory 4||3DS||July 19, 2012||October 1, 2013||December 11, 2014||December 11, 2014||N/A|
|Rune Factory 4 Special||Switch||July 25, 2019||Winter||Winter||Winter||December 5, 2019|
|Rune Factory 5||Switch||2020||TBA||TBA||TBA||N/A|
According to Marvelous' managing director and Harvest Moon's creator, Yasuhiro Wada, Rune Factory 2 does not borrow the Harvest Moon(Bokujō Monogatari) name for the Japanese release. This was done in order to grow Rune Factory as an independent series and Marvelous will continue to do this with all future installments including Rune Factory Frontier. Despite this, Natsume applied the subtitle A Fantasy Harvest Moon to Rune Factory 2 and Rune Factory 3.
Rune Factory Frontier was announced during an interview between Cubed3 and Yasuhiro Wada on June 6, 2007, and was fully revealed on June 4, 2008 in the Japanese video game magazine Famitsu. On July 11, 2008, Marvelous Entertainment USA and Xseed Games announced that they were both bringing Rune Factory Frontier to North America. Rune Factory Frontier released in the NA region on March 17, 2009.
Rune Factory 5 was said to be expected at "some point in time", according to series producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto. In November 2013, Neverland Co. filed for bankruptcy, leaving the future of the series in question at the time. However, in February 2014 it was revealed that the Rune Factory development team had been hired by Marvelous AQL, and that they were developing the Nintendo 3DS simulation role-playing video game Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven. In February 2019, during the 13.02.19 Nintendo Direct, Rune Factory 5 was once again confirmed to be in development by Hakama, a new studio founded by Hashimoto.
Rune Factory 2 has had multiple manga series to help promote the game, in such magazines as Dengeki Nintendo DS, Monthly Wings, Dragon Age, and Dengeki Maoh. If players pre-ordered the game in Japan, they would receive a free CD with three mini-dramas as well as an 18-page art book. Sometime after the release of the game in Japan, a CD with all the background music, three mini-dramas, and the two theme songs was released with a novel based on the game following sometime after. The American pre-order bonus was a plush Chipp, a monster in the series similar in appearance to a squirrel, that was included in the box when ordered from participating websites.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2009)
|Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon||79% ||78% |
|Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon||81% ||77% |
|Rune Factory Frontier||82% ||79% |
|Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon||79% ||77% |
|Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny||55% (PS3) 
78% (Wii) 
|55% (PS3) |
|Rune Factory 4||79% ||78% |
The Rune Factory series has been well received.
Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon received an 8.4 rating from IGN's Mark Bozon. Bozon commented that the art style was "amazing", and that it was "the Harvest Moon you've been waiting for". 91/100 from Gamebrink, 7.0/10 from Nintendo Power, and 4/5 from X-Play.
- "Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
- "Rune Factory 4 Gets Official Release date" Game Informer. Retrieved 9-13-2013
- "『ルーンファクトリー４スペシャル』| Nintendo Switch™". ルーンファクトリー４ (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-02-19.
- Games, Marvelous (2019-12-03). "Generally North American and European release dates are always different - as games release on a Tuesday in North America and Friday in Europe. In relation to Rune Factory 4 Special a release date has yet to be announced; but is planned for Winter release (in both US & EU)". @marvelous_games. Retrieved 2019-12-05.
- Rune Factory 4 Special - Announcement Trailer [NINTENDO SWITCH], retrieved 2019-08-16
- "符文工廠4豪華版". 符文工廠4豪華版 官方網站 (in Chinese). Retrieved 2019-12-08.
- "『ルーンファクトリー５』| Nintendo Switch". 『ルーンファクトリー５』| Nintendo Switch (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-02-14.
- "C3 Interview with Yasuhiro Wada". Cubed3. 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- "Natsume's Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon for DS Goes Gold". IGN. 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
- Anthony Gallegos (December 6, 2010). "Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Review". IGN. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
- "Marvelous Entertainment USA and XSEED Games join forces to announce E3 lineup". July 11, 2008. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
- Isshan (2012-09-28). "Rune Factory 4 Sales Cross 150,000 in Japan". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Engen (2013-11-30). "Rune Factory Developer Declares Bankruptcy". Escapist Magazine. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- "Nintendo Direct 2.13.2019". 2019-02-13.
- "Amazon offers Rune Factory 2 squirrel preorder". News. Gamertell. 2008-10-06. Retrieved 2010-11-06.
- "Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon". GameRankings. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- "Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- "Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon". GameRankings. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- "Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- "Rune Factory Frontier". GameRankings. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- "Rune Factory Frontier". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-07-22.
- "Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "Rune Factory 3: A Fantasy Harvest Moon". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- "Rune Factory 4". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- "Rune Factory 4". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
- Bozon (August 17, 2007). "Rune Factory Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
- "Rune Factory 2: A Fantasy Harvest Moon Review". IGN. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
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- Official website (in Japanese)