|Rune Factory 4|
Rune Factory 4[b] is a role-playing video game developed by Neverland and published by Marvelous AQL for the Nintendo 3DS. It is the sixth game in the Rune Factory series, and the first to be released on the 3DS. It was released in Japan in July 2012, in North America in October 2013, and in PAL regions in December 2014. An enhanced version, titled Rune Factory 4 Special[c], was released for the Nintendo Switch in Japan in July 2019 and worldwide in February 2020. It was also released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows in 2021.
Features common to previous games in the Rune Factory series, including farming, dungeon exploring, and marriage, return in Rune Factory 4.
Crafting is one of the main features in the series, with which all equipment used by the main character is created. From shoes to many types of weapons, crafting materials of various stats to form new equipment is the key to character progression - more so than the traditional leveling up feature that most RPGs rely on.
Rune Factory 4 adds the ability to make "Orders". As the prince or princess of Selphia, these Orders can range from requesting a town event (such as a harvest festival) to pushing back a storm from wiping out your crops.
The game begins by offering the player two lines of dialogue, and the choice between the two determines their character's gender. It is revealed that the character is traveling by airship to the town of Selphia to meet and deliver a gift to its 'god'. The airship, however, is invaded by rogue soldiers and a fight ensues. During the fight the character is hit in the head and it is later revealed that they developed amnesia, as has been the case with all previous Rune Factory mobile installments. The player is thrown out of the airship and lands in the town of Selphia, where they are mistaken for a member of royalty who was supposed to be showing up soon to help run the town. Although this is quickly revealed not to be the case, the actual prince, named Arthur, who was due to arrive, is happy to let the player take over his job. From there on out you are to attract tourists, gain trust from the villagers in Selphia, and work around the town to unlock features needed to carry on with the slice of life aspects of the game. At the same time, you will find a mysterious force at work in the nearby dungeons that is in need of investigation, with some monsters turning into humans upon their defeat. You may also date a bachelor or bachelorette, get married, and have one child. There are six bachelors and six bachelorettes, each have their own charming points and back stories which you will learn through series of events before marriage. You can equip other villagers, even your child, with battle gear and have maximum two person to fight alongside you. Characters from Rune Factory 2 and 3, Barrett and Raven, appear as cameos and can be recruited into a players party for dungeon exploration.
Rune Factory 4 features many characters residing in Selphia. If playing as the male protagonist, the player can choose to marry one of the following female characters:
- Clorica: An apprentice butler who is quick and competent at her work but often does so in her sleep.
- Margaret: The kind and hardworking elf who plays music at Porcoline's restaurant.
- Amber: An innocent girl with butterfly wings who loves sunny weather.
- Dolce: A girl who is frequently accompanied by the ghost, Pico. Her manner is blunt but she is genuinely kind.
- Xiao Pai: A hardworking and cheerful girl at the town inn. Her clumsiness leads to numerous mistakes.
- Forte: The serious and honest knight of Selphia. She's protective of her brother, Kiel.
If playing as the female protagonist, the player can choose to marry one of the following male characters:
- Vishnal: An apprentice butler training to become a full-fledged butler.
- Arthur: A prince from the capital. His passion for trade and negotiation leads to him working more than the average person.
- Dylas: A man with horse-like traits. His quiet and antisocial nature results in him being misunderstood.
- Doug: A hot-blooded dwarf who works at the general store. He has a large appetite.
- Kiel: An innocent young man who loves to read in the hopes his knowledge will benefit the townspeople.
- Leon: A mysterious man who enjoys teasing people but also keeps them at a distance.
Producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto said that the main theme is "passionate love, sweet marriage". This led him to greatly expand the types of dating events and their dramatic nature, and creating scenarios where players can go adventuring with their families. This was done to create a world that is not purely combat or farming driven, but gives players a choice. Another focus of development was to make farming, though repetitive by nature, a satisfying experience for a player. Drawing inspiration from games such as Pikmin, where Captain Olimar would pull Pikmin from the ground with a pop, and DokiDoki Panic, he decided to make the game's framerate run at 60 so that character responses to controller input would be felt immediately. It was announced in January 2013 that publisher Xseed Games would be localizing the game for North American audiences; they had previously localized Rune Factory Frontier for the Wii.
On September 12, Xseed Games announced that the game would have a release date for the North American audiences, which was announced to be October 1, 2013. Xseed would later release the game in Europe and Australia via the 3DS eShop on December 11, 2014. An enhanced version of the game for the Nintendo Switch, titled Rune Factory 4 Special, was released in Japan on July 25, 2019, in North America on February 25, 2020, and in Europe and Australia on February 28, 2020. This release features a new opening theme, another difficulty option, and uses Live2D technology for the additional Newlywed mode. This version of the game was also released for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows on December 7, 2021.
Japanese sales exceeded 150,000 copies, becoming the best selling game in the Rune Factory series, eclipsing Rune Factory 2, which had the top sales prior. Profits were well above expectation for game publisher Marvelous AQL. Due to the game's success, the game caused an upward revision of profits by 106.7% for the second financial quarter of 2012.
- Isshan (2011-06-30). "Your First Good Look Inside Rune Factory 4". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Isshan (2012-07-19). "Recruit Raven And Barrett As Party Members In Rune Factory 4". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- "Rune Factory 4 Special - Characters". Rune Factory 4. XSeed Games. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
- Laura (2012-06-29). "Rune Factory Was Inspired By Dragon Quest, Says Producer". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Laura (2012-07-05). "The Origins Of Rune Factory Revealed By Series Producer Hashimoto". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Alexander Sliwinski (2013-08-01). "Rune Factory 4 delayed, but 'will definitely be worth the wait'". joystiq. Retrieved 2013-08-22.
- "Rune Factory 4 Gets Official Release Date" Game Informer. Retrieved 9-13-2013
- "Xseed Are Trying To Release Rune Factory 4 In Europe Via The Nintendo eShop". Siliconera. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
- Romano, Sal (13 February 2019). "Rune Factory 4 Special and Rune Factory 5 announced for Switch". Gematsu. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
- Gilliam, Ryan (2019-02-13). "Rune Factory 5 in the works as Rune Factory 4 heads to Switch". Polygon. Retrieved 2019-02-14.
- Romano, Sal. "Rune Factory 4 Special launches February 25 in North America, February 28 in Europe". Gematsu. Retrieved 2 September 2023.
- Wong, Alistair (April 4, 2019). "Rune Factory 4 Special Previews Its New Opening Song And New Features". Siliconera.
- Lada, Jenni (February 27, 2020). "Romance Feels Like It Matters More in Rune Factory 4 Special". Siliconera.
- Smith, Graham (4 November 2021). "Rune Factory 4 will craft, marry, kill on PC this December 7th". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
- "Rune Factory 4 for 3DS Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
- "Rune Factory 4 Special for Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
- "Rune Factory 4 Special for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
- "Rune Factory 4 Special for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
- "Rune Factory 4 Special for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved 2022-07-06.
- North, Dale (2013). "Review: Rune Factory 4". Destructoid. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Romano (July 7, 2012). "Famitsu Review Scores: Issue 1232". Gematsu. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
- Wallace, Kimberly (2013). "Rune Factory 4 - Royalty Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be". Game Informer. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Sullivan, Meghan (2013). "Rune Factory 4 Review". IGN. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- Isshan (2012-09-28). "Rune Factory 4 Sales Cross 150,000 in Japan". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- Spencer (2012-10-19). "Marvelous AQL Profits Soar Thanks To Rune Factory 4 And Senran Kagura: Burst". Siliconera. Retrieved 2013-01-23.