Rune Factory 4
|Rune Factory 4|
North American cover art
|Genre(s)||Simulation, role-playing video game|
Rune Factory 4 (ルーンファクトリー4 Rūn Fakutorī 4) is a simulation/role-playing video game developed by Neverland Co. 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 and in North America in October 2013. While the game was originally announced for European release, it was later cancelled due to the bankruptcy of Neverland in early 2014. Xseed Games would later release the game in Europe and Australia via the Nintendo eShop in December 2014.
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.
New to Rune Factory 4 is 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 was thrown out of the airship, where the player 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, 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.
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 games framerate at 60 so that the game was smooth and character responses to controller input would be immediate. 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 Nintendo 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.
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 Q2 2012.
In August 2012, Rune Factory producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto stated that a Rune Factory 5 had been greenlit due to the positive reception of Rune Factory 4, although they hadn't actively started working on it as of that time. Despite this, Neverland Co. filed for bankruptcy in November 2013, leaving the future of the series in question at the time. 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.
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