First Harvest Moon PS2 details

[04.13.01] » New information, screenshots and a Japanese release date for the PlayStation 2 installment of everyone's favorite farming franchise.

   Victor Interactive quietly unveiled its latest installment of the long-running farming sim Harvest Moon at last month's Tokyo Game Show. Now the company has revealed the first screens of the game in action and some of the gameplay changes for the upcoming PlayStation 2 version.

   Officially titled Harvest Moon 3, the PS2 upgrade will offer all the nail-biting excitement of animal husbandry and crop maintenance seen in the previous installments. Beyond the graphical overhaul and use of cel-shaded characters, the biggest announced change is the time frame of the game itself. Past Harvest Moon's restricted players with a three years deadline to get their farm in shape, but the sequel will offer a bit more flexibility. Harvest Moon 3 can be "completed" in as little as one year or extended for up to ten.

   Victor also hinted at a few of the smaller tweaks to the game. The player's pet dog will now play a larger role in the game and can be taught special tricks. The company also promises the ever-popular dating aspects will receive a greater focus, though the more open-end time frame means marriage will no longer be an option. Players can also expect new minigames and town festivals to round out the changes.

   Harvest Moon 3 is currently set for a July 17 release in Japan. Natsume, the series' US publisher, has made no mention of a possible American release, but considering Harvest Moon is one of that company's flagship franchises, the PS2 version should arrive in the states sometime later this year.

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