Interviews// Yasuhiro Wada, creator of Harvest Moon

There is always a Zelda influence somewhere...

Posted 12 Apr 2007 18:30 by
Earlier this week, SPOnG managed to catch up with one of modern gaming's most idiosyncratic designers, Harvest Moon creator Yasuhiro Wada - currently development director over at Rising Star Games - for a wide-ranging chat about farming, growing up in the countryside, the future of Nintendo, the new DS and PSP versions of Harvest Moon and, surprisingly, his love of Grand Theft Auto and what exactly makes 'acceptable' violence in games.

Harvest Moon, described by some as a more hardcore Animal Crossing is a cult farm-based sim/RPG which first appeared in 1996 (in Japan, 1997 in Europe) on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). Increasingly complex versions of the game have also graced Game Boy, GBA, N64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, GameCube and later this month in Europe the most recent versions on DS and on PSP.

The charmingly simple object of Harvest Moon games is to maintain a farm over a period of time, tending the crops and livestock through the seasons, while befriending the nearby townsfolk, getting married, having kids and living happily ever after. Beyond everything else, its regularly cited as a refreshingly slow-paced antidote to the overwhelming trend of modern videogames to be faster, louder and increasingly more (unnecessarily) violent.

SPOnG: Hi, before we get started talking about the latest [DS and PSP] versions of Harvest Moon just wanted to talk a little bit about the history of the games. Its over ten years now since the first game

Yasuhiro Wada: Yes, the first game was released in 1996 in Japan, then in Europe the following year.


SPOnG: Can you tell us a little more about your original inspiration for the game?

Yasuhiro Wada: My life, my childhood I was born and raised in the countryside and I wanted to create a game that reflected rural life as opposed to games that represented urban life or warzones or that type of thing. So I wanted to create a new type of game based on my own experiences growing up outside of city life.


SPOnG: So would it be fair to say there are similarities between what you did (and do) with Harvest Moon and what Miyamoto does with Zelda?

Yasuhiro Wada: Yes, of course. I really respect Mr Miyamoto. Zelda was the first game that made me want to make games myself. Whenever I construct a game there is always a Zelda influence somewhere in there.


SPOnG: Harvest Moon is a fairly slow-paced game were there any other games which gave you this idea of creating a much slower gaming experience?

Yasuhiro Wada: How the timing and pace of the game is experienced is totally dependent upon the players themselves and their individual personality, I think. Some players tell me my games are too fast, others tell me they are too slow. I dont consider the game to be slow, I dont think of it like that. I wanted to create a game that was based on the endlessly circulating time of the seasons, with the player being thrown into this circulating timeframe in which they can develop human friendships and relationships, tend to their crops and look after animals and livestock.

There is certainly some influence from Legend of Zelda, in that [in those games] players were able to destroy every single rock or tree or interact with many things and characters around them. Of course, the difference was that in Zelda there is no concept of time as such time has stopped there so players can do whatever they want to do without thinking about the timescale at all. By introducing the timescale into Harvest Moon I wanted to introduce this sense of the circulating time based on the seasons to players.
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Comments

Brittany 13 Apr 2007 20:58
1/7
I love Harvest Moon. I'm new to the games, as I started playing Magical Melody about 2 years ago. I started with Animal Crossing, saw HM.. and immediately fell in love. I'm excited that its expanding on many different systems. I don't have a PSP myself, but I imagine Innocent Life will be great.. and might consider buying one for just that game. I already own the one on the DS and love it. (Harvest Moon on the go!)

Harvest Moon is my favorite game series and will continue to be. I can't wait till Harvest Moon Wii come out.

~Brittany R.
DoctorDee 14 Apr 2007 09:37
2/7
Brittany wrote:
I don't have a PSP myself, but I imagine Innocent Life will be great.. and might consider buying one for just that game.

I imagine Sony is hoping a lot of people will feel exactly that way.

I haven't played Harvet Moon myself, but I've been around people who are playing ii, and they all seem to love it - I'll give it a go soon!

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Rosa 17 Jan 2009 01:23
3/7
omg i am a big fan of harvesat moon it took me a whole year to get ALL of the games i love Harvest moon ds cute the most! I past almost all of them my moom says that if i keep playin i will get fat and gain 90 pounds(i will be 170)ewwww.
Rosa 17 Jan 2009 01:23
4/7
omg i am a big fan of harvesat moon it took me a whole year to get ALL of the games i love Harvest moon ds cute the most! I past almost all of them my moom says that if i keep playin i will get fat and gain 90 pounds(i will be 170)ewwww.
Akarie 17 Jan 2009 01:31
5/7
i have a stupid jappanese name.:( becouse my mom(belive it or not)is addicted to Manga sense she went to japan.and the good thing she buys alot of games Like HARVST MOON DS CUTE!!=OO=
Me 21 Jan 2009 01:30
6/7
Harvest Moon have a lot of success... now, I understand why it's based in the rural life...
And, with this interview, we can see that Yasuhiro-san is really a kind man...
Bye!
Wolf Hikari 25 Apr 2011 06:57
7/7
Thanks for the great game called Harvest Moon, I really like that game and now I am open to a farming life. :)
But still.. I hear that Wada-san has step down? Or it is just a rumor? Anyway, HM really grab me into it. Until I would like to make a HM game too. XD
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