[Honey’s Anime Interview] Director Hikaru Nakano for STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive Town

Switch_STORYOFSEASONSPioneersofOliveTown_Screenshot_1 [Honey’s Anime Interview] Director Hikaru Nakano for STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive Town

Hello Everyone, and welcome to Honey’s Anime. We are here today to present to you a wonderful interview we had with the Director of STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive Town, Hikaru Nakano-san. We were given the opportunity to conduct an interview with them to talk about the new release back in March as we were able to get some hands-on experience with the game and it has really hit us in the feels. We ask Nakano-san about his perspective on being a part of the franchise for STORY OF SEASONS (formerly Harvest Moon), his thoughts on the game itself, what he feels about the growing popularity of the genre, to how the pandemic has affected the development for the title and what they learned from it!

Please read on and enjoy this interview and we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed interviewing Hikaru Nakano-san~!

Hikaru Nakano

Interview with Director Hikaru Nakano for STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive Town

You've been a part of the Bokujo Monogatari series (formerly Harvest Moon, now Story of Seasons) since the Nintendo 64 era when you participated in the development of Harvest Moon 64, also known as Bokujo Monogatari 2 in Japan. What accomplishments have you and the series achieved that you would never have imagined at that time?

To be honest, I never imagined that STORY OF SEASONS would still be going after 25 years. It is a testament to the hard work of everyone who has been involved—not only me, but all of the developers, directors, producers, marketing teams, and localizers—with each and every release in the series.

During my time as a developer, I was just doing my best to keep up. But the memories that stand out when I look back now are my time as a developer on Magical Melody for the GameCube and my time as a producer on Island of Happiness because we made it so the player could choose to be a male or female character in both of those games.

How do you feel about farming video games now being their own genre, with more and more titles coming out every year? Do you think there's still room for innovation?

Each farming game is unique, so it is difficult to categorize them as one cohesive genre. What they do have in common, though, is depictions of everyday life and work, which means the possibilities are limited only by our imagination. I expect to see many more games coming out that will surprise and entertain us. I personally would love getting even closer with the animals in STORY OF SEASONS, and would love to be able to cuddle and nap with them. I am excited just thinking about it!

What led the team to make the decision to release Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town as a Nintendo Switch exclusive—considering Friends of Mineral Town, for example, was also released on PC simultaneously?

With Pioneers of Olive Town having more advanced features than in previous releases, we wanted to develop the game for Nintendo Switch before considering other platforms. The Switch is a great gaming system for the genre, that combined with the portability which fits well with the STORY OF SEASONS series made it the most logical choice.

How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the development process?

Our development process relied on face-to-face interaction, so when the pandemic started things were a little chaotic. Like many other companies, we began working from home, but we weren’t used to doing it that way. Everyone’s home situation and internet conditions are different, so there was some loss in efficiency while we were dealing with new situations. These days we’ve become more accustomed to working from home, though we are still trying different ways to improve our development efficiency.

What's your favorite new feature of Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town?

My favorite new feature is also the main theme of the game—pioneering and developing your farm. By developing the land, the size of your farm increases, and you are able to discover new things that are buried deep in the forest that surrounds it. It’s not necessary to clear the entire forest; you can leave some of it untouched or develop every square inch if you wish. You determine how you live and go at your own pace.

Is there something the team couldn't include in this game that you definitely want to explore in future games or DLC?

This is just something I myself would want, but I’d really like to create a deep mine that goes on forever, similar to what we had in Harvest Moon DS. But a mine that is deep just for the sake of it doesn’t add any real value to a game, so we would need to consider how best to implement it.

Other than building the most prosperous farm, marriage has always been one of the ultimate goals. Do you have a favorite bachelor or bachelorette in the Story of Seasons saga?

I get to choose from the entire series?! That’s a big list!
I do like all the characters, but when considering their dispositions, I particularly like Gwen from Harvest Moon: Save the Homeland. She loves animals, and she’s always considerate of the relationship between humans and nature. When going by strongest impact, the Witch Princess leaves quite the impression. She says some awful things in Harvest Moon DS, but she’s mellowed out somewhat in Island of Happiness. Though whether she falls into the bachelorette category is a bit of a gray area.

In Pioneers of Olive Town, I’m quite fond of Laura.

In your opinion, what should both newcomers and long-time fans look forward to the most about Story of Seasons: Pioneers of Olive Town?

For players new to STORY OF SEASONS, I want them to enjoy growing crops, raising animals, mining, and going fishing at their own pace. For returning players, I hope they enjoy the new ways that they can develop a farm out of the untamed land.

Lastly, are there any new projects you have down the pipeline that you can share with us all?

There is nothing I can really comment on at this time, but I can say that we will be adding new content periodically to Pioneers of Olive Town through the Expansion Pass. We hope players will really enjoy it!

Final Thoughts

That is it for this wonderful interview with the Director of STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive Town, Hikaru Nakano-san. We sincerely hope you enjoyed this read as well as Nakano-san’s response to them. If you haven’t played STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive Town yet, make sure to check it out by visiting the link, here.

If you have any comments about the interview, make sure to sound off in the comment section below so we can discuss what we thought about our experience with this interview, or if you just want to express your joy for the franchise, we’ll definitely lend an ear! We hope you have a great day and stay safe out there!

Switch_STORYOFSEASONSPioneersofOliveTown_Screenshot_1 [Honey’s Anime Interview] Director Hikaru Nakano for STORY OF SEASONS: Pioneers of Olive Town

Editor in Chief

Author: Alfonso "Fonzy" Ortiz

I'm a Geek, Nerd, Writer, and lover of all video games, anime, science, technology and the internet. I previously worked for STFUandPlay.com, a contributing writer as the Japanese Corespondent at TheKoalition.com and founded a website called Transcend-Gaming.com! I currently live in Japan as Editor in Chief of Honey's Anime and its very talented writers! I'm down for anything! What do you want to do?

Previous Articles