Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town was one of the more pleasant surprises of 2019. (Remember 2019? That was only 950 million years ago.) Coming from Marvelous and XSEED, it remakes Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and female variant More Friends of Mineral Town from Game Boy Advance, and it is targeting a July release for North America on Nintendo Switch. And an XSEED localization blog post about the new game reveals a major detail: In the western release of the game, same-sex marriage will be possible.
Marriage for all in Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town
The Japanese version of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town makes use of a “Best Friends” system that allows your character to form a lifelong partnership with someone of the same gender. But as localization project manager John Wheeler explains, they’ve decided to just call a spade a spade and change the terminology:
In our (localized) version, this will just be called “marriage,” and the relationship between same-sex couples will be given identical treatment to opposite-sex couples. This has been a very long time coming in the STORY OF SEASONS series, and the producer has been supportive of our decision from very early in development. One minor but important change for the North American and European releases of Friends of Mineral Town is that the “heart icon” indicating a marriage candidate’s romantic affinity for the player will display for all marriage candidates from the start of the game, where in the Japanese release it will only display for same-sex candidates after you confess and start dating.
Marriage equality may have a ways to go in Asia, but this is a change that is a no-brainer for the West.
Beyond that, Wheeler explains how the localization team made the decision to translate the game to be as faithful as possible to the original Japanese rather than yield to nostalgia and reference the Game Boy Advance Harvest Moon localization. It wasn’t a decision made lightly, but the team is confident it will make Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town a better final product.