Rune Factory Tides of Destiny1 Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny Goes Gold

Natsume has announced that their latest entry in the fantasy RPG / farming simulation hybrid has been released to production and will be on store shelves October 11th.  As the fifth game in the Rune Factory franchise, Tides of Destiny seems to be placing a greater emphasis on story than its predecessors with a island-hoping tale of two best friends cursed to inhabit the same body.

On top of this unusual calamity, the Fenith Island they knew is gone, replaced by a strange island populated with unfamiliar faces. However, nothing will sink the spirits of the two friends, and by exploring this new world, they will be able to solve the mystery of their curse and save their beloved island. During the course of their journey, Aden and Sonja will be aided by a colorful cast of characters, as well as take command of a towering golem, Ymir. Using their newfound giant friend, they’ll cross vast seas, discover hidden islands and dungeons packed with riches, and battle fearsome monsters of the deep!

Harvest Moon games have been a perennial favorite of mine since the Nintendo 64 days, but there often comes a point where the farm has become so prosperous that there’s little incentive to continue.  The Rune Factory spinoffs address that late game drift by marrying those same addicting tasks to a light action-RPG framework where your profits are immediately reinvested in better monster-slaying gear so you can collect materials to craft better farming tools.  Managing such a variety of tasks within the game’s real-time framework is diabolically addicting, and the designers who gambled on such an odd amalgam of different genres have continued to improve the formula with every successive release.

Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny will be available on the Nintendo Wii and, for the first time ever, on the PlayStation 3 with integrated Move support in a little over two weeks.