| A series of real-time farming simulators with a sandbox-style gameplay where players are free to pursue their own goals at their own pace. The games include social interaction with other characters and contain dating simulation elements as the player may court and marry a pool of eligible townsfolk. The franchise is divided into two similar series by different developers: Marvelous AQL (the original developer) and Natsume (publisher turned developer).
Original Harvest Moon (renamed Story of Seasons)
The original Harvest Moon series started in 1996 by Marvelous AQL. The object of the game is to maintain a farm over a period of time, tending the crops and livestock through the seasons, while befriending the nearby townsfolk and getting married in some games. Most gameplay in the Harvest Moon games consists of planting seeds to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs, and collecting items, making home improvements, and building personal relationships. A successful farmer must weigh the cost, selling price, number of harvests, and growth times of the various types of produce in order to pick the best product for each of the seasons. One can also go fishing and mining for extra profit.
New Harvest Moon
A new series using the old name, started in 2014 by the original publisher Natsume. As a localization company first and foremost, Natsume has struggled to internally-develop games using a completely different development team, resulting in games with a different look and feel to the original series. The Natsume Harvest Moon series has experimented with new gameplay elements to mixed reception, such as reworking the farming simulation, improving plant genetics/mutations, the introduction of Minecraft-esque terraforming, and a bag that automatically selects the best tool for a job.