Same-Sex Marriage In Story of Seasons
Is same-sex marriage coming to the world of farming? It seems like it, as another game has announced the introduction of gay marriage to its digital lands.
Harvest Moon is returning to North American gamers, and it looks like it’ll come with marriage equality too. Back in 2003, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town released in North America for the Gameboy Advance. The game followed a boy who inherited farmland from a pen pal. The player then tries to breathe new life into the rundown farm and become familiar with the neighboring town. The game later had a female-focused variant game, called Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town, that released in 2005 for North American gamers. But now, a joint remake of both games is on the way.
Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is expected to release in North America on the Nintendo Switch in July. In the Japanese version, which dropped last year, the game utilizes a “best friends” system to allow a player to form a “lifelong partnership” with a character in the game. And it appears that the game also allows for same-sex partnerships. But for the North American version of the game, localization project manager John Wheeler says the terms are being changed to call it what it is. Marriage.
“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,” Wheeler explained, according to Nintendo Enthusiast. “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.”
LGBTQ Representation In Farming Games
This isn’t the first time that gay marriage and same-sex relationships have shown up on digital farmlands. Stardew Valley, which was created by indie game developer Eric Barone, gave gamers the option of dating five male and five female townspeople. (An additional male and female option were later added to the game in an update). Gamers were able to romance and marry those characters no matter the genre they chose to play as.
And it seems like during the pandemic, everyone and their mom is playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch. While same-sex marriage, or marriage in general, has not appeared in that game, the latest installment has included several LGBTQ-friendly features. Animal Crossing: New Horizons included non-playable characters and couple C.J. and Flick.
“My partner’s into making slick collectibles if you want one,” C.J. tells players of Flick. “He’s sooooo talented — nyuk, nyuk. He’s a total artist and I can guarantee these models [collectibles within the game] will make your neighbors jealous! Usually he’s all about models of bugs and stuff, but when he’s got a fish to work from, his work is AMAZING.”
In addition, another character named Merry mentions a lesbian couple while talking about a “romantic comedy” comic.
“Romantic comedies! Ohmigosh, I didn’t know anybody else read those comics but me!” she exclaims. “My favorite’s about the shred-tastic Princess of Rocketboarding and her true love, the Princess of Explosions! They search the world for each other but HILARIOUS stuff always keeps them from happiness. Like, one time, a wizard swapped their minds! So they were together… but also further apart than ever! Eventually, they fooled the wizard a bunch and gt their own brains back. It was hilarious AND romantic.”
In addition, the game makes it possible to customize your character beyond the gender initially chosen. For instance, male player characters can choose hairstyles previously reserved for female characters. While this isn’t same-sex marriage, it’s another great step in the direction of LGBTQ representation in gaming.