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XSEED reverses self censorship and restores gay marriage for Western release of STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town

STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town gay wedding

Recently, STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town, the newest farming simulator from Marvelous, has been causing quite a controversy. You see, the localization team announced they were changing a "Best Friend" system into gay marriage for the Western release of the game. Some sites are performing self fellatio over the inclusion of gay marriage while others are angrily shaking their metaphoric fist in autistic rage. Both sides having declaring this act a victory for SJWs, while neither have any clue that this isn't the first time non heterosexual marriage has been in a Harvest Moon game.

To understand why the localization team made the change to include gay marriage we need to discuss exactly what STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town actually is. You see, STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town is not an original game, rather it is a remake of two previous games in the HarvestMoon/Story of Seasons series; Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town. (For those unaware, Story of Seasons is the actual continuation of the Harvest Moon series while the current "Harvest Moon" series is a completely new series of games by Natsume) This may seem like filler information but I assure you it is important context because the "Best Friend" system originated in 2005's Harvest Moon DS Cute(Bokujō Monogatari: Korobokkuru Sutēshon for Gāru).

This "Best Friend" system, which was removed for the 2008 American release, functioned exatly like the marriage system. Your character, a female farmer, could propose "eternal friendship" to one of the 4 special bachelorettes from Harvest Moon DS. If you did this you could no longer marry any of the eligible bachelors, your "best friend" moved in with you, you were given a child to raise, and you even had a "friendship" ceremony that was identical to the game's marriage ceremony. However, it was removed for the Western release so this feature flew under the radar of those loudly screaming about the gay marriage in the current game.

A gay wedding in Harvest Moon DS Cute
In 2016 producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto spoke with Polygon about the possibility of same sex marriages in future Story of Seasons games and it seems neither the Polygon interviewer nor Yoshifumi acknowledged Harvest Moon Ds Cute's "Best Friend" System. In the interview Yoshifumi sited the need to add additional, gay only characters, as the reason same sex marriage was too difficult to put in the game just yet. He did give the interviewer some hope for same sex marriages by saying they would be included "sooner or later."

I am not surprised by Yoshifumi trying to dance around the question as gay marriage is still illegal in Japan, so including it in a children's game might raise eyebrows and game ratings. This is precisely why the Japanese version of STORY OF SEASONS: Friends of Mineral Town has the "Best Friend" system in place. Marvelous self censored their game in their home region in order to appease the ratings board and ultra traditional Japanese citizens.

Gay marriage was built into the game from the very beginning and this name change from "Best Friend" to "Marriage" is actually restoring the original vision of the developers. Those complaining about this change are proving themselves to be as censorious as the people they oppose. Those celebrating this as a win as just as clueless as they are literally celebrating something, Japanese developers bending the knee, that didn't happen.