So here's a curious question. There
always seems to be a theme in Harvest Moon of missing parents,
or an attempt to reconnect with family. Why is that?
YW: In the Harvest Moon series,
we need some drama, so that's why. If everyone was a happy family and
if you were surrounded by your family from the very beginning, it would
be kind of boring. That's why you want the user to build this family
-- to reconnect with his family, and to build it. You start from nothing,
and you get to the end, so you have to have some drama.
It almost reminds me of... many traditional RPGs begin with the hero losing his memory. But in this case, he has lost something which he does remember. Like, "Your parents are dead, and you're going to see your grandfather," or, "Your grandfather lost his farm, and you have to get it back." It seems like it always begins from a point of hardship, and I wonder why it's always focused on family first.
YW: Think about what it's like if you went through a loss of someone in your family. But here in this game, I want people to be able to get it back. As I said before, if you were happy in the beginning, there wouldn't be any story. So the main goal is, maybe you start from a loss, something really hard, but you can become happy in the end.
I certainly understand the story rhythm that comes from that. What's really interesting to me is that over multiple games, it often deals with that theme. It seems like there's something more behind it.
YW: You have a lot of joy and a lot
of sadness in your lifetime. Different types of joy and sadness. Not
everything is sad, and not everything is joy. It's just what's in front
of you. In an RPG or another game, everything is always just straight-up.
In Harvest Moon, you actually go through different stages, and
you want the user to go through those -- sadness, happiness, and everything.
So you're forging your own story.
What's also interesting to me is that it seems
like the new relationships you form with people like the wife that you
get or the animals you accumulate are more important than what you lost.
YW: It's not just ignoring the dead.
It's knowing that you also have people who are still alive, and that
they're really important for you to take care of them.
It's interesting that there's a consistent message in the series, it seems, of the ways to make yourself happy -- that you'll come to a better point from a point of sadness. I was also curious about the fact that it seems like there's a theme of technology versus nature, where quite often the main character comes from a city and is brought into the country, and has to deal with the differences of the countryside. Was that simply a device to teach the player how to play, because he comes from not knowing anything, or is that actually a message?
YW: That's the message. It's not just for design purposes, it's because I want people to go back at some point to nature, and to not forget nature.
I was just going to ask where you were born.
YW: Kyushu. Do you know Kyushu?
I've never been. I would like to.
So in your own words, what would that message be?
YW: Back to nature! It's not the only
important thing, with not only technology and city life.
It's interesting. It's kind of a
dichotomy -- when you have two things that are related. There's this
message being told through the most high-tech, technological vehicle.
YW: It's not like that. It's just a
medium to get the message, in the end. At some point there might be
a dichotomy, but it's not contradictory. I'm not pushing to go back
to the countryside life. I want to tell people that you need to take
care of nature and the forest, and since everybody's going to the cities,
there's no one in the countryside, and nobody is taking care of nature.