Rapid-Fire Interview: Chatting with the developers of Harvestella
Harvestella released earlier this month, and while we’re stilling working on our review (it’s a big game), we were lucky enough to have a quick chat with the game’s developers about the game.
We spoke to Game Producer Daisuke Taka and Director and Scenario Writer Hiroto Furuya. Here’s what they had to say about their game. We asked these questions before the game was released and only had hands on with the demo.
What was the inspiration behind the story of Harvestella?
Hiroto Furuya: The story of Harvestella places a lot of emphasis on being a narrative that feels like it belongs in an RPG – it’s a story about saving the planet. The biggest inspirations were Square Enix games like Final Fantasy and Chrono Cross. We’ve built a unique world and lore with elements of science fiction mixed into fantasy.
Vooks: Obviously there’s a big focus in Harvestella on both action combat gameplay and farming. How did you go about balancing these two aspects, and did you find it difficult to keep them both in balance?
Daisuke Taka: We poured a lot of time and effort into it. We limited the resources to manage as much as possible, trimming it down to just time, money and stamina – which made it easier to balance.
Vooks: The visual design and the music are very beautiful and powerful parts of Harvestella, did they influence the development at all? Or did the development of the game influence the look and sound?
Daisuke Taka: From the very early stages of planning, we added all kinds of elements from the creative side of things – for example, saying, “Let’s do it this way, because it will look cool,” or “We have to change this bit – it doesn’t match the music.”
Vooks: Why did you decide to combine elements from both traditional life simulation RPGs and more combat-heavy RPGs?
Daisuke Taka: Since Square Enix has a lot of RPGs, I thought it would be difficult to compete with a standard RPG format. The game has proceeded according to our vision from the early stages of development.
Vooks: During the demo and trailers there was a focus on the theme of time, both in the story and in gameplay, can you tell us if that will play an important role going forward?
Daisuke Taka: Living from day-to-day means that time is passing. The story also mentions the overarching, grand flow of time.
Vooks: The demo hints at players being able to have much more freedom in the full game, with class customisation, renovations and exploration. Was player freedom a focus during development?
I don’t know if there’s the amount of freedom that a life sim player might imagine. However, when compared to standard RPGs, the game isn’t on rails, and I think there’s a relatively high level of freedom.
Vooks: We got to meet a few interesting characters whilst playing the demo, and start building friendships with them. How much of a focus will be on building bonds with the main characters, and are there any characters not yet revealed that you’re excited for players to meet?
Daisuke Taka: As well as the eight characters that join your party, there are also several key NPCs. Each of these characters has a story full of content that holds up well, even when compared to the main story itself – so I hope players will enjoy these character stories too.
Vooks: We were only able to see a little bit of the world during the demo, how big is the world of Harvestella and can we explore it all?
Daisuke Taka: Compared to usual life sim games, it will probably feel quite big. There are other worlds as well. And there are things you can ride, so please do explore the entire world.
Vooks: What was your favourite part of Harvestella to create and what are you most excited about players experiencing?
Daisuke Taka: At the same time as being the Producer, I was also in charge of overall game design for Harvestella. Every moment I spent working on the development was great fun.
I’d be delighted for players to experience Harvestella as new kind of life sim, with a rich story set against the backdrop of its beautiful world and music.
Harvestella is out now, look for our review shortly. Thanks to the developers for their time.