In the six years since its initial release, we’ve had time to think about what made Rune Factory 4 so great. From its iconic dungeons-meet-farmland genre and familiar dungeon RPG mechanics to its questionable harem agenda, it truly is a game of its own. Rune Factory 4: Special Edition and the ever-awaited Rune Factory 5 is just around the corner, and there’s a lot for fans to look forward to.
But, no game is perfect (as much as Skyrim fans would beg to differ). Here are 5 Things We’re Hoping To See In Rune Factory 5.
5. Same-sex marriage options
The six bachelors of Rune Factory 4
Times are changing and LGBTQ+ representation has become more critical than ever. While you technically could change the gender and skin of your character post-game, character dialogue would still refer to you by your original gender.
For the first six titles of the series, the player was strictly male. Rune Factory 4 was a turning point in the franchise. It allowed players to play as a female protagonist, subsequently introducing male bachelors. It’s very unlikely that the game would actually implement such a feature, but it is indubitable that doing so would be monumental. Considering the game’s Japanese conception, it would certainly be a stand-out act of support for the LGBTQ+ community.
4. More comprehensive dates
Example dialogue for when the player attempts to cheat
A feature we saw develop in Rune Factory 4 was dating. More specifically, we saw the dating process become a lot more comprehensive. No longer was love determined by repetitive, trivial gifting of brooches and the occasional squid. Rather, dates became elaborately personalized and gave greater insight into the individualistic lives of those you were coming to love.
Of course, the revamped dating system still had its flaws. There was a lack of options all around. You could only ever go to Porcoline’s so many times before wanting to file harassment charges against the man. The dialogue? Charming, but repetitive. Rune Factory is one of those games you can play for a hundred hours and still not grow tired of. But the same cannot be said of the dating system. It would be interesting to see what Marvelous brings to the table this time around.
3. A new kind of villain
Marinetta, the dungeon boss that transforms into bachelorette ‘Dolce’ upon defeat
Rune Factory is far from boring. In fact, one of the things the Rune Factory does well at is refining each of its many assets with each new story; they take a fresh new spin on the same addictive fantasy template each time. As a player who has followed the series since its conception back in 2007, I’ve had the privilege of watching the game grow into itself. But while each episode is independent and newcomer-friendly, they are all indubitably tied to one another. This is especially the case for the trend they’ve had in their final bosses.
The series is known for three things: harems, farming, and dragons. And while the elder dragons have served as worthy villains for the past 4 main storyline games, they’re due for a swap. I’m certain Rune Factory has other mystical creatures stored away in the Forest of Beginnings.
2. More character cutscenes
Lest, the main character, surrounded by the six eligible bachelorettes of Rune Factory 4
I can’t be the only one who never skips the opening theme song. Seeing all of the characters in action makes you forget you’re playing a game and not watching the latest Spring anime release. This is especially true of the later games, whose opening animations have top-notch animation quality and direction. I really enjoy the nostalgic vibe the openings give off, reminiscent of old-school, Japanese PSX games.
Mst of what we’ve seen as far as cutscenes go have, unfortunately, been reserved for special events – introductory scenes, plotline progression, marriage, the like. While we aren’t expecting an entirely-animated game, the characters deserve much more than a handful of portrait stills.
Of course, with more cutscenes comes more voice acting. Gone are the RF days of subpar mid-2000’s anime dubs – with the likes of Bryce Papenbrook (voice of Kirito from SAO and Blue Exorcist‘s Rin) and Stephanie Sheh (Naruto‘s Hinata and Orihime of Bleach) in RF4, it’s unquestionable that the game will be in good hands for this next episode.
1. The Twist
Rune Factory 3‘s protagonist Micah, the golden wooly shapeshifter
In Rune Factory 2 (which, while being completely biased, probably had the best plot line in the series to date) you went through the generations, playing as both the protagonist and his child. In Rune Factory 3, you could shape-shift into a golden wooly on command. Rune Factory 4 takes the cake with their ingenious decision to introduce four of the bachelors as dungeon bosses. Each game in the series was unique in its own way, and Rune Factory 5 certainly has a lot to live up to. But, Marvelous always delivers.
Perhaps there’ll be a bachelor who ends up being the ultimate villain of the game. Maybe this time the protagonist was sent as a spy. Who knows? Rune Factory has a great thing going on right now. The world it has built is comprehensive, detailed, and fantastical in every way: exploring is never a chore. Combined with uniquely heart-tugging storylines and prospects of love and adventure, it’s impossible to put down. If you haven’t yet, I definitely recommend you pick up a copy.