Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tribute to Yasuhiro Wada

Any one who has played Island of Happiness and/or Sunshine Islands is familiar with the rather laconic character, Wada. Wada is the only true 'native' of Sunny Island and is the repository of its ancient mysteries and traditions. Befriending Wada can lead to situations where the entire bounty of Sunny Island becomes available to your character. It is fitting that Wada bears the name of Harvest Moon's founder, Yasuhiro Wada.

Recently, Yasuhiro Wada announced that, for 'personal reasons', he no longer would be as active in directing operations at Marvelous. He will continue to act as an advisor, however.

The character of Wada is NOT that of a farmer, but he rather is part of a hunter and gatherer culture. Yasuhiro Wada confesses that he tried farming but has no expertise in farming in the real world. 'I tried it,' he told an interviewer a few years ago. 'It was hard work.'

Farming is hard work in Harvest Moon as well, lending versimilitude to the games. Under Wada's guidance and with the help of Natsume in North America, Harvest Moon has become an internationally-beloved alternative world.

Here are some photographs of the 'real' Wada and his namesake in Island of Happiness and Sunshine Islands. Many, many thanks to the creator of Harvest Moon for making it possible for us to enjoy over 10 years of a magical universe where hard work and loyalty to friends are rewarded and where we can interact with the seasons and the Earth to create a life in harmony with Nature. May the magic continue in the hands of those who have inherited the mantle of leadership from him...

I do have one question to ask of Wada, however. What is the REAL connnection between Wada and the mysterious 'Tower' behind his Hut in the Jungle? Will that 'ship' one day take off again to colonise new planets?

P.S. Pursuant to questions from readers, I need to make it very clear that neither the quality nor the quantity of Harvest Moon games will suffer from the real Wada's decision. His successor, Haruki Nakayama, actually is included in the credits for Harvest Moon games as far back as 2004 in 'A Wonderful Life' (and possibly other early games) and has been responsible for Island of Happiness, Sunshine Islands and Animal Parade, inter alia. The only reason I wrote about Wada's announcement is because he was very much part of the founding of the series and has been immortalised in the character of Wada in IoH and SI.

In fact, as CEO of Marvelous Entertainment, Haruki Nakayama made a statement recently about the Nintendo 3DS announcement. He believes that the device will succeed commercially when it launches, even though the system's retail price and development costs associated with it will be higher than previous systems. As he appears eager and excited as well as optimistic about its online capabilities, it hints at possible future Harvest Moon and Rune Factory titles for the system...

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