Yesterday was a dark, dark day for everyone, though most people don't even know it. Neverland, the developer behind the Rune Factory series, announced that it was immediately shutting down and filing for bankruptcy, which...you know, is bad. It's also completely unexpected because Rune Factory 4, their latest released game, did well enough to greenlight a Rune Factory 5. It seems that they were simply struggling financially and nothing was helping it, so they're just closing up shop. It's depressing as hell, because Rune Factory as a series, 2 aside, has pretty much been getting exponentially better with each numbered iteration and would probably continue doing so. Though, technically, they do still have a chance to do that.
You see, it's simply Neverland, the developer, that's going out. Marvelous AQL has owned the IP for Rune Factory since the start, I believe, and that's not going to change. Being that they're the publisher, what it means is just that they need to find a new developer to make future Rune Factory games if that's their choice. Considering Rune Factory 5 is almost certainly already started and it's a good series that sells well-enough for what it is, it's pretty easy to hope that they will indeed continue making it. One can simply hope that it won't lose any of its charm with a developer change, if one is indeed going to take into majority effect. I know, you're just yelling "STOP WITH THE LEAD-INS", but it's as much for my own benefit to assuage my own fears about the situation as anything.
The plot thickened when Yoshifumi Hashimoto, Marvelous AQL producer of the Rune Factory series made a little post on the Rune Factory blog regarding their next project, since things appear up in the air. If you'll allow me to shamelessly steal Siliconera's translated version of the post...
“Hello, Hashimoto here.The part of that message that states "The staff members are still doing great" is what's causing a bit of the rumor mill spinning. The people in a folding developer are generally not "okay" when the announcement goes out, much less "doing great", so there are two different interpretations of what that actually could mean. Either he means that the Marvelous AQL staff are okay which is...superfluous to say, or he means Neverland is great as it seems to imply, which would sort of make on think that they're doing great because Marvelous has something to say about it in the matter. People are speculating that Marvelous might be hiring some, probably not all, of Neverland's staff with the intention on making a new development studio that can continue working on the Rune Factory series. It might seem a little too good to be true, but it does absolutely no harm to anyone to at least -hope- it's true. At the worst, we're wrong and Rune Factory 5 will be finished out by a studio unfamiliar with the series (or Marvelous' own in-house studio, but they might be a little busy with the new Harvest Moon at the moment) and at best, we're going to get Rune Factory 5 which is still mostly a Neverland production. Either way, it still seems like Rune Factory 5 is still a thing that is probably going to happen, and I don't think I'm deluding myself into thinking that.
How are you guys enjoying Rune Factory 4?
I’d like to take this occasion to make a comment about the future.
As of now, it’ll still remain a secret as to what kind of title we’ll be releasing next, but I can say that the staff members are still doing great.
I will leave it at that for now, and I thank you for your continued support.
Producer, Yoshifumi Hashimoto”
Still, gotta be honest, when I first heard the news, my reaction was basically this: (Sorry, Chance, I'm stealing it)
It's good to be optimistic, however. To hope. Something something, A New Hope.
I just really want Rune Factory 5 if that wasn't blatantly obvious, and Vita plz if you like, I'll buy both versions