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Author Topic: Harvest Drama: Story of Trademarks  (Read 949 times)
Kevadu
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« on: June 18, 2014, 04:41:57 PM »

Let me tell you a story.

So back in 1996, Victor Interactive Software made a game called Bokujou Monogatari, which literally translates as "Farm Story".  They then contracted Natsume to localize and publish it in the west.  Natsume thought the name "Farm Story" sounded kind of dull so they renamed it to Harvest Moon (though obviously what it was really missing was -ville) .

Victor Interactive was acquired by Marvelous Entertainment in 2003.  They continued to make the games and Natsume continued to localize them.  But Marvelous has their own localization studio now: Xseed.  Why hasn't Xseed been localizing these games, especially since Natsume hasn't exactly been doing the greatest job?  Turns out that the name "Harvest Moon" belongs to Natsume, not Victor/Marvelous.  And the Harvest Moon games have been their cash cow for a while now so they don't want to give that up.

This situation continued for a while but finally with their latest release Marvelous decided they had enough.  They're using Xseed, not Natsume, for the localization.  Which means they can't call it "Harvest Moon" in the US so instead it's being released later this year as "Story of Seasons".

But the story doesn't end there.

Natsume still owns the name "Harvest Moon" and they're free to do what they want with it.  And they've apparently decided to go for maximum dickitude because they're releasing "Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley" head-to-head with Story of Seasons.  That's right, they're making a "Harvest Moon" game by a completely different team that's going to be directly competing with an actual Harvest Moon game that can't actually be called Harvest Moon.

So anyway, a trailer for Natsume's Harvest Moon game was just released.  And I have never seen a trailer that specifically references the "series" the game is part of so many times.  It's kind of ridiculous when you realize that this game is really the clone.  (Well, they seem to have added in some Minecraft elements too, which is actually kind of neat, but we'll have to see how well it really works...)

Marvelous/Xseed really have an uphill battle to convince folks to give their game a shot here.  If the casual consumer (and I hate to use that term, but Harvest Moon really does appeal to a casual audience) walks into a game story and sees both "Story of Seasons" and "Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley" on the shelves which one do you think they're going to go for?
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Eusis
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« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2014, 05:29:17 PM »

Harvest Moon has been billed as an RPG for a long time and there is precedent here... but I also want to make sure people notice this.

Hilariously enough to me, despite this situation Natsume did come out with a better trailer, with XSEED going with the "this is the same series we swear!" type of trailer. Probably do need to spread the word given that it seems XSEED/Marvelous can't be more straightforward for whatever reason. I actually do think in some ways this could be a more ideal situation IF Story of Seasons manages to sell well and get recognized as being of the same series, as this end result is getting us more games, rather than just Natsume being dicks and holding everything up in the courtroom. That was Macross's fate and it sucked.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2014, 05:32:02 PM by Eusis » Logged
Kevadu
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2014, 07:41:48 PM »

Yeah, Xseed's trailer was kind of pathetic.  I sort of get what they were going for, since they can't actually say "Harvest Moon" they showed the Japanese boxart hoping people would make the association.  But if you haven't already been following this whole mess it seems kind of random.  Plus their trailer just looks so cheap.  If they want to convince people that they're the legitimate successor and not a clone then they need to do a better job with their production values...

Plus the game is already out in Japan so it's not like they couldn't have shown gameplay...
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Dice
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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2014, 08:16:30 PM »

Oof, both trailers were brutal for very different reasons.
XSeed rammed Harvest Moon down our throats without really even saying it.  And the actual Harvest Moon-titled trailer looked like ass.

I didn't know any of this was going on though.  Thanks for the heads up on that, and yeah, XSeed has my full support (trailer aside).
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Agent D.
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 07:15:34 AM »

Let me tell you a story.

So back in 1996, Victor Interactive Software made a game called Bokujou Monogatari, which literally translates as "Farm Story".  They then contracted Natsume to localize and publish it in the west.  Natsume thought the name "Farm Story" sounded kind of dull so they renamed it to Harvest Moon (though obviously what it was really missing was -ville) .

Victor Interactive was acquired by Marvelous Entertainment in 2003.  They continued to make the games and Natsume continued to localize them.  But Marvelous has their own localization studio now: Xseed.  Why hasn't Xseed been localizing these games, especially since Natsume hasn't exactly been doing the greatest job?  Turns out that the name "Harvest Moon" belongs to Natsume, not Victor/Marvelous.  And the Harvest Moon games have been their cash cow for a while now so they don't want to give that up.

This situation continued for a while but finally with their latest release Marvelous decided they had enough.  They're using Xseed, not Natsume, for the localization.  Which means they can't call it "Harvest Moon" in the US so instead it's being released later this year as "Story of Seasons".

But the story doesn't end there.

Natsume still owns the name "Harvest Moon" and they're free to do what they want with it.  And they've apparently decided to go for maximum dickitude because they're releasing "Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley" head-to-head with Story of Seasons.  That's right, they're making a "Harvest Moon" game by a completely different team that's going to be directly competing with an actual Harvest Moon game that can't actually be called Harvest Moon.

So anyway, a trailer for Natsume's Harvest Moon game was just released.  And I have never seen a trailer that specifically references the "series" the game is part of so many times.  It's kind of ridiculous when you realize that this game is really the clone.  (Well, they seem to have added in some Minecraft elements too, which is actually kind of neat, but we'll have to see how well it really works...)

Marvelous/Xseed really have an uphill battle to convince folks to give their game a shot here.  If the casual consumer (and I hate to use that term, but Harvest Moon really does appeal to a casual audience) walks into a game story and sees both "Story of Seasons" and "Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley" on the shelves which one do you think they're going to go for?
This story has the makings of a great rpg...
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 07:31:29 AM »

Isn't it already a RPG? I think it's called 'Tales of the Abyss'.
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Der Jermeister
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2014, 09:08:21 PM »

Harvest Moon definitely sounds better than Story of Seasons, but I think XSEED would handle the translation of the games better than Natsume, who spelled their own freaking name wrong on the title screen of one of the earlier series entries.
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Ranadiel
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« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 06:59:35 AM »

This is a very weird situation where the Harvest Moon trademark is being used to basically accomplish the exact opposite purpose of Trademarks. Frankly, I think Marvelous has a good case to prevent Natsume from using the Harvest Moon title in this situation. I mean the facts are weird, but showing likelihood of confusion given the current circumstances is easy, so I think they should be able to do something.
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FlamingR1ft
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« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 08:20:34 AM »

What confuses me is why Xseed decided to go with the title "Story of Seasons" when it is, in fact, The Lost Valley that has a story about the seasons. That seems to make an already complicated situation even more confusing.
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Nel
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2014, 01:07:15 PM »

I actually did notice Story Of Seasons while perusing Amazon a few days back and my initial thought was "why is XSeed localizing what is clearly a Harvest Moon clone?". I didn't know about any of this going on.
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TiamatNM
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2014, 02:39:21 PM »

The name really sucks honestly.  Not only is "Story of Seasons" forgettable but it also sounds more like it would be a subtitle than a main title. 
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Dice
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2014, 02:45:34 PM »

Season's Story?

Season's Harvest?

Low Pay, Hard Work, Early Mornings, Long Days?

Monsanto™?
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Sagacious-T
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« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2014, 03:36:57 AM »

Harvest Moon fans are pissed at Natsume. Lmao.

I never knew how dedicated these fans were.

This is like the smallest of video game wars. It's so cute.
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Maxximum
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« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 03:53:28 AM »

If the casual consumer (and I hate to use that term, but Harvest Moon really does appeal to a casual audience) walks into a game story and sees both "Story of Seasons" and "Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley" on the shelves which one do you think they're going to go for?

Call of Duty.
Seriously though, I can understand why the developer/publisher would consider this to be a big problem. Re-establishing the brand from scratch and having to compete with a knockoff with the rights to the original name is a pain both financially and marketing wise.

Harvest Moon fans are pissed at Natsume. Lmao.

I never knew how dedicated these fans were.

This is like the smallest of video game wars. It's so cute.

Dedicated fans have the least reason to be upset other than some empathy for the original published/developer. They already know which of the two is the "real" game in the series so the name on the box shouldn't make much difference as long as they get another instalment.
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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2014, 04:37:23 AM »

What confuses me is why Xseed decided to go with the title "Story of Seasons" when it is, in fact, The Lost Valley that has a story about the seasons. That seems to make an already complicated situation even more confusing.

Lost Valley was announced almost a week (iirc?) after Story of Seasons, so Xseed wouldn't have known not to do that.
@Maxximum: one of my friends that likes Harvest Moon didn't know about it until a few weeks I told them a few weeks after it started (and hates Call of Duty) may have only found out about it after getting Lost Valley because of the series' name on the box.
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