Rune Factory Frontier

New Rune Factory for PS3, Wii

Grow turnips, save the world.

A new entry in the Rune Factory franchise is heading to PlayStation 3 and Wii early next year, publisher Marvelous Entertainment has announced.

Rune Factory Frontier

Rune Factory Frontier

Agricultural revolution.

Rune Factory is a deceptive little bugger. It's a Harvest Moon spin-off, and to the casual observer it must resemble a pretty little farming game with a bit of colourful monster-bashing, which means it frightens away most of the audience who would really appreciate it before they even get it off the shelf. By flashing its schmaltzy anime portraiture and pastoral plumage, Rune Factory disguises a hugely complex and extensive RPG, which just happens to orbit the binary stars of market gardening and playboy romance.

You're probably dimly familiar with legume propagation sim Harvest Moon already. Rune Factory's main departure from that series is the addition of dungeon-crawling, rendered in the same cheerfully Arcadian style as the events in town, but adding another huge layer of potential complexity to the already bewildering crop-farming and local-girl-schmoozing.

It starts just like every single other Harvest Moon or Rune Factory basically does, with a sweeping epidemic of amnesia, an excuse for relocation and the convenient availability of a deserted but potentially profitable ranch. Two minutes in and you're settled into a spacious home in the expansive town of Trampoli, with a pocketful of turnip seeds and a cheap hoe on your arm. Then you're left to your own devices.

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Wii Rune Factory out next week

Harvest Moon meets medieval fantasy.

Rising Star Games has told Eurogamer that Rune Factory: Frontier will be released on Wii next Thursday, 1st April. Friday, remember, is a bank holiday (Good Friday).