RPGamer was able to chat with Natsume last night and discuss the company's 2011 plans, especially regarding Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns. The DS version of the game will be coming out on September 27, and the release date for the 3DS version (most likely a few weeks later) will be announced soon.
Regarding the differences between the two versions, they will be fairly minor, because Natsume's main goal for the dual release was to allow both DS and 3DS users to enjoy the game fully. The 3DS version will have 3D visuals, of course, and also have StreetPass functionality which will allow players to exchange goods with other 3DS Harvest Moon players.
For the uninitiated, Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns allows wannabe farmers to create a male or female character who then chooses to settle in either the Asian-themed Konohana or the European-themed Bluebell village. The two villages have had an ongoing feud over culinary styles, and the player's goal is to bring them back together throughout the course of the game. Players can relocate villages at the end of any season if they so desire, but can befriend and woo people from either village no matter where they live.
Tale of Two Towns will have a bulletin board that allows players to accept quests from villagers. This system will be more involved than the simple fetch quests that have been seen in previous series games, and will give the player the opportunity to better know the various townsfolk. The game also features an expanded pet system, in which pet dogs, cats, and horses help with various tasks on the farm. Along with the usual cows, sheep, and chickens, players will also be able to raise alpacas, which are prized for their wool.
There will also be a multiplayer farm that can be altered to grow crops from any particular season. Players can connect with each other's farms either locally or online, though DS and 3DS versions cannot connect with each other due to using different security protocols. The host player can charge an admission fee, and guests can then harvest crops from the farm and take them home.
Finally, we received some good news for Natsume fans. The company will soon be opening up an online Natsume Store, and will be selling various items for fans including plushies. That's right, happy Harvest Moon cows will no longer be reserved only for E3 attendees.
RPGamer would like to thank Natsume for taking the time to speak with us.