In a perfect world, your farm animals will never get sick or die from old age, and that’s exactly what you get in Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. In the remake however, things have changed.
Let me preface this by saying, in every Harvest Moon title before now, you could kill your animals by neglecting them—maybe you accidentally hit them with a tool while doing field work, or perhaps you couldn’t make it outside to feed them during a storm. In the original games, your animals could even die from old age. In fact, in Harvest Moon DS, to convince the Witch Princess to marry you, you had to kill 50 of your farm animals, and every time one of them died you lost a significant amount of respect from the villagers. Sounds harsh, right? Well, it was. It sucked. All of the progress made towards raising affection with your animals or town villagers could be erased if you didn’t take care of your livestock.
“Why would you do something like that?” Well, because the Witch Princess is evil. The Witch Princess doesn’t exist in Mineral Town, but with these new changes in the remake, there really isn’t any way to accidentally make a villager hate you—unless you specifically give them something like a trash item.
Why would you do that, you ask? Well, I don’t see any reason why you’d intentionally give such a horrible gift to a villager unless you absolutely hated them. But you can’t accidentally litter in this remake…there’s almost nothing you can do to make a villager hate you. Not even kill your animals. There really isn’t any sort of consequence introduced in this remake. If you choose to not feed your animal several days in a row, nothing happens (which is the point I’m trying to get at). The level of difficulty that used to be in this game has been entirely removed. The realistic experience of raising animals has been removed.
Anyway, in the Friends of Mineral Town remake, killing your farm animals is literally impossible, and I’m not sure at all why they would take this away. I first noticed you couldn’t buy Animal Medicine from the Poultry Farm or Mugi’s Farm, and I also noticed under the Animal Affection menu, there is no longer a “fed” indicator by their name. There’s an indicator that tells you if you interacted with them (and for livestock—brush + milk/shear) but there isn’t an indicator for whether or not you fed them that day. Doesn’t it sound a little odd that there isn’t any sort of penalization for not feeding your animals every day? I certainly thought so.
So I experimented and didn’t feed my chickens, I didn’t talk to them, and I didn’t let them outside to graze for several days. During this period of time it also occurred to me that the Wild Dogs that would appear on your farm in the original no longer appear after dark to terrorize your animals—not that it matters because they automatically go back indoors at 8:00 p.m. anyway. If you ring the farm bells after 8:00 p.m., they won’t move outside. I tried. You can’t pick them up and move them outside, either. The Animal Affection menu no longer shows “Healthy”, “Unhappy”, or “Sick”. I guess these new animals are just happy and healthy all the time.
In the Friends of Mineral Town (2003) release, sometimes killing your animals could be entirely on accident—maybe a snowstorm blew in two days in a row and you couldn’t make it outside to feed them! That used to be possible, but seeing as your animals automatically go back into their farm buildings at 8:00 p.m. and ringing the bell doesn’t bring them back out, there’s no way you can accidentally leave your animals outside in bad weather. If you ring the bell and while it’s raining or snowing, they’ll come outside, they just won’t give byproducts the next day.
If you killed one of your animals in the 2003 GBA game, Carter would show up and scold you, and to get back into his good graces you had to go to Church and confess that you neglected your animals. You can still confess animal neglect at the Church, by the way! But now that option doesn’t even matter, because animal neglect in the remake is impossible.
If you don’t feel like feeding them, you don’t have to. If you accidentally hit them with your hammer or sickle, they… don’t notice at all and continue exactly what they were doing. Their affection levels might decrease as you forget to feed them, but they don’t get stressed or die as they did in the original Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. You can ignore your chickens entirely, and the only consequence is you don’t get eggs until you start feeding them again; same goes for your livestock.
In this remake, your animals won’t die, they’ll just stop giving byproducts and their affection levels won’t raise. The day you decide to start feeding them again, you’ll get a prompt telling you “Chicken seems happy and healthy today!” and that’s it—you starved them and they didn’t even notice. They’ll continue laying eggs just like they used to.
I’m much less impressed with little things like this that have been removed, and I’m discovering more of these changes as I reach my second year in the game.
Image Credits: Story of Seasons