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Rune Factory 4 Special for Nintendo Switch: Everything you need to know

Farming in Rune Factory 4
Farming in Rune Factory 4 (Image credit: Nintendo PR)

Town life in Rune Factory 4

Town life in Rune Factory 4 (Image credit: Nintendo PR)

Nintendo consoles have long been a happy home for sim games, with the Nintendo Switch as one of the best places to play Stardew Valley, games like Story of Seasons arriving there recently, and Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the way. Rune Factory, another franchise with a strong Nintendo history, is also on its way to the console in the near future after years on the Nintendo DS and 3DS. One of those releases, coming next year, is Rune Factory 5. The other, coming this year (we hope), is Rune Factory 4 Special.

Rune Factory 4 Special is an updated edition of Rune Factory 4, which has already been out for several years. But there are new features added in the Switch edition, Here's everything you need to know about what's going on with Rune Factory 4 Special, and what you can expect if you pick up the game:

What is Rune Factory 4?

Rune Factory 4 is the most recent release in the Rune Factory series, a dungeon-crawling RPG/town life sim game that's been popular on the DS and 3DS systems. The game is now coming to the Nintendo Switch after initially being released on the 3DS, just ahead of the release of the next entry in the series, Rune Factory 5, which is planned for 2020.

What is the story of Rune Factory 4?

Fishing in Rune Factory 4

Fishing in Rune Factory 4 (Image credit: Nintendo PR)

The player character travels to the town of Selphia to give an offering to the town's god, but on the way, the ship is attacked and the main character suffers from amnesia. In Selphia, a mix-up puts the player in charge of the town, and you begin your work trying to improve civic life, attract tourists, make friends, and investigate strange forces at work in the dungeons outside the town limits. You can do all sorts of activities, including farming, fishing, and dungeoning, and can eventually get married to one of the other townspeople and build a full life for yourself.

What's new in Rune Factory 4?

Dungeon crawling in Rune Factory 4

Dungeon crawling in Rune Factory 4 (Image credit: Nintendo PR)

There are a number of staple Rune Factory features that reappear in the fourth installment, including farming, dungeon crawling, socializing, fishing, and marriage. Crafting also reappears, allowing you to make more equipment with specific stats to improve your dungeoning abilities.

One brand new feature is the ability to create "Orders" that affect what happens broadly across the town. These are somewhat similar to ordinances in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but they can do more things like allowing you to hold a requested town event (such as a harvest festival) or stopping a storm from destroying crops.

What's new in the Special edition?

A Rune Factory 4 dungeon boss battle

A Rune Factory 4 dungeon boss battle (Image credit: Nintendo PR)

Rune Factory 4 was originally a 3DS title, but its Switch release has some extras the original did not contain. If you've played before, you'll notice several new story cutscenes that were not in the original, a "Veteran" mode for returning players, and a special "Newlywed mode" that lets players strengthen their relationship with their spouse after marriage. Finally, there's a brand new opening animated cutscene to enjoy, so don't skip it your first time starting the game!

How does marriage work in Rune Factory 4?

Dungeon crawling in Rune Factory 4

Dungeon crawling in Rune Factory 4 (Image credit: Nintendo PR)

Rune Factory 4 has a total of twelve characters you can marry -- six men and six women. Unfortunately, you can only marry characters of the opposite gender as you.

As you befriend your intended, you can offer them gifts, talk to them, and have them fight alongside you. Over time, you can ask them on dates, get married, and have a single child with them.

Can I play with friends?

Unfortunately, Rune Factory 4 is a single-player game and there is no way to play with your friends.

What is the Archival Edition?

Rune Factory 4 Special is launching digitally on Nintendo Switch by itself, but if you want a physical copy, you can pick up the Archival Edition from Amazon or directly from Marvelous. The Archival Edition costs more, but it comes with extr a goodies for Rune Factory fans including a 160-page art book with art from previous Rune Factory titles, a soundtrack CD with 36 tracks, and a "Swimsuit Day" DLC that lets you have all characters wear swimsuits.

When can I play?

Rune Factory 4 Special Edition is currently planned for release sometime in 2019, though the Amazon listing appears to suggest the date for the Archival Edition of the game is January 21, 2020. It will cost $60 for the Archival Edition, while the standard digital edition will likely be cheaper.