Fae Farm, a new farming simulation game from a surprising developer, has been announced as part of Tuesday’s Nintendo Direct. The Nintendo Switch-exclusive farming sim RPG came as one of the biggest third-party surprises of Nintendo‘s presentation. The Nintendo Direct also delivered announcements for Harvestella, Story of Seasons: A Wonderful Life, and Rune Factory 3 Special, but Fae Farm managed to stand out among the competition in a unique manner.
Phoenix Labs is listed as Fae Farm‘s developer, which is certain to raise an eyebrow. Phoenix Labs is the developer of the free-to-play action RPG Dauntless, which is a sort of online multiplayer-focused Monster Hunter. To say that Fae Farm is a deviation from Dauntless would be an understatement. Since the release of Dauntless, however, Phoenix Labs has expanded to have three total offices and has been acquired by Singapore publisher Garena. Phoenix Labs certainly has the resources to experiment.
Given Phoenix Labs’ Dauntless experience, it’s perhaps no surprise that a major facet of its new game Fae Farm will be multiplayer. Fae Farm isn’t just a farming sim RPG, but a co-op farming sim supporting between one and four players. Alone or with friends, players will be able to build their home, gather resources, and delve into dungeons searching for rare rewards. Fae Farm supports full drop-in/drop-out multiplayer, so co-op is seamless no matter the activity.
Farming sim fans won’t have to wait much longer to see whether Fae Farm delivers a special experience. Phoenix Labs says that Fae Farm is tentatively planned to launch in spring 2023. It will also be a Nintendo Switch exclusive, so Phoenix Labs can build the experience around the capabilities of the platform and the likely expectations of the platform’s audience.
As noted, Fae Farm‘s biggest challenge is standing out in a saturated market of farming/life sims. The modern success of titles like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, particularly on Switch, has led to many developers choosing to try and capitalize on the genre. There’s certainly room to grow, given the lack of innovation in the genre, but that also means there’s a lot for new games to prove.
The pitch for Fae Farm is strong. It mixes familiar farming sim gameplay with a fantasy world where players use magic to explore a mysterious world, and layers on cooperative multiplayer to make the experience more accessible and group-friendly. That’s a solid base for Fae Farm to be announced with, and now comes the hard work of introducing more depth and an overall compelling experience. Otherwise, Harvestella, Story of Seasons, or any of the other farming sims coming up may claim the opportunity.
Fae Farm releases spring 2023 on Switch.