Ex-Lollipop Chainsaw developer created Project Happiness after seeing gaming's violent side at E3.
This trailer for Project Happiness - Harvest Moon developer Yasuhiro Wada's latest project - feels like a childhood story, and that's deliberate. Wada left his post as Chief Operations Officer at Grasshopper Manufacture to make this game because, he claims, he wanted to get back to his own rural childhood roots. He remembers those days with fondness, and hopes that the game they've influenced will be an antidote to modern gaming's homogeneity.
Project Happiness - a Nintendo 3DS and mobile platform game - is superficially a shopkeeping simulation, but Wada hopes that the story will draw players in. As the main character interacts with the townsfolk the player learns more about their personal narratives, and gets drawn into their problems. "Of course you are going to have a fun experience," Wada promises, "but in [Project Happiness], even after you put down the controller and have finished playing, you are going to remember this game."
"It's healthy to bring much variety to games," Wada said, adding that "if the only things you see are violent games, then it won't be any fun." This year's E3 really drove it home for Wada, with its emphasis on bloodshed and larger-than-life heroes. As he walked around the convention halls, all he saw was the same kind of game."It's a little sad," was his reaction.
Toybox Inc is a smaller scale studio than Wada's old firm, but that was one of the attractions of striking out on his own. His role at Grasshopper was getting to be too management-oriented, and he wanted to be creative. "Now I'm feeling refreshed," he says, as he works on his spiritual successor to Harvest Moon.
Project Happiness is due out in 2013.