Combat is apparently more complex than it was in the original game, too, with things like attacks from behind counting more than frontal attacks. I know I rarely felt the need to use anything but a single-handed sword in the first one. How has combat improved?
Players are definitely rewarded for approaching combat in Rune Factory 2 with a bit of strategy. If you can lure enemies into attacks that leave them vulnerable, you'll have a chance to attack them from behind for some major damage. Conversely, if you just charge head-on at an enemy, you're going to take as many hits as you dish out.

Enemies are also quite a bit more varied in terms of their strategies, speed, and attacks this time around. Some are best countered with quick weapons like the single-handed sword, some with longer-range weapons like the spear, and some with powerful, stunning weapons like the hammer. You'll definitely need to have a handle on each type of weapon if you want to make the best of each situation.

Anything else you care to highlight about how Rune Factory 2 has changed for the better?
Markay:The graphics are even more beautiful this time around. The environments are so lush and varied; you'll explore forests, tropical jungles, a treacherous icy mountain, and lots more. And each environment is just a joy to look at. The artists really outdid themselves on this one.

Yeah, I was particularly impressed by the original, and the shots I've seen definitely support that 2 does it one better. Any particular localization challenges for this game? Is the script bigger? Is the game bigger in general?
The script in Rune Factory 2 is about twice the size of the script in Rune Factory. There are more characters and events this time around, and every character really has a lot of personality and great dialogue.

Rune Factory 2 had an excellent script to start with, so our biggest challenge was just making sure that we didn't lose any of that humor or personality in the translation process. This game has a great cast of characters, and we think players are going to really enjoy seeing how their stories unfold.

Would you say it's diverged more from its Harvest Moon roots, or come closer to it, and how?
Markay:Players were very happy with the balance that the last game struck between traditional Harvest Moon farming and action-RPG dungeon exploring. With Rune Factory 2, our aim has really been to improve both of those aspects while keeping that balance that worked so well in Rune Factory.

Thanks for your time. Best of luck with Rune Factory 2 and in the future!
Markay:Thank you very much, and you've got to let me know what you think of Rune Factory 2 when you play it.

Rune Factory 2 is rated E, might need to come with a warning on the box that it might cause obsession, and ships November 18 to a retailer near you.