Not to be confused with the similarly named "Harvest Moon", now called "Story of Seasons".
The name "Harvest Moon" is owned by the publisher Natsume, not the developer Marvelous AQL.
When the two companies parted ways, Natsume kept the name and started their own "New Harvest Moon" series starting with Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley.
Developer Marvelous AQL was forced to change the name of all future releases in the original series to "Story of Seasons".
The re-naming of the original series (by Marvelous AQL) and the formation of an entirely new series using the old name (by Natsume) has caused some degree of confusion among fans. On-going high game sales despite the low overall quality of the new series (averaging a 5/10 from reviewers) has lead to accusations of Natsume deliberately releasing shovelware in order to profit off of the name confusion. As a localization company first and foremost, Natsume has struggled to internally-develop games for their new Harvest Moon series and using a completely different development team has led to games with an entirely different look and feel to the original series.
The Natsume Harvest Moon series has experimented with new gameplay elements to mixed reception, such as reworking the farming simulation, improving plant genetics/mutations, the introduction of Minecraft-esque terraforming, and a bag that automatically selects the best tool for a job. According to fans, the constant reworking of the series basic elements with an added injection of "some new gimmick", has robbed the series of its identity and soul because it is "evolving without retaining what made it great in the first place". Additionally, the poor visual style - mirroring that of a Java or clipart game, lack of aesthetic cohesion, bugs, and low music variety, are often cited as areas in need of improvement. In a 2017 interview, vice president of operations Graham Markay stated, "for us, it's the feeling. Harvest Moon has never been about graphics. Fundamentally, it's never been about a function, feature, character, or artstyle. It's always been about that simplistic message that hard work gets rewarded."