A spooky version of a normally comforting video game with darker elements than you would expect… No, I am not talking about “Cozy Grove”. I am referring to the “Evil Farming Game”. For those not in the know, this internet mystery was about a particular person’s childhood memories. In 2016, user sparta213 posted in the r/tipofmyjoystick subreddit about a grim version of “Harvest Moon” that he recalled playing as a kid. Here you still play as a farmer, but one who murdered his wife and is trying to hide her corpse from others. The post intrigued people greatly and sent them down a rabbit hole as they tried to find the ominous title.
The search went on for several years. A subreddit was created to chronicle clues and findings as many individuals got involved. Journalists and YouTubers also covered the journey. It was an intriguing, exciting time for all. Suddenly, the game was found. Not as a playable creation, but as a mention in a video. It turned out that in a 2015 stream, YouTuber Joel of Vinesauce (aka Vargskelethor) talked about a evil version of “Harvest Moon” with murders and death. sparta213 confirmed that, yes, this was likely the source of his fabricated memories and also that he fell asleep a lot to Vinesauce’s streams. So, mystery solved? Well, it is not over yet.
Though the search is done, peoples’ passion for its idea is still there. And for the person I am speaking to today, that passion has taken the form of a project based on the idea: “The Evil Farming Game: Replanted”. I spoke to the solo developer about this upcoming title back in February 2022. Now that my health has improved (long story), I was able to edit and share my talk with him. I hope you all find it insightful and play “Replanted” when it releases.
Bez: First things first: Can you state your name, pronouns and any other facts about yourself that you want people to know?
Jeremy: Well, my name is Jeremy. I go by he/him. Also, I am very bad at remembering cool facts about myself, haha!
Bez: Haha, no problem! Tell us, what is your history in game development? How did you begin making interactive experiences?
Jeremy: I have always been pretty interested in the medium, but could never really pick up an engine to make games with. But then I found RPG Maker and learned how to use the software. After two hundred hours, I now feel confident I can finally release a big project like “The Evil Farming Game: Replanted”. As for my other games that I have made, I have worked on maybe two actual games, one I made by myself that can be bought on itch.io (but to anyone reading this, do not, it sucks). The other one I worked on with a team. Currently it is on hiatus as I work on “Replanted”.
Bez: When did you first hear about the “Evil Farming Game” mystery?
Jeremy: Like many, I heard about it from my now-friend Whang’s video. I would imagine that I watched it around the time it came out in early 2020. It is strange to go from watching a YouTube video on a weird lost media search you did not have the most interest in to now being the second Google result for it.
Bez: That is pretty cool! Were you involved in the community’s search for the “Evil Farming Game” then? As I recall, the mystery was not solved until mid-2021, over a year after Whang’s video.
Jeremy: “Replanted” started off as “That Evil Fanmade Game” – a name I still kind of like, by the way – during the search. Though I was not actively involved in the community, I was in the community when it was solved.
Bez: I see! What made you jump from closely following the mystery to making a game based on the concept?
Jeremy: I went to the subreddit to check on the status of another fan game. When I saw that it was dead, I had a realization: “Wait, I have most of the resources and skills to make this myself. Why do not I give it a try?”
Bez: When did development begin?
Jeremy: About nine months ago! I made this reddit post when the map was like sixty to seventy percent done.
Bez: What progress has the game made since you started development in mid-2021?
Jeremy: As of now, most core mechanics are done. All that is left to do is write most of the dialogue and get the non-player characters into the game. There are around six to nine characters in the world at any given time. I really want all of them to feel alive and for their dialogue to actually reflect their current activity at the time.
Bez: Is that something you have implemented before in your projects?
Jeremy: I scripted an entire system for night and day and I have created a system for non-player characters as well as events to appear during certain times. For instance, a certain interaction only happens between 01:00 pm and 03:00 pm on the first day. But working non-player character scheduling was the hardest thing to script.
Bez: Tell us more about the gameplay and mechanics. What kind of experience will this be?
Jeremy: Imagine a relationship simulation mixed with a farming tycoon game. Yes, farming takes a backseat to the characters and story, but the aspect of making money by farming or doing tasks is still very much present. As one example, you gain more hiding spots for the body if you upgrade your house, which costs a lot.
Bez: Interesting! What about the story, characters and setting?
Jeremy: Aside from “You have murdered your wife!”, the story is mainly about a group of islanders welcoming a newer member to their town. Many of the non-player characters will be doing things tailored around that. A lot is hidden in details and in dialogue. You talk a lot to people in conversation; sometimes you are forced to, sometimes it is to progress certain endings, sometimes it is just to have fun.
This will affect both what they think of you and the general narrative as you deceive them about your wife’s disappearance. For a setup like this, I have also given a reason to why you cannot just run away from the farm: You live on the island. It is also up to the player to discover why you are there and what the backstory is.
Bez: How long will an average play session be? Are there multiple outcomes?
Jeremy: There should be twenty endings at launch. As for average playtime, it could be anywhere from four to twenty hours, depending how dedicated you are to finding certain endings. Sometimes a game can be cut short due to you messing up in a conversation, potentially giving away the fact that you murdered your wife. There is a big replayability factor, so I hope people will try “Replanted” multiple times to find all the outcomes.
Bez: It is definitely an ambitious project! I also saw that you plan “Replanted” to be the first part of a duology. Can you tell me more about future projects?
Jeremy: The first one is the game’s downloadable content called “Replanted: A Cool Cop Adventure In The Big City”. It is a small, maybe three to four hours long title following the more traditional genre of Japanese role-playing games, mainly meant for worldbuilding. It gives more insight into two non-player characters in “Replanted” and is a lot more comedic.
Then there is “Replanted: Story Mode”, which is a direct continuation to one of the hidden endings. It is a bit more unique in its gameplay and more linear. I expect it to be about ten hours of gameplay. Development on those should not take as long as “Replanted” as they are easier to create due to their more linear nature.
Bez: Speaking of which, when will “Replanted” be released?
Jeremy: I plan to release it sometime later this year and I have maintained that it will be completely free for Windows. Ports are an icky space to discuss, since it costs more to develop for them. However, I hope to make those cheap.
Bez: That is fantastic, I cannot wait to play them. Thanks for speaking with me today, Jeremy! To conclude, where can we find you and your work online?
Jeremy: First, I mostly give updates on “Replanted” on its Discord server. Then, you can see my development studio’s projects (or for now, only “Replanted”) at whistleblowerstudios.com. I also maintain a Steam developer page besides my itch.io and Game Jolt profiles. For now, I hope you all will enjoy what comes next.
Bez: I am sure we will!