There’s no denying it: there is something strangely satisfying about riding a massive tractor through a ripe field in the Farming Simulator series, but with Farming Simulator 22, the developers at GIANTS Software aren’t contenting themselves with a shiny new coat of paint. Instead, they’re adding features that up until now have only ever been supported by a passionate modding community; chiefly, seasonal cycles and production chains. Now, before I was able to hop on my rig and get that delightful crop-collecting payoff, I had to devise a plan for how to best utilize my time, space, and resources that extended far beyond the barley field.
It’s hard to overstate just how big of a deal seasonal changes were in my time with Farming Simulator 22 — gone were the days of the eternal August weather ripe for farming. Now I had to get creative, plan which crops to grow during which seasons, and make sure I harvested everything before it withered on the vine. The hot summer months, for example, were a great opportunity to grow wheat and stock up my reserves for colder months, while the snowy winter season called for building greenhouses to grow strawberries in the inhospitable weather.
Seasons forced me to think completely differently about running my farm, and only by carefully planning ahead was I able to turn a profit, acquire new land to work, and expand my ever-hungry produce empire. And that added a strategic element to a series that, until now, has mostly been about driving big machines. Don’t get me wrong, though: you’ll still drive plenty of enormous marvels of engineering around and it’s just as awesome as it’s ever been — there’s just a lot more to it now.
A perfect example of how the series is evolving can be found with its other major addition: production cycles, which involve you in the refining, distribution, and finally the selling of your goods. In one scenario, I harvested wheat, brought it to a factory to be turned into flour, then brought that flour to a bakery to be cooked into bread. And in another, much more elaborate sequence of events, I spent an entire in-game year figuring out how to grow or harvest strawberries, sugar, milk, eggs, and butter just so I could manufacture and sell cakes.
Expanding my business by purchasing production facilities became an addictive part of making money to feed my ever-hungry farming operations (in addition to the ever-hungry animals and people I was literally feeding). Why just sell my crops when I could own the businesses that make use of those crops and get some of that sweet, sweet vertical integration going? My thirst for success as a farming tycoon led me to acquire a good chunk of the midwestern locale of Elmcreek altogether.
And of course, as my operations expanded and my cash reserves grew, I was able to afford bigger and better farming equipment that let me seed, fertilize, and harvest my crops in classic, zen-like fashion. Farming Simulator has always had these beautiful machines in spades and this game is no exception. There are some pretty beautiful models too, like the Fendt Katana 650 and the New Holland Braud 9070L.
It’s been a few years since the last Farming Simulator and so far it seems that GIANTS Software has not been sitting on their laurels. I’m excited to embrace my inner farm tycoon when it releases later this month — and yes, also to drive around big machines.
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Author: Ryan McCaffrey