Natsume, publisher of the Harvest Moon series in North America, has made a bit of a name for itself by offering plush toys as incentives for customers to pre-order new entries in the series: cute, admittedly, but European counterpart Rising Star Games has something a little classier to offer.

The publisher has announced the commission of 30 pieces of limited edition artwork, starting with five images to accompany upcoming releases Rune Factory 3 and Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar. The remaining 25 images will be released throughout the year, though in as-yet unspecified manners.

The art will be exclusive to PAL regions and include 20 character portraits and 10 "premium" pieces of artwork by series illustrator Higusa Matsuyama.

Rune Factory 3 and Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar are both due for release this month, so stay tuned for the limited edition artwork soon.

Limited edition Harvest Moon character artwork to be included with orders of Harvest Moon and Rune Factory titles

Rising Star Games has commissioned bespoke artwork to be included with orders of titles from its flagship Harvest Moon series

Thursday 1stSeptember 2011: Leading independent UK publisher, Rising Star Games, has commissioned the creation of 30 pieces of bespoke character artwork. The limited edition artwork will be included with copies of upcoming releases in the Harvest Moon series, Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar and Rune Factory 3. Rising Star Games will be distributing the first set of five images with current orders, with further sets available in the near future.

The artwork has been created by Harvest Moon artist Higusa Matsuyama. With 30 pieces of character artwork in total, 20 character portraits and a further ten premium pieces of artwork. Art cards will be grouped into sets of five cards, three portraits and two premium pieces, to be distributed as sets of five with orders from the series.

Martin Defries, managing director, Rising Star Games, said: “The artwork within the Harvest Moon universe is extremely impressive and has a distinct style all of its own. We were incredibly pleased when Higusa Matsuyama agreed to create a bespoke collection of character artwork exclusively for the PAL market. Fans will be able to collect and share the cards, we’ve grouped the collection into sets of five and we’ll be distributing addition sets later in the year.”