Rune Factory 4 has lots of new elements, most notably the option for male or female main characters, selectable at the start of the game. But regardless of who you select, you'll end up with a character who suffers that common RPG protagonist ailment: memory loss.
As detailed in Famitsu this week (via Sokuho), your two protagonist selections are the male Lest (voiced by Kouki Uchiyama) and the female Frey (voiced by Chiwa Saito). Both characters have the ability to exchange thoughts with dragons, and both start the game having lost their memory.
Like its predecessors, RF4 has love components. In past titles, you advanced directly from friendship to marriage. Here, there's a period where you get to be boyfriend and girlfriend with the partner of your choice. It seems that you'll be able to have multiple lovers during this time.
Famitsu introduces girlfriend candidate Margarete (voiced by Aoi Yuuki), an elf who works plays music at the dining hall, and boyfriend candidate Vishnal (voiced by Daisuke Namikawa) who's apparently is training to be a butler.
Whenever you encounter a lover candidate for the first time, the game will show a character-specific movie (it's not clear if this is a realtime movie or a pre-rendered movie). The game also has a feature called "Doki Doki Zoom," which will zoom in the screen when an event scene heats up.
Rune Factory 4 will, of course, have the farming and dungeon elements we've come to expect from the franchise. When farming, the game does not restrict you to a grid -- you can layout your crops freely. During dungeon exploration, you can make monsters into allies and raise them on your farm.
Development on this first 3DS Rune Factory game is currently at 50% complete. The game is due for release some time this year.