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Out Now: Animal Crossing: New Leaf Starts Life in Japan

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Time to get envious

So, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is out now in Japan, released on 8th November. Once we got over the irritation of discovering that we were a day late, we thought we'd look at what we know so far, point you to previous articles that have stacks of information, compile some nice gameplay footage and look at the reaction to the game in Japan. We don't give this treatment to many games that arrive in Japan long before the West, but we're also aware — through various statistics — that this particular game is one of the most popular amongst the Nintendo Life community. When it comes to AC, it seems, we all want to know more and start playing this game, well, yesterday.

New Leaf, in many ways, will deliver a similar experience to its predecessors, which will no doubt be absolutely fine with fans of the franchise. It will also have plenty of new areas to explore, with a dizzying array of stores and even a raccoon housing project — because even raccoons need somewhere to stay. The most notable addition is your status as mayor of the village, which will give you power to manage village features such as bridges and benches, while there'll be enough customisation to absorb a worrying number of hours. You can see some of that in action in the most recent trailer from Nintendo of America, below.

Wi-Fi will play a big part, as would be expected of this series' début on 3DS, which will allow players to visit each other's homes and villages. StreetPass and SpotPass will also be included, with the exchange of badges earned in game, while ac3DSblog.com, which has been following the release in Japan, has reported that Wi-Fi spots in local 7 Eleven stores will use SpotPass to deliver themed furniture to the game. Whether commercial, albeit free, DLC is a good or bad thing is up to individuals to decide.

There are a huge number of small touches, of course, such as more detailed customisation of a character's appearance, the ability to go swimming and a variety of environmental features, with familiar examples such as a rainbow in the sky after rain and balloons that deliver presents. The whimsy is truly in overload.

Nintendo itself, of course, gave a detailed Nintendo Direct broadcast dedicated to this game in October, which revealed a lot of features and showed them in action. You can watch the lengthy video below and, most importantly, read our detailed summary of the broadcast from our man in Japan, Jeremy Thain.

The one high-profile review score so far, meanwhile, is an almost perfect 39/40 from Famitsu. Though some interesting review scores from the publication in recent years mean some will take that score with a few grains of salt, it's still a high-profile endorsement that says this isn't a disappointment. It wouldn't surprise us if Animal Crossing: New Leaf is sitting at the top of the Japanese video game charts next week, and it'll also be worth seeing whether download sales from the eShop play a major role. This is certainly a game where quick, easy access on a daily basis will be genuinely valuable.

Gamers in Japan are rather busy playing this right now, we suspect, though the rest of us will need to wait until early 2013. Let's all hope that a confirmed release date is given soon.

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User Comments (57)

Dashtag

#3

Dashtag said:

I want it. Right now. In America. C'mon Nintendo, I'm already getting it day 1, why must you make me wait so long?

grumblebuzzz

#4

grumblebuzzz said:

I hope someone imports it from Japan and posts some game play videos soon. If I can't play it, I'd at least like to see someone else playing it.

skyluigi2

#5

skyluigi2 said:

So envious right now...
It's a good thing Fantasy Life isn't out there yet or I think I'd explode.

Mowzle

#9

Mowzle said:

It's Sooooooo difficult having to wait!
This is the main reason I got a 3DS on launch day - such a long time ago.
:(

AyeHaley

#10

AyeHaley said:

I've stopped reading anything about this game. I want to have some surprises left and everytime I read something AC3DS-related I go absolutely bonkers. I need this game ASAP.

bahooney

#17

bahooney said:

I wish they had hired a huuuuge translation team to get this gem out in the wild sooner rather than next year, but it understandable why it's taking so long. I wouldn't want to even look at how massive the text files must be! I'll just have to play City Folk until it's release. :<

Intrepid

#20

Intrepid said:

I believe they are releasing Animal Crossing next year so that it doesn't sabatoge Wii U sales and vice-versa. Japan was able to get the game now because they have until December 7 to get the Wii U.

birthgirth

#22

birthgirth said:

I was upset at first when I heard this game would be coming out in NA 2013. But once all this Wii U information started coming, it got me really excited, and I am now glad Animal Crossing is coming later. This gives me time to play with my Wii U exclusively for a while. This is the only reason I'm not buying Sticker Star right away. As much as I'll want to play it, I won't when my Wii U is around.

Marakuto

#24

Marakuto said:

I watched a few walkthroughs and it looks like they're making me want the game even more than I bargained!

Spoony_Tech

#25

Spoony_Tech said:

I wasn't really interested in this but the more I see of it the more I want it. I don't want to spend the next year of my life playing one game though. This is definitely an hour killer. Goodbye life! ;-)

123akis

#26

123akis said:

the reason why EU and USA gets it later is because they have to translate the game, most nintendo games are made in japanese and it has to be translated to english (obviously) so it will take time.

RaylaxStaff

#27

Raylax said:

"greater environmental features, such as a rainbow in the sky after rain and balloons that deliver presents"

These both existed in both Wild World and City Folk :P

Nanamine

#29

Nanamine said:

Makes sense that the Wii U comes to America before Japan, but something much smaller goes to Japan first. Great Job, Nintendo.

Prof_Clayton

#32

Prof_Clayton said:

ACNL is looking fantastic! :)
I hope this sells well, but I have one question. Does anyome know if swimming has a purpose?

DerpSandwich

#33

DerpSandwich said:

The 3DS is already doing so well in Japan. I'm incredibly eager to check the sales charts next week.

I'm also incredibly eager to GET THIS GAME ALREADY.

bezerker99

#35

bezerker99 said:

NA gets Wii U first!!! But Japan gets Animal Crossing first!!! Either place, you are sure to be :Ding starting today and on the 18th.

ThomasBW84Admin

#36

ThomasBW84 said:

RE Balloons and rainbows - Thanks for the comments, and I've updated that sentence. My bad!

astroshamu

#39

astroshamu said:

I'm extremely tempted to buy a Japanese 3DS and this game and play not knowing what anyone's saying untill it comes out for North America

Doge

#40

Doge said:

eerybody says this game is gay or bad, but its awesome, and only the manliest of all men play this hardcore game

Schprocket

#43

Schprocket said:

@redclow that's metaphorically like asking what's so good about Pokemon. If you know someone with a copy, you have to play it and judge for yourself.
Try "Animal Crossing is to The Sims what Pokemon is to RPG/TBS" ;)

mirnkaya

#44

mirnkaya said:

@astroshamu:
The game is really text heavy, and many features seem to require that you DO understand what they say (for example - neighbors hinting at their preferred birthday presents, status reports in the city hall etc.). Furthermore - much of the charm of this game comes from the humorous quirky text. That how it was in previous animal crossing versions and that's how it is now.

Another interesting tidbit I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere - the game features use of the 3ds Play Coins (those you get from walking in real-life) - you can exchange it for special fortune cookies with intriguing texts (e.g. a mustached-man is going to feature in your life) which in turn can be exchanged for exclusive objects (in this case - a Mario floor for your house). Really great :)

Big-Timer

#46

Big-Timer said:

I really want this game but me and my sister are sharing it but its really gonna be fun really I can not wait for this!

sinalefa

#50

sinalefa said:

I am not sure about this one. I kinda regret the tons of hours that I had to put into City Folk, and then the disc scratched and I felt free of Tom Nook. I cannot deny I had tons of fun, I was not ready then to have a game forcing me to play it each and every day.

With this one, not only the card won't scratch, but I find handheld games a lot more addictive and easier to indulge in a few minutes per day here and there, and both things work like a charm for AC. Still I will wait for reviews.

And of course this one gets delayed. Besides the translation duties, imagine having this and Pokémon Black/White 2 released so close to each other!

Big-Timer

#52

Big-Timer said:

i hope you can chat in this animal crossing 3ds in the gamecube one you cant i dont know why but i hope you can in this one.

Justaguest

#53

Justaguest said:

been just hearing about this game for so long that i give up on even thinking about it anymore. I´m gonna ignore anything ac related until its release. It´s been so long now that I don´t care anymore >>

lanabanana

#54

lanabanana said:

Ugh, Japanese people are so lucky! I have a Japanese friend who has it & won't stop playing it XD.

Kitsune_Rei

#56

Kitsune_Rei said:

I hate to think how much interest GameStop has earned off my preorder money, since I think I've had the game paid off or close to it since when it was first available over a year ago XP
Will we get a preorder bonus at least as an apology?

Windy

#57

Windy said:

Ive been waiting a longtime for this one. It looks awesome and online play will be awesome. The only thing that will keep me away from this is if Dragon Quest X is released by some miracle of the gaming gods

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