Localization is often seen as a post-production task, but a new diary video for Animal Crossing: New Leaf shows that its cultural nuances were being considered well in the early stages of development.
According to Reiko Ninomiya of Nintendo of America’s Treehouse division, she and other localizers began brainstorming with developers in late 2010 for New Leaf and were involved through the entire process. Actual translation began around March 2012.
Ninomiya noted that ideas for events, items and uses for familiar characters were among the elements discussed with the New Leaf team:
Development teams in Japan are always really open to our feedback, but especially with this franchise I think they really understand that it needs to feel close; it needs to feel comfortable and warm and familiar.
You can watch the full development diary video below, which includes additional localizers with a long history in the Animal Crossing series.
Is it the “comfortable, warm and familiar” aspect that draws you to Animal Crossing — or maybe something else or nothing at all? Let us know.