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Katsuya Eguchi: An Animal Crossing: New Leaf Town is "Something That You Should be Proud Of"

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Developers aimed to create a "parallel world"

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a title currently selling well, it seems, in Europe and North America, and has already been a significant success in Japan. As a game it can also be hard to explain to others, with its world following real time and so many activities being rather simple tasks in pursuit of new items, improving relationships or additional wealth.

In an interview with Gamasutra, producer Katsuya Eguchi spoke at some length about the design philosophies behind the game, and a desire to create a "parallel world" that's so obviously different from our own, but nevertheless has rules, principles and values that can easily be attributed to real life.

In an interesting segment on a gamer's town developing into a visual portrayal of their own values and characteristics, Eguchi said the following.

You speak about values; everyone has different values. Some people might think a certain item has more value than another does, or may think it's worth it to spend bells on a particular item when someone else doesn't. It's all kind of like things in this life — this value system.

Your town becomes a reflection of your values. The time you spend on relationships reflects how much you value that relationship. As someone creates their town it's a reflection of their values, and when you show it to people, it should be something that you want to be show off to people. It's something that you should be proud of.

And as you show it off you see what other people have done with their spaces, that will also shape the way you feel about your own town. It should be this kind of automatic feedback mechanism when you play with another person and see what they've done. So it definitely shifts and changes, but it's all a reflection of that person's values — the values and beliefs they hold.

With New Leaf, we were able to take that self-expression to the next level. You can customize not just your character, but your town this time, and you can apply designs to furniture, and you can share all of this with the Happy Home Showcase and through the Dream Suite. So all of this has been made for people to share their own reflections of their personalities.

Eguchi goes onto explain that the animal population was deliberately adjusted to be more naturally friendly, though some will still get on your case for mistakes. It's all part of an effort to apply chores in the game without making them too demanding or disconcerting, therefore encouraging gamers to play every day. On that topic, it was raised that the game has no 'ending' in the traditional sense, and Eguchi once again drew a parallel to real life.

At a certain point it will end, but in the same way that life does, every day — to day, to day, to day — it keeps going. In the same way, we wanted your life within Animal Crossing to keep going, so we built into the game a mechanism to be sure that there are always new discoveries for players. You like something one day, and then you may discover that you didn't like it as much as this other thing. So there's always something to strive for.

We also built into the game a feedback mechanism, where you're always getting feedback from within the game, from animals saying they like certain items and asking you if you'll trade with them, or playing with friends. Friends may give you feedback and you can see what they're doing with their towns, and get new ideas.

So it's always about this constant discovery, and also adding a lot of variation within the game. There are always a lot of different paths you can decide to go down. We want it to feel like a story that was never going to be done. It was never going to be finished. So that was something we tried to achieve.

We recommend checking out the full interview, and would be interested to know your thoughts on Mr Eguchi's comments. Do you see parallels — albeit fantastical — to real life in New Leaf, and do you happily visit your town every day?

[via gamasutra.com]

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User Comments (14)

SuperSah

#1

SuperSah said:

I love this game. Added a park bench, steet lamp, bridge and fountain so far! I have even clocked 80 hours in a week. Love it. Worth the three year wait.

Justaguest

#2

Justaguest said:

I love this game now but to be honest it was really bad in first few days. There was almost nothing to do. No tools, everything closed.. it takes time to finally do something fun than shaking trees and collecting peaches. Now I have my room expanded, have most of the tools and got a lot of stuff to improve town with mayor powers and just let out my creativity.. At first you dont have anything to work with and game is very boring but once few day pass it becomes delightful experience in small doses throughout day. Its still a casual game in my book but being hardcore player I am still loving it^^ much better than Wild World

Kaine_Morrison

#5

Kaine_Morrison said:

I've been ignoring the Art section of the Museum. I didn't want to"waste" my Bells on it yet.
I've been busy upgrading my home. I added one Suspension Bridge.
Bought shovel, fishing pole, axe, bug net and watering can (given by Isabelle)
Trying to pay off 600,000 Bells is taking forever because I cannot find any more Sharks.
My house consists of:
Main Room
Main Room expansion 1
Main Room expansion 2
Main Room expansion 3
Upstairs
Upstairs expansion 1
Upstairs expansion 2
Back Room

Donald_M

#6

Donald_M said:

Animal Crossing may be a "casual" game, but these kinds of games tend to attract a pretty hardcore following. There aren't many other games out there that attract as fanatical a devotion, or that are as good at encouraging daily play and long term play.

Gamers who call themselves "hardcore" while sneering at the likes of Animal Crossing and other casual titles are posers. A true gamer knows there's value in all kinds of games and having a wide variety of games that appeals to all kinds of people is of benefit to everyone.

bahooney

#8

bahooney said:

@Donald_M Praise the prophet of gaming! I dare say, it is incredibly refreshing to see this type of mentality! I get so tired of hearing gamers complain about their games, it's a wonder how they keep themselves invested in the hobby.

ramstrong

#12

ramstrong said:

@Kaine_Morrison
You just need one painting. Also, try to get shark at 5 AM. The one time I played it at that time, it was one shark after another. When you run out of shark, go to the island and catch some bugs!

paperskyx

#13

paperskyx said:

I play everyday and I'm not sick of it! I won't be sick of it until I've gotten all of my house expansions and each room is well furnished, and I have all of the available buildings/structures in my town (except for dumb stuff like street lamps, clocks, etc), donated everything to the museum, caught every bug, fish, and underwater creature, seen everything I can see... So yeah, it'll be a while. There's a lot more content in this game than any other version, so if you were iffy on previous AC games, I still recommend this one to you. It also depends if you prefer fast-paced games or games like this one that give you a little bit at a time.

Lucem_Sora

#14

Lucem_Sora said:

Haha the first days are boring as heck...I barely paid my loans to build my home...but it's getting more interesting..umm can we exchange friend codes? Mine is 2294-3451-6946...name is LucemSora

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