Animal Crossing: New Leaf has been a major hit on the 3DS, earning significant success in Japan before achieving impressive results in the West. It's been remarkable how its attracted a sizeable audience that incorporates a wide range of gamers, taking over social networks for a notable spell after release.
In an interview with Edge, game director Aya Kyogoku highlighted how social networks had driven a new level of communication between players.
There’s no one specific thing, but what I’ve noticed is a lot of people use social networks and blogs to communicate about the game. There’s a function in New Leaf to take screenshots, for example, which you can upload to Twitter and Facebook; there’s a service that started in Japan that allows you to do this easily. Animal Crossing players talk a lot about what’s happening in their game, and publish or upload designs they made in the game, so there’s been a lot of communication about New Leaf outside the game. For example, during the first fishing competition in the game, ‘fishing’ became one of the most used words on Twitter in Japan, and other words like ‘carp’ or ‘black bass’ started trending around this time. While people are exchanging this information, it’s giving them even more fun with their Animal Crossing world.
The ability to post to social networks, as well as online, StreetPass, SpotPass and QR code functionality, demonstrate how the development team focused on utilising the 3DS hardware to move the series forward. When quizzed about what was next for the franchise, series creator Katsuya Eguchi made clear that utilising hardware will be the focus once again.
We have already started thinking about what to do next, but there is no concrete direction yet. First, we need to decide which hardware to develop a new Animal Crossing for, and then we want to use that hardware and find out what it’s capable of and what kind of features it provides. Then we can start thinking of elements of Animal Crossing and how we can realise them using the hardware. So until we discover these new inventions, we will not decide the direction.
We'd certainly hope that the franchise will appear on the Wii U, but what would you like to see in future series entries? Let us know in the comments below.