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Animal Crossing Creator Discusses How Mobile Apps Could Affect Your ''Second Home''

Posted by Conor McMahon

Don't worry, there's not a microtransaction in sight!

Animal Crossing; New Leaf released over half a year ago on 3DS, but with something new to see and do every single day it has continued to live on as small, relaxing part of many player's daily routine. While attending the Game Developers Conference last week, series creator Katsuya Eguchi and New Leaf Director Aya Kyogoku spoke with Joystiq about why this might be the case, and what form the franchise could take in future to incorporate mobile devices in the experience.

From the very beginning, Eguchi's vision has always been to create a ''secondary home'' for players, one which they will actively want to return to time and time again. This concept has grown exponentially with each new title, and an admirably diverse development team has helped to ensure that New Leaf can cater to a greater variety of different tastes and personalities than ever before. Staff were encouraged to submit furniture and clothing ideas no matter their overall role within the team, providing a huge amount of variation for eager Mayors to work with when creating their own personal world. More choice means a greater universal appeal, and helps make the village feel more and more like home.

Kyogoku's focus on community and interaction through Streetpass further integrates New Leaf with daily life, rewarding those who take it with them outside of the house. As you live in one world, time marches on in the other, prompting return visits to check in on favourite neighbours and blossoming flower gardens. It's a format that has many questioning why the series has not made the jump to mobile devices, to join the slew of management or city-building games on the app store. It wouldn't be too unusual either, with many companies now developing mobile counterparts of successful series such as Final Fantasy.

Eguchi was quick to confirm the series' continuation on Nintendo devices however, stating that

while some may enjoy Animal Crossing in short spurts, there are many that spend the time to meticulously organize their towns, down to the location of each and every flower.

These longer play sessions don't quite gel with the twitch mentality of smartphone gaming, and Eguchi believes that the 3DS lends itself better to the input Animal Crossing is suited to. So does this mean we'll never see Tom Nook on our phones? Not quite....

The mobile market has not been completely dismissed by Eguchi and his team. Rather, he sees the platform as a possible means to bring players back to the main Animal Crossing experience. While we're definitely not likely to see any near-future titles taking place entirely on smartphones, associated apps could potentially allow players to design clothes on the go, or act as personal reminder of in-game events. An app could alert you to buy a birthday present for Goose, or check Nookingtons for the big sale that afternoon.

Microtransactions — meaning additional in-game payments of real money for added features or items — are also mentioned, though have never fit with the team's vision. As with the real world, true enjoyment comes with the experience, and so unique items will always go hand in hand with the associated event.

Eguchi seems most open to the idea of apps when they supplement rather than intrude on the main game on Nintendo hardware. Are you excited to see these ideas come to fruition, or does the thought of a Resetti app fill you with dread? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts!


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User Comments (15)



Sparx said:

It could be neat if you got "texts" from your villagers every now and then XP



6ch6ris6 said:

as long as i dont have to use such "apps" i'm fine. i dont want to own a smartphone or tablet



HylianJowi said:

As a supplement to the experience, this could be useful. As for microtransactions, I think it's obvious why they wouldn't be looked upon favorably. In fact, I think it's the fact that all content (including add-on content) in Animal Crossing COMES with the price of admission that serves as a main reason why people are willing to drop $35-40 on it. It's an outstanding value, a title with longevity aplenty.



OptometristLime said:

I've always felt the potential for this, as a way to keep tabs on your town.

Buying furniture with a few taps of your cell phone would be neat-o.



momoiiru said:

There are actually apps like that (built by fans of course) that tell you about special events in all regions, give complete descriptions of every villager as well as what Public Works projects they trigger. The one I used to use even let you add what villagers were in your town so you could see when their birthdays were and what projects they trigger.

A Nintendo-built one would probably be far cooler and more interactive though



bouncer0304 said:

I think that would be really cool- imagine connecting to your town and realising that it's someone's birthday and you haven't got time to buy a present. Open the app, shop in Nooks and pay using your bells, write a letter with it and then have it delivered within minutes. Reminders and texts would be fun too! Another idea- say the app had a radar and could sense another player around, some phones you can tap them together and exchange information. Imagine if you had a copy of that player who would arrive in your town to play with you! They'd be programmed not to harm anything in town but would make it easier to play with someone else. You could carry three others at the same time and have loads of fun! There would be no friend codes swapped though just to keep it safe and happy.
An app like this could really work well, but for now i'd be happy with an update with some more bugs/fish/art to collect and to be able to put my new neighbours where they like to stop ruining my town- Kiki's done that and i'm very upset as i worked so hard too!



bezerker99 said:

It would be nice to have an Animal Crossing app that acts as an item checklist for everything collectable in the game.



ryanator008 said:

Well Animal Crossing is already portable and there are already ways to set reminders on your phone, so an Animal Crossing mobile app seems a bit pointless.



ledreppe said:

I have an app that lets me scan in an image or pattern and create a qr code to upload to Able Sisters' shop, for decorating furniture and clothes. So I'm open to further smartphone functionality and integration, I can only see that it would improve my experience, but I would only want to play the actual game on a Nintendo handheld.

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