Animal Crossing: New Leaf is unquestionably one of the 3DS console's most popular games, having found a receptive global audience and attracting players of both sexes.
Producer Katsuya Eguchi and director Aya Kyogoku have been discussing the game's development process at GDC, and believe that the gender split of the team has been instrumental to the success of the title.
Kyogoku mentioned that she felt welcome as a female member of the development group — a situation which perhaps isn't quite as common as you'd think in Japan — and that the freedom afforded to all staff working on the title contributed to its appeal:
It opened us up to a variety of tastes and likings. Male and females and a variety of ages participated. We were able to leverage our diverse team, which couldn't be possible if one person was making all the decisions.
Kyogoku also commented on the camaraderie which permeated the team; staff would bring in Animal Crossing-themed cakes for their co-workers to enjoy, and team barbeques would be arranged. Thanks to these team-building exercises, the tail-end of the development process was enjoyable rather than tense and rushed, as is usually the case.
The game has now sold an incredible 7.3 million units worldwide to date, making it one of Nintendo's most notable successes of recent memory.
Image credit: Attyca