This trade spotlight looks at the Animal Crossing series' 3DS debut, Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
We detail the in-game features, a history of the franchise, in-store offers and marketing plan for the game.
Nintendo UK product manager Roger Langford also tells MCV why New Leaf is a major release for the 3DS.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is released on June 14th.
- The best-selling Nintendo series makes its 3DS debut in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a brand new outing for the life simulation franchise designed to make full use of the handheld’s unique features.
- New Leaf follows in the footsteps of the hugely successful Animal Crossing: Wild World for the original DS, which has sold almost 12m units worldwide.
- Players once again play the only human in a town populated with humanised animals. There’s no objective, no checklist of goals: just explore the town, meet the neighbours or complete chores to earn the money needed to decorate and expand your house.
- For the first time, gamers are also given other responsibilities for the whole town as they take on the role of mayor. If they decorate the town and attend public events like opening ceremonies, more animals will be encouraged to move in, bringing in new businesses like cafe?s, clubs and spas.
- As always, Animal Crossing works in real time. If it’s three AM Christmas morning in the real world, it is the same time in the game.
- Special events happen throughout the year and new clothes and other items become available each day.
- New Leaf also encourages 3DS owners to share content, such as outfit designs and other items. This can be done via QR codes, or the handheld’s StreetPass system, which transfer models of users’ houses to other system so fellow New Leaf players can order the same furnishings from the game’s catalogue.
- Players can also invite other 3DS owners locally or via an online connection to their town, so they can explore the area and enjoy various activities together.
THE Animal Crossing series began on the Nintendo 64 with the Japan-only Animal Forest. This was eventually updated and ported to GameCube two years later and sold a modest 2m+ copies. But it was the first portable outing, Animal Crossing: Wild World for the DS, which put the series on the map. Its broadly appealing gameplay and online functions helped the game shift 11.7m units worldwide, prompting a less successful Wii entry, Animal Crossing: Let’s Go To The City. New Leaf represents the series’ return to handhelds.
IN ADDITION to the standard version of the game, Nintendo is also releasing a special Animal Crossing 3DS XL bundle. This brand new SKU comes with a Animal Crossing-themed 3DS XL that has New Leaf pre-installed on the system’s memory. Consumers that pre-order New Leaf will receive bonus figurines of the game’s Town Hall and Isabelle, the mayor’s canine assistant
AS NINTENDO’S biggest title for 3DS this summer, Animal Crossing will benefit from a large TV campaign leading up to the game’s launch on June 14th. This will be supported by plenty of print advertising, and the game has already appeared as part of Nintendo’s buy-three-get-one-free So Many Games promotion.
Nintendo is also running what it describes as “significant” social media activity. The platform holder will be encouraging Animal Crossing fans to share stories of their favourite moments from their time with the previous games via Facebook and Twitter – and hopefully New Leaf players will join in too.
ANIMAL Crossing has traditionally done well in the UK, particularly on handheld and we’re very much hoping to replicate the success of Wild World, which launched on the DS in 2006.
Handheld is definitely the natural home for Animal Crossing as it’s very much a game that players want to dip in and out of. Depending on what day or time you play, you can have a very different experience.
This is our biggest focus for 3DS this summer. We’re looking forward to exciting both existing fans and introducing newcomers to the franchise.