Diversity within the Animal Crossing: New Leaf development team played major part in giving the 3DS game its broad appeal, project leader Aya Kyogoku has said.
Speaking at GDC along with her fellow Nintendo colleague, Animal Crossing producer Katsuya Eguchi, she said that diversity on the New Leaf team – men and women of different ages from a variety of backgrounds – helped to generate the game’s broader range of content, as well as making it suit the game’s target audience better.
“When I was starting in the game industry, it wasn’t uncommon to be the only woman on the entire team,” Kyogoku said, as reported by Polygon.
“I always felt welcome and I never felt awkward. In my years at Nintendo, I have come to discover that when there are women in a variety of roles on the project, you get a wider [range] of ideas.
“So when you are trying to create something that will appeal to many types of people, I have experienced how beneficial it is to have diversity on your team.”
Kyogoku explained that she was the first female game designer at Nintendo EAD, the internal development team behind Animal Crossing, Mario, Zelda and others. Women are “still in the minority” she said, but the gap between men and women is evening out.
The aim for New Leaf was something that both “men and women of all ages would have fun playing”, explained lead designer Eguchi. In order to see the project from different angles, and thus bring different content to the game, Eguchi said they enlisted team members from differing backgrounds with varying life experiences.
Discussing the game’s reception, Eguchi said New Leaf has now sold more than 7.3 million copies worldwide. The 3DS title has also been a major hardware-seller, helping push Nintendo 3DS sales to more than 42.7 million.
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