This Article is Reposted here for Archiving purposes. Click here for where I originally wrote it.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the upcoming title for the 3DS. Called Animal Crossing: Jump Out in Japan (Well, technically called “Tobidasi Dōbutsu no Mori” which means Animal Forest: Jump Out), the game released there on November 8th and will be out in South Korea on February 7th. When is it coming out in the US and Europe, you ask? Well, on February 14th, it was finally revealed to be June 9th for the US and June 14th for Europe. For those in Australia, it was later announced it will be released there on June 15th.
For whatever reason, the games were pushed back for the US and Europe. While Europe’s does fit the “Q2” release (although, being towards the end), June 9th for the US only partially fits–while they did say the “first half of 2013”, they have also said “Q1” and “Early 2013″…and June only fits one of these bills.
It’s not that the game hasn’t been selling well. In fact, it’s the first game to sell 2,000,000 units (which it hit in late December–not even 2 months old) in Japan beating out games such as Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Monster Hunter 3G, and New Super Mario Brothers 2 which have all been out much longer (heck, two of those games have been out longer than a year).
While it may not sell as quickly here, the game is a lot more popular than people seem to think and understandably, people are getting frustrated. It has nothing to do with people getting the game first, but more on the silence of it. Animal Crossing for the 3DS was originally announced when the 3DS was first shown back in 2010. Many people bought the 3DS in anticipation for that game, myself included (although, there were other games that caught my interest and I was really curious about streetpass). It took well over 2 years for it to come out in Japan and now those outside (with the exception of Korea) are still stuck waiting several more months. Many people have actually imported a Japanese 3DS to play.
Regardless, most of those people imported due to the long, perpetual silence we had been given (the last thing about Animal Crossing being back in October before the release date announcement in February) while others have thought about it due to the fact that we’d be starting nearly 8 months after the release. Considering City Folk was released so close together (with the exception of Korea who ironically had to wait 2 years after everyone else for that game), it’s odd that this game is being drawn out for so long. There’s mixed reasons as to why this may be–some feel it may be issues with the “Megaphone” that uses the built-in microphone while others feel, due to the mention of a “special exclusive feature” for the NA release, that may be the delay… of course, if the latter is referring to anything besides the region exclusive festivals, there’s still a wonder as to why Europe’s would be in June as well (of course, there’s still the Megaphone argument for that).
So, what about this game is so appealing? What makes it so different than the last? The #1 reason is it reminds a lot of people of the original game which most felt was one of the best in the series. The issue with Wild World, while it offered more flexibility, were the limitations due to the DS. The issue with City Folk was because they carried over some of those limitations and even managed to restrain other things (for example, you had a smaller house than you did in Wild World).
Going into more detail, Wild World also featured the first “shared” house, which meant if you actually shared your game with siblings, you may come back to find all your prized furniture thrown away. New Leaf not only gives you a house bigger than Wild World’s, but there’s no sharing involved. …You will need to figure out who will be mayor though…
City Folk’s main problem is the bad outweighed the good. One of the biggest issues were Animal Tracks (Grass Deterioration). While it was a good idea in itself–allowing players the option to create natural paths–the problem was that it happened too fast. People who played even as little as 30 minutes to an hour a day could see tons of missing grass spots within a week and a half…imagine people playing 10+ hours a day. Many players had their towns looking like barren wastelands and there’s only so much you can do to get them to grow back (and it’s quite the slow process).
While Animal Tracks make a return in New Leaf, it’s much slower and while it may be a bit harder to create a natural path, you don’t have to worry about your town suddenly looking like a giant pile of dirt. Not to mention it’s also much easier and quicker to restore grass–so even if it seems like your town may be having some grass issues, it won’t be too hard to get it back into shape.
New Leaf brings a bunch of new features while also bringing back some old ones–like the faithful train ride from the original. While the city isn’t here, there is a “Mall” just beyond the train tracks which leaves a bit more space in your town. Nook’s old store is now owned by his nephews, Timmy and Tommy, while Nook has fully moved into real estate, Kicks has gotten his own store to sell both shoes AND socks, and we even have some brand new characters as well who work at some of the newer additions: The Recycle Shop where you can get items customized in all kinds of ways and the Dream Suite where you can visit random people’s towns or towns of those you have Street Passed for ideas for your own town. Not to mention if you’re a bit paranoid of letting people visit out of fear of people murdering your trees and/or flowers, you can just give them your dream address so they can see your town and you do not need to worry about anything happening to it.
However, the biggest thing is the first player to be created gets to become mayor. The mayor can decide the town law, what public works are in your town, and what facilities get built. You can have an asian-themed town or maybe something out of a fairy tale. Maybe you want a very modern and urban town. Regardless, there are a lot of options and it’s not really a surprise people are excited. Not to mention even the outside of your house can be decorated.
QR Codes have also been implemented to make sharing patterns much easier than when you had to do each pixel yourself. They do have some restrictions though–for example, any pattern(s) you scan through [a] QR Code(s) can not be edited or displayed at the Able Sister’s.
And those are just a few of the many new features, so it’s not surprising that so many people are excited for this game–it brings back a lot of good with very little of the bad and has a huge wave of nostalgia too in ways City Folk and Wild World didn’t. While the game may not be perfect, it’s well worth the roughly 3 years wait. Of course, I think everyone wouldn’t mind if it came out sooner either. Regardless, I’ll be looking forward to writing about it.