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Editorial: Animal Crossing on Wii U is something I don’t want to play

The Animal Crossing series might have started its life on the Nintendo 64, a home console and Nintendo is definitely working on the very next installment of the series for the Wii U as well as we speak. That to me just sounds boring and isn’t something I actually want to play anymore. I can’t get excited for simply just another home console Animal Crossing.

I believe the future of the series is portable and Nintendo don’t have to wait for the next handheld to bring it to us and they can even make the Wii U one too – we’ll need it.

IsabelleOut there in this huge world of ours, everyone leads a different life, the majority of people however are working during the day. If they’re not working they’re at school, looking after kids, studying at university. Whatever it may be, it’s during the day. Some people might be lucky enough to work at home or have a different working situation but for the majority of people, this is the reality.

Animal Crossing is a game that can be played and should be played anytime, whenever you can and whenever you want to play it, coming home after work and playing it after a day of work between all the things you have to do after work just isn’t any fun. It’s the same time of day, the same events and you miss everything else that happens in the other waking hours.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf introduced Town Ordinances which did help with this a lot, you could be an Early Bird and have everything open earlier or have the Night Owl one enacted and stay up late with your villagers. All great but it did mean you couldn’t enact the other two and more useful ordinances.

That’s the Nintendo 3DS version of the game, you know the one you can play anywhere anyway. On the way to work or school, on your lunch break, in your cubicle away from the bosses’ eyes or in bed late at night. A console version offers no such flexibility, I just can’t get excited for a game anymore that will tether me to my TV overnight – it’s not how I want to play Animal Crossing anymore and you should expect more from it too.

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Ask anyone with a Nintendo 3DS and that has a copy of Animal Crossing – chances are it’s their most played game with hundreds if not thousands of hours clocked up – Try doing that in front of your TV.

Let’s not kid ourselves here, just how much is a Wii U version of Animal Crossing actually going to sell?

If you look at the top selling games for the Wii worldwide on Nintendo’s website, there isn’t any sign of Animal Crossing: City Folk/Let’s go to the City at all. The last game Nintendo lists on that is Super Smash Bros. Brawl on 12 million. How much did City Folk actually sell? 3.38 million, that’s nothing compared to 101 million Wii units out there.

Now look at the sales of the DS iteration, Animal Crossing: Wild World. That game worldwide has sold 11.73 million units on a user base of 165 million consoles. Even though there is 25% more Nintendo DS consoles in the world, the game sold 236% better than the Wii version.

What about more recently? Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the Nintendo 3DS has sold 7.66 million copies on the much smaller user base of 45 million – just how much is a Wii U version going to sell on user base of 7.2 million sales? We already know that console Crossings’ don’t sell well, the Wii U version is poised to sell poorly.

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Nintendo shouldn’t totally give up on the Wii U version of the game, they instead should just go about it another way.

What Nintendo should do with the game next is clear and that is to leverage the power of the Nintendo 3DS.

The next Animal Crossing game is going to be on the Wii U, no doubt about that. But what about if you could continue to play in and visit your village while you’re on the road? Nintendo could and should make a Nintendo 3DS ‘companion’ game, no one is going to simply buy New Leaf again but if Nintendo are going to make a brand new game on the Wii U with new features, characters and ideas why not be able to continue those adventures on the go.

The idea would be that the Nintendo 3DS ‘game’ would sync either online or locally to your Wii U machine and you could continue to play where you left the Wii U version. Both consoles feature the ability to download data in the background or while asleep, your Animal Crossing life could continue anytime you were connected to the internet.

resettiYou could have your ‘gates’ open on home console 24/7 and your 3DS could ‘ring’ and you let people in via the portable version.

It’s unlikely Nintendo would patch Animal Crossing: New Leaf to do this, the kind of crazy infrastructure to do that would likely mean a lot more work than simply making it all sync up.

We shouldn’t settle for just another console iteration of Animal Crossing, I’m over playing the game tethered to my TV and it appears consumers are too. Let Animal Crossing go free, use both consoles’ abilities to their full extent and let people play the game how they like.

What about you?

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About The Author
Daniel Vuckovic
The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all. Please understand.
9 Comments
  • January 5, 2015 at 7:22 am

    I completely agree. The most fun I’ve had with Animal Crossing has been on handhelds – It’s something you can play in the doctors waiting room or on the bus. A Wii U version would have to do something spectacular to give me reason to pick it up, like having your game sync across devices.

  • cd2
    January 5, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I always thought the console version needed a official time travel mode, missed something that day you could visit a time traveling store/item and revisit it. There would need to be some sort of time limit is can’t travel more than a week behind and maybe 2 days ahead?

  • Hando
    January 5, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Yeah I agree, it’s so much better to have a portable animal crossing, can just pick it up and play it wherever you want compared to being restricted to your lounge room tv (or gamepad with its rather small area of use).

  • Dave
    January 5, 2015 at 8:24 am

    The first version was on GC not N64 btw, I remember importing the US version and using a freeloader as the Euro version was abandoned initially and then resurrected a year later.

    A calling home version wouldn’t work, I can understand why they might want to do a WiiU version with the new gamepad and all, it may well end up being a family version where multiple people can play in the village at once.

    The other more obvious way that they will never do is put it on an iOS or Android platform to link in….again that will never happen. But it would mean more interaction as people are more likely to be carrying their phones or iPads than a 3DS.

  • Burak H
    January 5, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Actually, Dave, the first game was in fact released on Nintendo 64, however, it was not released outside of Japan. The second game, on Gamecube, was titled Doubutsu no Mori + (Animal Forest Plus), and this was also a Japan-exclusive title (it was a straight port of the Nintendo 64 version with some new features, I believe).

    The next game would be the internationally released Animal Crossing for the GameCube, which contained additional content that was not included in the Japanese version of Doubutsu no Mori +. In Japan, they released a second Animal Crossing game for the platform titled Doubutsu no Mori e+, which included all of the additional content in the English-language “Animal Crossing” release. Our releases have been more or less the same since.

  • Burak H
    January 5, 2015 at 9:14 am

    And I agree with you Daniel. It is hard to feel excited about a new Animal Crossing game considering how insignificant a lot of the new content has been over the past decade. We still cannot interact with most of our items in any meaningful way (imagine 2-4 player foosball?!), and consequently, the game feels far too limiting for its own good. My first Animal Crossing game was Wild World for the DS, and I had bought that after reading many reviews that praised the game as one of Nintendo’s finest. Man, was I disappointed. I played for an hour or two wondering what the hell I was supposed to do next. My assumption was that it was some sort of cutesy RPG game (considering all of the comparisons that were made to Harvest Moon), but there was none of that to be found here. All I had was some tiny little village, some animals to talk to, and I felt in no way obligated to collect the game’s many, many items.

    Once I became familiar with the limitations of the game, I was able to enjoy the game a bit more, but I suppose all of the praise had elevated my expectations to an extent that it simply couldn’t live up to. Then Let’s Go To The City/City Folk came along, and disappointingly, it was more or less a port of the DS release with almost no new content. I still got a good 80+ hours or so out of the Wii release, but I was expecting an expansion of the village that included a city where we can live and shop and what have you. It turned out that the City was (more or less) just a hub for past characters to sell their wares, and the “City” was embarrassingly small. I’m not expecting “open world” genre degrees of exploration here, but it really should have been significantly larger than what was on offer. I was also disappointed in the lack of local multiplayer. Considering how simplistic the graphics were, I saw no reason why the Wii couldn’t handle 2-4 player local multiplayer so that we can all explore the town and buy items at the same time as opposed to forcing everyone to play the game separately from within their own profiles.

    The first time I was actually excited about a new Animal Crossing game was when I saw the E3 Smash Bros. trailer which opened with a scene of the Villager receiving a letter. I was initially under the impression that it was the trailer for a new Animal Crossing title for Wii U. I was excited because the game looked so much more vibrant and beautiful than any other game in the series, and I would definitely hop on board if they released an Animal Crossing game that looks that good on Wii U. New Leaf had some subtle improvements, but it essentially feels like a prettier looking Wild World remake in 3D.

    I’m not going to keep my expectations high as Nintendo is much too complacent with this series, but 5-player local multiplayer would make Animal Crossing Wii U a blast (at least for me). Heck, the more 5-player games we get the better. I think it’s an absolute joke that they didn’t at least incorporate this into Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 while giving Super Smash Bros. an EIGHT player mode. Even if Nintendo can’t think of neat ways to incorporate the Gamepad, the Wii U has at least two things that the competition doesn’t have: 5 player multiplayer and off-TV play. I’d like to see these features utilised more often.

  • Bob
    January 5, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I actually prefer the console version of the game. The way I see it the portable versions are more personal towns and especially given I have a digital copy and the fact that most of the fun is in being the mayor it’s not really a game I want to have other people involved in. I know you can share the game but it doesn’t really lend itself to that sort of play.

    When I played the Wii version it was a lot more of a social game. We’d have multiple people playing the game and you’d come back and see that they’ve changed some things. Or more often than not one person would be playing the game while someone else talked about characters in the game. I really missed that on New Leaf.

    From memory the main reason we stopped playing the Wii version after 350+ hours is because of the fact that if you’re sharing the game with people you’re also sharing the house and TV and after a while it becomes hard to keep tying up the TV. Something that wouldn’t really be a problem on the Wii U.

  • indevelopment
    January 5, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    the animal crossing players are ready i think. new leaf brought a great deal to the game; combine this with a larger map like ‘let’s go to the city’, HD animals, an amazing soundtrack (because it will be) and hopefully 8 player support with voice and the AC community will mobilise and rise again like new leaf did to the 3ds (and there were a lot of people that came to 3ds via new leaf)

  • January 6, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I definitely agree that the future of the Animal Crossing series is portable. It’s just so assessable and a perfect fit for the game. But I do think a Wii U version has one big thing going for it. Off-screen play. With the tablet, as long as you’re at home it’s basically a bigger/prettier handheld version of Animal Crossing. I wouldn’t sit in front of my tv pulling weeds, but I would watch a TV show while playing Animal Crossing on the gamepad. So I may just pick up the eventually Wii U version. We’ll see.

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