hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Animal Crossing is so successful because of its diverse team

4:30 PM on 03.19.2014 // Steven Hansen
  @dtoidsteven

7.3 million sales don't lie

Almost half of the people that worked on Animal Crossing: New Leaf are women. When its director Aya Kyogoku started with Nintendo in 2003, she was the only female game designer there. A decade later and that's no longer the case.

Both she and New Leaf producer (and original Animal Crossing director) Katsuya Eguchi credited the series' success on the diversity of teams making them in a GDC postmortem. When Eguchi was leading the first game, he made a point to compile a team with people "from various backgrounds and with various life experiences."

With more women at Nintendo, Kyogoku had an even more diverse staff. "Diversity in the development team contributed to diversity in the content," they concurred. New Leaf has sold 7.38 million units worldwide -- more than award juggernaut The Last of Us. Maybe they're onto something.

It wasn't just a diversity of staff, but having the mindset and culture to benefit from the diversity. Ryogoku channeled Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma noting that with New Leaf, the team "had to change and innovate" and "looked closely at series fatigue" after the more tepidly received City Folk.

Wild World, which embraced the same starting formula (indentured servitude and predatory loan practices), sold ten times more than the GameCube Animal Crossing. That, "made us too afraid to change the formula," Ryogoku said. "Mistakenly we assumed that we should continue to utilize [the starting flow]."

Revitalizing the franchise post City Folk "wouldn't be as simple as changing something on the surface or adding content." Instead, the team sought after what it felt was the "root" of the series. "One phrase that sums it up: Animal Crossing is a communication tool."

So the team worked on features that encourage communication. The Best Friend system that lets players see if their friends are online and allows for chat between towns and the integrated screenshot sharing, for instance.

And while Animal Crossing as a communication tool seems weird, the warm sincerity around its release was a highlight of last year. Ryogoku says it can "harmonize interpersonal relationships," and that was true for months. Even at E3 the bitterest of us were sharing native fruit. Twitter was full of screenshots and conversation. I downloaded the game excitedly at 9PM the day before release (West Coast best coast).

It was just kind of nice, much like New Leaf.


 Reblog (or) Blog Reply



Steven Hansen, Features Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dtoidsteven Tips
Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more   |   staff directory

Get more destructoid:   We're indie-run, blogging for the love of it, and our site will always be free. Optionally, you can support us and get: (1) Faster pages from our cloud server (3) Wide(r)screen (3) No big ads on Dtoid, Japanator, Tomopop, or Flixist (4) Auto contest entries, and (5) Dibs on betas & downloads. Try it out

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.
advertisement:


destructoid's previous coverage:
Animal Crossing: New Leaf


  Jul 17

Animal Crossing New Leaf opening theme orchestrated

It makes me want to leave work and just catch bugs all day


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!





Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
What is the meaning of life, and do you have any more pizza rolls?
You may remix all content on this site under Creative Commons with Attribution
- Living the dream, Since 2006 -