Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Or Tobidase Doubutsu no Mori as it's known in Japan) is out in stores in Japan today, and as part of a two-week coverage piece, Weekly Famitsu gathered 50 questions from fans for the four developers, Director Aya Kyougoku, Director Isao Moro, Sound Director Kazumi Totaka, and Design Leader Kouji Takahashi to answer. Here are some of the questions (and answers).
Q: Why do you have players play the part of the village chief this time?
Kyougoku: Because we expanded the free customization, which is a core part of the Animal Crossing series, to encompass development of the entire village; we wanted players to experience the individuality and fun when roaming about. We thought that village chief would be the ideal role for someone in the position.
Q: What was the hardest part about making the player the village chief?
Kyougoku: Overall, balancing the new features with the preexisting Animal Crossing series features in a natural, organic way.
Q: Do you have any tips for village building?
Moro: I think that doing whatever you want will give players' villages more personal flavor. If I was to suggest anything, it would be that grouping things like public spaces or trees can make walking around difficult, so if you have a balanced layout, it'll probably make things easier down the line.
Q: Why did you add a marketplace?
Kyougoku: In order to retain the most amount of space for village building and personalization, we decided to group most of the facilities into the marketplace. We've left the most frequently used facilities in the village.
Q: How did you decide on new animal races?
Takahashi: For residents, we've added hamsters and deer. We thought that hamsters would be endearing to players. With deer, we thought that the choice of adding antlers or not would broaden the characterization.
Q: How many new animals are there?
Moro: About 100. There are also about 20 animals that we have brought back from previous games.
Q: What did you focus on accomplishing when developing the game?
Totaka: This is just my personal experience, but I focused on having fun making the game. Obviously there were hardships throughout the development process, but I did my best to find worth and satisfaction in those moments and find a way to make the overall experience fun.
Q: Was there anything you were particularly careful about when developing for 3D?
Moro: This is a game that players will spend a lot of time playing at a relaxed pace, so we focused on adding depth of field, rather than having things pop out of the screen.
Q: What event in the game do you particularly recommend for players?
Everyone: All of them!
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is currently available in Japan. A western release is scheduled for some time in the first half of 2013.