At its heart, Animal Crossing is a game that's all about personal flair, customization, and expressing yourself. And now that even franchises like Pokemon allow players to choose their skin color, some are wondering: why doesn't Animal Crossing allow you to do the same thing?
All player characters in Nintendo's intensely charming life sim start off as white, although the games have typically allowed players to get a tan if they stay out in the sun for long enough:
The tan eventually wears off, but the inclusion of this mechanic makes it clear that the game already has the assets for a variety of skin colors...it just doesn't let you pick them. (Although obviously, I imagine allowing players to choose their skin color would still take work to properly implement). It should be noted that other facial features are dictated by the game itself, depending on what you say at the beginning of the game—although later you get to customize aspects such as hair style. Savvy players might look at a FAQ to ensure that they look how they desire. Nintendo also added the ability to customize small details with New Leaf, such as socks and shoes.
For now, many fans have taken to Twitter and other places around the web to voice their concerns to Nintendo—they're hoping for a patch of sorts. Here's a small selection of Tweets, although you can peruse the @ replies in their entirety here:
ur character's skin tone changes when you wear a mii mask, not just when ur tan. come on
@nintendoamerica u can do this. it's already there
please let people choose their skin color in animal crossing! it's important that everyone is able to play as themselves.
I think it would be a Good Idea for a whole bunch of folks to message
@NintendoAmerica asking for this option as a patch in New Leaf.
@NintendoAmerica having different, non tanning skin tones in New Leaf would make this game even more amazing.
@NintendoAmerica good job on the gender thing but my non-white friends are still forced to play as a white character pls fix that
Update: It should also be noted that New Leaf has something called a "Mii Mask," which players can wear to look like their Miis. Miis allow players to choose skin color, meaning that players could sport a darker skin color in New Leaf if they choose—but only on their face. The rest of the character's body retains your original tan level.
Mii masks can be attained in-game via a beauty salon called "Shampoodle." Shampoodle is unlocked after players meet special requirements, such as already having the Kicks shoestore.
We have contacted Nintendo to see if they have any plans to allow players to change or pick skin color in a less roundabout way, and will update with a follow-up if we hear back.