The hits just keep on coming thanks to the recent “Gigaleak” of internal Nintendo data. Some of the latest findings include a trove of assets from Animal Crossing’s Japan-exclusive N64 predecessor Animal Forest, including the complete source code, a never-before-seen villager, and weird versions of Nook’s shop.
I’m sure most of you are aware of this early Animal Crossing game at this point, but here’s a quick history lesson to make sure we’re all up to speed. Dōbutsu no Mori, which translates to Animal Forest in English, was released for the Nintendo 64 in 2001 before getting updated for the GameCube less than a year later. That updated version is largely the game those of us in the West know and love as the original Animal Crossing. Check out this excellent episode of Complete In Box below for more info.
In addition to Super Mario 64 and Star Fox, the massive dump of Nintendo assets has also given us a look at some of the cool stuff that didn’t make it into the original Nintendo 64 Animal Forest. This includes alternate versions of Tom Nook’s store—one with strange posters plastered all over the wall, and another after it’s closed for the night that looks different than what the player sees when they wake Nook up after hours—as well as early designs for well-known characters Wisp and Blathers (the latter didn’t show up until 2002’s GameCube update) and even a completely new villager who has yet to appear in any of the games.
Much of this information comes from a game developer known simply as TV, who has been sharing his findings with folks on Twitter over the last few days. The unused villager, he explained, is labeled “CAT13” in the leaked Animal Forest source archive, an elusive feline that never joined the host of other cats already in the game. He called her “Catty” in lieu of any official name existing in the files.
In any case, TV was able to transplant the CAT13 assets onto a character model from Dōbutsu no Mori e+ (or Animal Forest e+, an enhanced version of the GameCube Animal Crossing that was only released in Japan) to get a better look at her. The results were… well, let’s just say Catty probably wouldn’t top any “favorite villager” lists. The dark fur and huge lips are certainly a choice (look up the changes made to Jane in localization for a better idea of why this stray cat might not have wound up in the actual game), but I love her thick eyebrows and overall sullen demeanor.
Among TV’s other findings are a humorous filename for the Gulliver texture—“Dozaemon,” or “drowned body” in English—and a version of adorable bear villager Maple with a unibrow. The source code for Animal Forest also includes the entirety of the Famicom emulator powering the games, like Donkey Kong and Balloon Fight, that you could play in your in-game house. Elsewhere, folks have uncovered strange miscellanea like a screenshot of an Animal Forest demo title screen made for the Nintendo Spaceworld 2000 tradeshow, files labeled “birth control,” and references to the MMC mapper used by Mother, the Famicom role-playing game that preceded Earthbound.
As with the other games in the “Gigaleak,” there is now a massive amount of Animal Forest data to sift through. We’re sure to learn more about what it contains as fans continue to dig through the source code. It’s wild to think that, even in a game so full of characters and furniture, there were still some things left on the cutting-room floor.