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Animal Crossing 3DS: Your hopes and dreams [roundtable]
 
Everyone and their mother knows that Animal Crossing: City Folk was a big disappointment. The only real upgrade over Wild World was that each player could have their own house again. This was important enough in my household to make it the Animal Crossing of choice, and it's still played very consistently, but the game also came with several steps backwards, like a very annoying Wii interface and the grass destroying mechanic.

Animal Crossing 3DS represents a big opportunity to make out for what City Folk missed out on. But, for me at least, when you actually sit down and think about ways to improve the series, it's not all that easy. Unlike Smash Bros. or Mario Kart where improvements present themselves fairly obvious, the idiosyncratic nature of Animal Crossing's gameplay makes it much more difficult to brainstorm how to advance the series. Nonetheless, here's two of my ideas to get things rolling:

1. The City as an MMO Hub



When we first heard about City Folk, this was the idea that immediately came to mind. The natural counterpoint to the quaint cities of Animal Crossing is a bustling city, where people across the landscape meet together to barter and trade, make friends, and enjoy the nightlife. City Folks' City failed to come close to this image.

Unfortunately due to Nintendo's paranoia, this may be a pipedream, but imagine heading to the city and being able to meet people from all over the world to trade rare items, get the word on turnip prices, and maybe invite back to hang out in your village and show off your digs.

Then again, hanging out with someone in their village was never that fun, which brings me to my second point

2. More arcade elements



This might seem like heresy to Animal Crossing purists, but I'll never forget the first time I was walking through my town in Animal Crossing and heard the rattle of a scorpion's tale. I quickly spotted it, pulled out my net and went to grab it when it came down upon and I fell to the ground in a heap. I suddenly realized that if I wanted to capture this creature I was going to have to act fast or face the consequences. It quickly made my next encounter the most exhilirating of my Animal Crossing career.

I'm not asking to turn Animal Crossing into Zelda with monsters around every corner and puzzles to solve, but why not have an area where you and a friend can go for more challenging catches, like an advanced fishing or bug catching area? Or even just some good old fashioned games to play with your friends, like tetherball or a water balloon fight? All of this could be done in the Animal Crossing spirit.

Anyway, thats two things off the top of my head. What do you guys want to see?

There better be voice chat on Animal Crossing 3DS

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Posted: 05/09/11, 17:18:39  - Edited by 
 on: 05/09/11, 17:20:18
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I really think that there was something revolutionary planned for Animal Crossing Wii that just didn't pan out, so they quickly ported the DS version. Do you guys remember the rumors, about it being integrated into the system, and such?
Posted: 05/09/11, 21:51:53  - Edited by 
 on: 05/09/11, 21:52:17
Yeah, didn't they specifically try to hype up WiiConnect24 with an examples of what it would do for Animal Crossing?

They seriously ported a Nintendo DS game from one of their big-selling franchises to the Wii... which was a modified version of the N64 original. And it sold. People bought the fucking thing, encouraging them to continue rehashing.
Posted: 05/09/11, 21:56:11
@Hinph

I'd say the most annoying part was they packed in the Wii Speak which gave me an extra incentive to buy the game and then next to no games ended up using it thereout.

But I don't have the rage towards City Folk that you seem to. In my case, it delivered on the idea of the whole family sharing a town much more thna Wild World did, for whatever reason, and I definitely go my money's worth out of buying it.
Posted: 05/09/11, 22:12:34
But the family in a town thing was already done well in the GCN version, right? I think the DS version was supposed to be like your own individual town. Plus, it allowed them sell more copies (like DQIX).

@Hinph
Yeah, WiiConnect24 was mentioned quite a bit. Like, people could visit your towns, even while you weren't playing?

That would be pretty fucking sweet, if implemented well. It would be like having an enormous Animal Crossing UNIVERSE. If they put the right kind of economic and special item hooks and incentives in, forget about it.

Anyway, I think City Folk was a sales disappointment, overall. They've probably learned a bit of a lesson. Releasing a very similar 'sequel' wasn't very Nintendo in the first place, although they have been doing it with certain franchises, like Nintendogs.


I want the NES games back. (Game Boy would be fine, too. Even the stuff people wouldn't pay for, like F1 Race and Wave Race and Mole Mania.)
Posted: 05/09/11, 22:12:49  - Edited by 
 on: 05/09/11, 22:14:01
I'd like interactive decorations. It's disappointing when you have an arcade machine... that doesn't do anything. Or Darts. I never played the GCN one with all the NES games, but it'd be kind of neat if they could get the arcade machines interacting with the Warioware DIY database... you wouldn't run out of games to play, even though the majority of them might be pretty silly.

Yeah, I can't believe the City was such a tiny part of a game named City Folk.

A new 'look' would probably be welcome by now, like a change in tree types or architecture. Reskinning it might bring back some interest from the people who got tired of it, similar to how SimCity & Populous have different looks, even though the gameplay is the same.
Posted: 05/10/11, 08:53:12
Oh jeeze. Usually this topic results in a wall-of-text rant from me, a bitter Animal Crossing fanboy. Rather than type it all again, I'll just give bullet points.

1) Grass. The decaying grass is arguably the worst addition to the franchise. Worst implementation possible. Either lose it, or give us grass seeds and the ability to water grass.

2) Mini-games. Get the WarioWare team on this or something. How cool would it be to click on the pool table or pinball machine and actually be able to interact with them, rather than just hear a sound effect?

3) Bring back the ball. I'm not sure why they ever removed it... it was fun to kick around with neighbors. Think of how fun it would be with friends online. Put some trees on either side of the town, and boom, you've got a soccer game going! Or they could do one better- activate a soccer mini game where actual goals appear in the town and keep score and time for you. This idea leads me to my final point;

4) Activities for online play. Yeah, we did a good job of coming up with our own games, but Tic-Tac-Toe, hide-and-seek, and fishing contests on the honor system all get old after a while. "Dig up all the dirt in the town" shouldn't be something we have to resort to for fun. Expand on the "Timer" concept- bug catching and fishing contests... except actually show the score at the end. Add the soccer game as mentioned above. Make the game of pool I mentioned be 2-player. Things like that could go a long way. They're simple, but they'd give us A LOT to do.
Posted: 05/10/11, 18:47:46  - Edited by 
 on: 05/10/11, 18:49:32
@-JKR- I think you're right, but not much was putting up big numbers on GC at all. I know VGchartz isn't totally accurate, but according to its numbers AC was the 6th best seller on GC, 7th best seller on DS, and the 21st best seller on Wii. I dunno, either way I think Animal Crossing is pretty suited for the Wii audience, but it was just a weak ass version on Wii and it didn't sell nearly as much as it could have.
Posted: 05/10/11, 19:09:36
@Zero

I don't think Nintendo gives two flying rats' behinds as to if Animal Crossing sold 21st best on the Wii vs. 6th best on the GCN. They make no more money by it selling 6th best than 21st. They made MUCH more money with it selling 21st best, in fact, because so much was so directly ported.
Posted: 05/10/11, 22:39:02
-JKR- said:
@ZeroThey made MUCH more money with it selling 21st best, in fact, because so much was so directly ported.
Animal Forest on N64 (also known as Animal Crossing on GameCube) says hey.
Posted: 05/10/11, 22:44:16
Honestly? I have zero hopes for this franchise, plenty of dreams. Nintendo is too preoccupied (with making money) to care enough to freshen up the series. *twocents*
Posted: 05/11/11, 01:54:52  - Edited by 
 on: 05/11/11, 01:55:38
ludist210 said:
-JKR- said:
@ZeroThey made MUCH more money with it selling 21st best, in fact, because so much was so directly ported.
Animal Forest on N64 (also known as Animal Crossing on GameCube) says hey.

Except they didn't release Animal Forest in the US. It started on Gamecube.
Posted: 05/11/11, 06:28:22
@-JKR- Well... I wonder. I'm not saying you're wrong per se, I've always wondered though like... quick rehash and sell X copies, or put more effort into it and sell maybe 1.5X to 2X copies or more... which is better financially? The rehash seems better in theory because it is low investment and high rewards, but then, it's not like you can put out an Animal Crossing every year (or if you can, Nintendo won't.) So maybe it is worth spending a bit more time and effort on one of their bigger franchises to make some super big sales?

Plus I think when you meet/exceed fan expectations, you can move forward expecting good sales, whereas when you start consistently missing expectations, sales start to hit the diminishing returns area. Which, really, is why Nintendo continues to sell franchises that have been around since the 8/16-bit eras when most franchises from other developers from back then (outside of maybe Sonic and Mega Man) can't come close to putting up the numbers they used to... because Nintendo kept the quality up on their franchises, whereas others really suffered in quality over the years. People know to expect quality from Nintendo, so they keep coming back. And as much as it kind of pains me to admit this, by keeping the quality and sales of their staple IPs up over the years, Nintendo saves money by not having to continually develop new IPs.

Yeah they made good money with a game that didn't require much investment, but how many more millions could they have sold if they made a killer Animal Crossing? I really think this franchise was primed to be one of the biggest on the Wii, but the game was just... not up to par.
Posted: 05/11/11, 08:34:53  - Edited by 
 on: 05/11/11, 08:36:21
I had so many ideas back from the Animal Crossing board on IGN but it would take too long to type out.

What they need to do with the sequel is make it less punishing for the player when they don't play. The flowers wilting/having to water them is a total joke. I don't like the idea of investing so much time into a garden only to have it be such a chore to manage. Either give us an easier way to water them or get rid of the idea altogether. One suggestion I had was to be able to purchase greenhouses or water hoses so that specific areas would be automatically watered every day. Flowers can still be planted outside of that region but you'll have to water them yourself of course. I've never played City Folk but the grass sounded like such a pain for the same reasons.

Another idea I'd like to see is when moving to a new area, you're essentially the mayor of the place (I think they hinted at this already?). You start from scratch, a house maybe and then more animals move in, adding in more buildings, shopping options, etc. You'd also be the one funding all of this of course so money would have more importance in this game. The more money you have, the larger your town grows, almost like a Sim City type of game but with less management and making it more player friendly. Nook's shop already had the ability to grow and offer more options so I think having an entire town based around this concept would be neat and more involving.

I know that classic games probably won't ever make a return, what with the VC and all, but I'd like to still see it implemented by having the system detect your online purchases and giving you an in-game virtual item to display in your home. I don't know if this would be possible but if you have a visitor over and they share some of your purchased games as well, you could play online together for games that allow it... or if Nintendo allows it at all. At the very least, they should be able to access your games anyway if they want to, perhaps even having the bottom screen be open to display any activity going on in Animal Crossing (leave the chat option open) while the top screen has the VC game.

It's already been discussed but I really want the next game to have more of a MMO feel by giving us a REAL city and not just one to visit to see new NPCs. Players should be able to interact, sell items to each other, maybe even open up their own shops to display everything they have for sale. It's a small feature they had in the first game by giving the player the ability to display items in their Gyroid outside their house, set a price, then have visitors buy the item. Why they got rid of that in Wild World, I will never understand, but it needs to return in some fashion to facilitate trading, and I think this would be perfect.

Also giving the player to purchase new homes in this city where you can share a living space with other players would be great. Similar to the island on the first game, items could be rearranged by multiple people living in the same space. Some form of player interaction/communication would need to take place to coordinate furniture placement and maybe even enter a more player involved Feng Shui type contest. I think it would be fun to have weekly contests to judge best room layouts within a city community.

I'll leave it at that for now. I have a ton of more ideas but it's kind of a shame that it's a franchise that could be so much more but Nintendo chooses to take the simple approach by barely improving anything from one game to the next, if you can call it improvements.
Posted: 05/11/11, 15:43:46
Zero said:


Yeah they made good money with a game that didn't require much investment, but how many more millions could they have sold if they made a killer Animal Crossing? I really think this franchise was primed to be one of the biggest on the Wii, but the game was just... not up to par.

Mario Party also had the potential to do even better than it did, yet here we are. Wario Ware could have been incredible had they not phoned-it-in as much as they did on Wii too. Wii Music could have been bigger than Wii Sports! Even OoT 3D clearly isn't using the 3DS's absolute power and potential.

The truth of the matter is there will always be certain games that don't get the type of attention that new Zelda and main Mario gets. That's just a fact of the gaming world. In my business I have X amount of resources to devote to something. I'm currently finishing up a 10 minute long cartoon for Friday. I also have a new character's page to design for the site. Now, the character's page could be outstanding and a huge draw for a certain amount of people. But as I said, I only have so many resources, so they are going to the big cartoon (Zelda) while the character's page (Animal Crossing) that I KNOW people will like even if not brilliant has to take a backseat.

Sometimes we look at the oodles of money Nintendo, or Disney, or whatever large company has and think "They could do so much more!" but the truth is they too have X amount of resources. And like you said, we don't know how much more effort would be needed to get AC from average to outstanding. If it's anything like Zelda, it's YEARS extra of work!

I'm certainly not defending their decision, I want an amazing AC with bells and whistles too, but we often forget their perspective while we're longing for something better on our end. I know I personally wish I had more resources in order to do everything even better than I am now! That's one reason why I release things that maybe aren't all-they-could-be so that hopefully some day down the road I can do better than before.
Posted: 05/11/11, 15:56:30
@mr_chun
All great ideas. You'd think Nintendo could come up with something similar or just as good, we'll have to wait and see.
Posted: 05/11/11, 15:58:43
-JKR- said:
Except they didn't release Animal Forest in the US. It started on Gamecube.
Animal Crossing was a nearly direct port of the N64 game (Animal Forest).
Posted: 05/11/11, 16:05:20
@anon_mastermind

Thanks. It's all just wishful thinking, course. Nintendo is totally capable of coming up with and implementing these ideas, but they're either A) content with re-hashing the same ideas and selling it at full price for mega-profits and no progression or B) seriously stubborn, sticking to the gameplay formula that they came up with and not implementing ideas such as this because it will distract from their idea of the core experience. Or a little bit of both.
Posted: 05/11/11, 16:09:55  - Edited by 
 on: 05/11/11, 16:11:04
As much as I understand the fears that this will be another underwhelming sequel (I don't want to call it lazy, because it really does take a shitload of work just to make the animals say new things), I don't really understand the people who think it's obvious from the few screenshots that it's lazy. I mean, even if it incorporates every idea in this thread, it's still going to look like Animal Crossing.
Posted: 05/11/11, 16:19:35
ludist210 said:
-JKR- said:
Except they didn't release Animal Forest in the US. It started on Gamecube.
Animal Crossing was a nearly direct port of the N64 game (Animal Forest).

It was a direct port. In that they didn't release Animal Forest on the N64 worldwide. It essentially took the PLACE of Animal Forest worldwide. It's not like they just released a cash-in sequel to it, Animal Forest (as Animal Crossing) WAS the first game in the series.
Posted: 05/11/11, 16:27:46
ludist210 said:
kriswright said:
Wild World had one of the greatest soundtracks I've ever heard in a video game.
Agree to disagree. After loving the original's soundtrack, I thought it wasn't nearly as good. I didn't mind it as much in Wild World, but hearing it again in City Folk made it worse.

Fair enough. I'm willing to agree to disagree. I loved the music in both, to be honest, but I'm particularly a fan of the cozy music in Wild World. Then again, I never picked up City Folk so I can understand the disappointment if the music felt repetitive there. That general lack of ambition is the main reason I didn't play City Folk.
Posted: 05/11/11, 17:50:19
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