Amiibo Intro Skit for Is it Time for Animal Crossing Switch Ep. 3
Isabelle: Lottie, I heard you were the last person to talk to our developers, have they said anything about the next game?
Lottie: They just told me to help the new gal get settled in at her job at Nook’s Homes. Why, what’s up?
Isabelle: Oh, you haven’t heard. They haven’t told us if we’re getting a new game yet…
Lottie: Hold up, they haven’t said anything? Do you think it’s something I did?
Isabelle: Of course not! But there must be some reason for the big delay.
Have Spin-offs Delayed Animal Crossing Switch?
What has been happening since New Leaf? We left off last week talking about the wait times for mainline Animal Crossing games. We concluded that we’ve been waiting way longer than normal for a new mainline game. We should have at least gotten an announcement for a new game on the Wii U. However, there were some spin off titles keeping the team busy.
Since the wait, we’ve been seeing a number of spin off games and updates that could have cut into the development time for Animal Crossing Wii U, I mean, Switch. Today, I want to talk about the Animal Crossing spin off games as well as the Welcome amiibo update to determine if these games were part of the delay.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
In November of 2014, Nintendo introduced the world to its delightful new creation, amiibo. A series of figures were set to release in support of Super Smash Bros 4 Wii U. The figures were an instant hit and stores quickly saw their shelves depleted of these toys to life figures.
Each amiibo was very popular and Animal Crossing’s villager was no exception. This amiibo quickly became difficult to find as they disappeared off store shelves and found their way to eBay at a premium price. The popularity of amiibo was undeniable and Nintendo soon planned to capitalize on the product through Animal Crossing.
On April 1st, 2015, Nintendo held a direct where they introduced Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer along with a new more portable form of amiibo, amiibo cards. We got more details about the game at E3 later that year and the game a was released by fall 2015 in all regions.
This game was the first spin off for the Animal Crossing team. That’s right, the main Animal Crossing team was behind Happy Home Designer so this covers what they’ve been up to for the 2 years following New Leaf. Many believed that the Animal Crossing team was focused on Splatoon for the Wii U. While many developers from the Animal Crossing team did move on to work on Splatoon, Happy Home Designer came out just 2 months after Splatoon on Wii U, so it is safe to assume the Animal Crossing team remained intact enough to put out a new game.
Later in the series I’ll cover some in depth info on the development teams, but for now, let’s stay focused.
The team finally got the chance to work with Animal Crossing assets in a different setting. The game focused on the design element of Animal Crossing and had you decorating different facilities and villager homes as an employee of Nook’s Homes. You could call your favorite characters over by scanning in their amiibo card and give them a beautiful place to live with their favorite items.
Eventually, we would get a total of 400 amiibo cards, released over the course of a year. But this was just phase one of the amiibo series. A more substantial form of amiibo was on its way…along with a game that has since become legendary.
Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival
Let’s go back to E3 2015. At this point, the Wii U had been out for 3 years and the last Animal Crossing game was released 2 years ago on the 3DS. Many YouTubers and fans were ready for an HD Animal Crossing game to play on their Wii U and they were all predicting that it would be announced at E3 that year. Little did we know, the Animal Crossing team was actually working on an HHD Animal Crossing, or a Happy Home Designer Animal Crossing to be exact. That’s one too many H’s.
Instead, another studio known as NDCube along with Aya Kyogoku, who co-directed New Leaf, were working on something much different than expected.
Animal Crossing amiibo Festival was an HD party game that featured our favorite Animal Crossing characters. Not only that, 16 different amiibo figures were eventually made to accompany the game. While the idea of a party game featuring Animal Crossing characters seemed promising, the coverage by the Nintendo Treehouse at E3 soon left us underwhelmed by the title.
The game sold poorly and was hit by negative reviews by both critics and fans alike. It was unfortunate to see this as the HD Animal Crossing title on Wii U. Luckily, it wasn’t the game the Animal Crossing team was distracted with.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf Welcome amiibo
At this point, we had gotten two Animal Crossing games. Also, it had become very clear to Nintendo that the Wii U was a commercial failure. But we still held on to hope that we’d get an HD mainline Animal Crossing.
After another year long wait, we got some Animal Crossing news that yet again, nobody was expecting. A new update was coming to Animal Crossing: New Leaf called Welcome amiibo. It was first announced in North America on September 1st, 2016 with more details to come at a later direct. They did mention a new set of amiibo card would accompany the release in December of that year.
On November 2nd, 2016, the update was released worldwide following the Animal Crossing direct. The update added amiibo functionality to the game and a new section in your town where campers would appear. If you scanned in any of the 50 new camper amiibo cards or an amiibo figure, the villager would come and visit your new campsite.
It was a big surprise getting an update to New Leaf. Specifically because it was already a 3 year old game. Why were we getting an update to a game 3 years later when we should be getting a new game? Luckily, this update was implemented by a few people from the original New Leaf team and several other developers from games such as Mario Kart 7 on 3DS. Not too many of the Animal Crossing resources were being used to improve this game.
So why the update? It seems odd to do that instead of develop a new game. Judging by the use of a makeshift development team, I believe the next Animal Crossing was in the works. But, at this point in the Wii U’s life, it wasn’t a game they wanted to release on a failed system.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
Finally, we have Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. This game was originally announced in April of 2016 during Nintendo’s fiscal meeting. The game was originally going to come out within Nintendo’s 2016 fiscal year but was met with many delays and pushed back until it’s eventual worldwide release on November 22nd, 2017.
For a while, we weren’t sure who developed Pocket Camp. Was it the main Animal Crossing team? Luckily, we found that NDCube, who was behind some Mario Party’s and amiibo Festival, were the developers who worked on Pocket Camp.
With that said, it is safe to assume that the biggest project the Animal Crossing team has had since New Leaf was Happy Home Designer. But that was back in 2015. While some members have gone on to work on other games and even some of these spin off titles, there is a good possibility that Nintendo has been working quietly on Animal Crossing Switch for the past 3 years.
So have the developers been working on the game? Tune in next week when we discuss where the Animal Crossing developers are now.
Find More Animal Crossing Content!
Thank you all for watching! Tune in every Friday, for a new episode of Is It Time for Animal Crossing Switch for a look at a different aspect of Animal Crossing and why I think it is time for it to get announced.
If you want more Animal Crossing content, be sure to check out Haken: An Animal Crossing Podcast. My podcast about all things Animal Crossing. New episodes come out every Tuesday!
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