“It is important to continue to challenge and change with the times,” says New Horizons director Aya Kyogoku.
Animal Crossing has been an absolute revelation for Nintendo. Not only has it been the recipient of incredibly positive reception from critics and fans alike, the game has also enjoyed massive commercial success, having sold over 22 million units within under four months of launch. Not only is it the most successful Animal Crossing to date, it is also one of Nintendo’s most successful games ever.
But its developers feel that if the series is to remain relevant and even grow as time passes, it will need to keep evolving and changing with the times to ensure that it doesn’t become too comfortable with its formula and hence become stagnant.
During an online talk for Japan’s Computer Entertainment Developers Conference (via VGC), Animal Crossing: New Horizons director Aya Kyogoku remarked that while the game’s success has been “a real pleasure”, it is also “the most difficult point”, in that such growth and success “cannot be sustained without change.”
“Protecting IP is not synonymous with protecting product specifications from manuals. Games are entertainment, so you will definitely get tired of making the same things,” Kyogoku said. “In order for the series to continue to exist as an IP and for many people to enjoy it for a long time, it is important to continue to challenge and change with the times.”
Animal Crossing: New Horizons in itself introduced several major changes to the franchise. Though it stuck to the same larger formula and framework as other games in the series, mechanics such as Nook Miles and the ability to terraform were crucial new gameplay additions. While it’s going to be a while before another Animal Crossing game releases, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of changes it brings to the table.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available on the Nintendo Switch. You can read our review of the game through here.