Now Nintendo could have gone the money route and made a brand new Animal Crossing game. Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for the Nintendo 3DS back in back in 2013, so it’s been three years since its release. And when you consider that this is the forth game in the main series, and the games have been released about every three to four years apart, it wouldn’t have been at all surprising if they had.
Sure we had spinoffs Happy Home Designer and amiibo Festival in 2015 but we’re talking the main game.
So it came as a huge shock earlier in the year when Nintendo announced that they would be releasing a huge update to the four year old game and also adding amiibo support to the game. And the update would be FREE! In a world of paid season passes and endless paid DLC, getting such a huge update for free is amazing. Not only that but the update would be released as a physical game in retail store for a whole new group of kids and adults alike to get into the game.
I’ve played three of the four main Animal Crossing games (I missed City Folk) and I’ve loved them all. Being an open-ended life simulation game there is no endgame to the game other than to build, develop, and interact with your town. There is no overall goal to the game, so it’s one that I play in spurts. I get into it when there is a holiday coming, and then I get distracted and go weeks without setting foot in the village. This new update brings a lot of fresh elements to the game.
You can see more of what the update is all about here.
Part of the reason I feel Nintendo was smart to release this FREE update is two-fold.
First of all Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the second highest selling Animal Crossing to date, with sales of more than 10 million since release. That’s a huge install base and the update and added amiibo support will no doubt draw many more people into the game that haven’t picked it up before.
Speaking of amiibo, Nintendo pushed Animal Crossing amiibo hard over the last year, with both of the spin-off games heavily featuring the figures. Considering the response to amiibo Festival was somewhat lackluster, there is a high saturation of Animal Crossing amiibo in stores. Some have even started to be marked down. This update gives those figures a new life and could even spur sales of the AC amiibo. I know I’m going to pick up a few more that I didn’t get the first time around.
There are 400 amiibo cards, with more on the way, as well as another sixteen amiibo figures. I know I’ll need to add a few more to my collection.
If you haven’t picked up Animal Crossing yet you can pick up the full updated game Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiibo on December 2nd. There will also be a new set of 50 cards available on the same day.