The latest news out of Kyoto is another blunder in a string of bad news for Animal Crossing lovers everywhere. Isao Moro, one of the co-directors of Animal Crossing New Leaf, has announced his resignation from Nintendo for unknown reasons. The project leader was instrumental to the Animal Crossing franchise. Moro got his start at Nintendo as an assistant director for The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker but eventually transitioned to working on the Animal Crossing games. He went on to have a leading role in all of the main series games from Wild World on the DS to the 3DS spinoff, Happy Home Designer.
— Nathan (@DarkDetectiveNL) July 29, 2018
The last time a flagship Animal Crossing title came out was an astounding five years ago. For a game with perhaps the most chill and laidback style of any Nintendo series, the franchise has managed to garner a huge following that rivals the fanbases of other hardcore series. The level of epitomic fan demand is unmatched by anything the Nintendo Switch has ever seen, perhaps even more so than the newly announced Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Across social media platforms and message boards, from small blogs to highly influential gaming sites, the call to arms for the village simulation game to make an appearance on Nintendo’s flagship is as ubiquitous as can be. For every Nintendo Direct announced, the memes, dreams, predictions, and prayers come out in full force. And with every passing presentation, the backlash grows increasingly severe in the absence of even a teaser.
After Nintendo’s relatively sparse E3 presentation (more than half of it was dedicated to Super Smash), fans took to the Internet in droves to voice their displeasures. Many would have been satisfied for a Metroid treatment: a logo or a hint, anything at all to allow a peace of mind for the starved fans. Gamers desperately clung on to any news heard in the winds. Rumors from industry members, news of trademarks, and website changes sent the fandom in an endless spiral of uplifting hope and crushing disappointment.
Though 3DS spinoff Happy Home Designer, the Wii U’s Amiibo Party, and mobile game Pocket Camp all came out within this drought, the continued hype of hardcore fans points to a more symptomatic issue. Players didn’t care for a diluted, extracted version of the core games; the spinoffs only succeeded in whetting appetites and reigniting nostalgia. Players called the mobile game soulless, while others detested the micro-transactions that obligated spending real-life currency. As A-list celebrity and self-proclaimed Nintendo fangirl Christine Teigen put it best, the game just wasn’t meant for “Tom Nook loyalists”.
pocket animal crossing might be okay for you AC newbies but for us tom nook loyalists it is merely a hit of the crack that is actual, real, animal crossing. It lacks the heart. The soul. It’s a sandwich with no meat. A car without tires.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) November 26, 2017
According to Reggie Fils-Aime’s E3 interview with IGN, Nintendo is aware of the Animal Crossing movement. He claims that Nintendo will make its announcements in due time. Whether or not this translates to a flagship title finally coming to the Switch remains to be seen. For now, Nintendo fans can only hope that the next news to come out of the pipeline is a more positive one.