Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Deep Dive

After extensively covering the previous three titles, it's finally time to cover the final title in the series, and the latest main series Animal Crossing title - Animal Crossing: New Leaf. New Leaf had a three year gap between it's announcement and release, so there's a lot to get into!

The game was first showcased at E3 in 2010 where a handful of screenshots were released. Most drastic, the trees appear to use different models than they do in the final version, and most flower species have altered models. It also gave our first look at the dialogue boxes, which underwent several changes during the development cycle. The models for the houses and Public Work's Projects also seem a little more cartoon-esque than they do in the final, and PWP's also have a small pavement patch around them. The Bench and Lamp Post are also positioned very close to one another, suggesting it was possible to have certain PWP's closer to each other at one point, with less restrictions. All villager houses are the same as they were in previous titles, meaning they hadn't been redesigned yet. The final build of the game also contains one of these early screenshots.

In September 30th, 2010, at a Nintendo Conference in Japan we were given a few short seconds of gameplay, and the game was known simply as "Animal Crossing 3DS". Whilst it doesn't show much in the line of new information, it was nice to see some of the game in video form, and further confirmation that it was coming.

From there, the game went completely quiet until E3 2011 where we saw our first minute and a half gameplay trailer. The game was still known as Animal Crossing 3DS. This short gameplay trailer gave us a better look at what we'd seen in the previous trailer, plus a little more.

As we've already mentioned the trees, we'll skip those and instead point out the flowers, specifically the roses. Though it appears most of the flowers underwent a graphical change, it seems the rose flowers were changed the most in the final release. The text boxes are once again different form what we last saw, though it seems they went with a blend between the two for the final version, the dock has a slightly altered design, and the pavement surrounding the bases of PWP's have been removed. The villager houses still mimic the previous games designs and it seems likely this is still an early build of the game.

During this time we also received a very special piece of concept art, and whilst at first glance a basic map may seem boring, but there's actually a lot of scrapped content we can gather from analysing it.

Looking at the map, it seems there were supposed to be a few more islands; a much smaller one off to the left, as well as a house on the water near the dock. The dock at the town also had a building, and the island itself over went a massive overhaul, as the one in the concept art seems to mimic the GameCube version, as well as being more plaza-like, similar to the city in City Folk. Taking more inspiration from the GameCube title, it seems the main method of transport was originally meant to be a train rather than a tram. The cave on the far right of the map is very peculiar. It could have simply been for aesthetic reasons, or it could have harnessed another new activity, similar to how diving was added, where players could mine for ores instead of smashing rocks around the town.

Of course there are many more things to take note of on the map, but one of the rather interesting things is that there's a bonfire - and also what appears to be a log - on the beach. In the final version of the game, placing Public Works Projects on the beach is impossible, as Isabelle will not let you go down there. However, through several glitches, you can actually glitch Isabelle onto the beach, where she'll say you can't build anything here as it's too close to the cliff or water. It's still impossible to build anything on the beach, however this does seem to indicate that at one point it was indeed planned to be able to build projects on the beach.

There's a few more pieces of concept art, but they mainly shows off how early designs for villagers and furniture items.

After a long wait the game finally released in November 2012 in Japan, and then the following June for the rest of the world. With most games, once the game released that usually marks the end of any BETA elements, but in November of 2015 New Leaf gained the Welcome amiibo update, which has many more cut elements hidden in its contents, the most interesting being a bunch of unused item names. Many of these are simply clothing and furniture items, such as matoryosikas and dharmas, but there are a few that stick out, such as a frying pan that could be used as a tool (possibly as a gag item similar to the hammer), as well as a smartphone item. What these items could have been used for is impossible to say, but since Pocket Camp was originally slated to connect with Animal Crossing on dedicated gaming systems, it is very possible the Welcome amiibo update was to release alongside Pocket Camp, before the mobile app got delayed. There's also a bunch of OK Motors clothing and items in the games text, including the cap and top which got used in Pocket Camp, and two unused furniture items listed as "garland" and "sign". 

The OK Motors camper van was also slated to make an appearance, and would appear randomly as a daily camper, inhabited by Giovanni. His model exists in the game, however it just turns out to be a model of Isabelle. Melodies for Beppe and Carlo had also been prepared, and it seems this would be where you would be able to order the aforementioned OK Motors items, before Pocket Camp was delayed. A texture for the camper van was found in the files of Pocket Camp.

And finally that wraps up our Deep Dive series of all the mainline Animal Crossing games. If there's anything that we've missed in any of these posts, please feel free to let us know in the comments. If you'd like to check out our Deep Dive on the original title, please click here, and to check out our Deep Dive on Wild World and City Folk, click here. Here's to the development cycle of the Switch title. Until next time, cya!

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