"We just wanted Animal Crossing amiibo," admit Nintendo on the recent pair of Animal Crossing spin-off announcements.
Isabelle would be ashamed, but who doesn’t love Animal Crossing amiibo?
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival are just two of the spin-offs currently announced for the popular franchise, both of which rely heavily on the usage of amiibo.
Amiibo have been all the rage since their introduction in 2014, leading rapid fans to queue up overnight just to get their hands on them. So it’s no surprise that Nintendo is keen to capitalise on their popularity.
In a recent interview with US Gamer, Nintendo's first female developer and now lead on the Animal Crossing series, Aya Kyogoku, revealed that the desire to create Animal Crossing spin-offs came from the possibility of linking them with Amiibo.
Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival were designed around the use of amiibo and as a way to escape the pre-determined limitations of the series.
"One thing that we focused on was, 'What kind of game play experience can we create using amiibo figures and amiibo cards?'" she said.
"We also went in with the approach that we didn't want to be limited in the scope of what we can do based on what Animal Crossing in the past has been. So this is the result of our endeavour and coming up with a new gameplay experience with Amiibos and Animal Crossing."
There were no immediate plans to develop Animal Crossing Amiibo when the line of products was first announced, but the immense popularity of Amiibo motivated the team to intertwine the two properties.
"Initially when the Amiibo were announced, there was nothing really said about Animal Crossing amiibos or any plans for that matter. But as the Animal Crossing team, we were confident that if there was one, it would be really cute... honestly, we just wanted Animal Crossing Amiibo."
“We wanted the company to make Animal Crossing amiibo, so that's why we made a game that works with them.”
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Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer tasks you with decorating homes for specific animals in your village, expanding upon the interior design mechanics seen in previous games.
Amiibo Festival is a Mario Party-like game that requires figures to play, but rumours have surfaced that it may be released as a free download upon release. So the more Amiibo you purchase, the more playable characters you have access to.
To be blunt, designing the entire philosophy of a game behind the intention of selling as many plastic toys as possible just feels wrong.
Animal Crossing has possessed plenty of depth and a passionate fanbase for years now despite its childish and cutesy aesthetic.
We would hate to see the franchise be morphed into a soulless cash cow for shipping amiibo, which this could easily lead to if Nintendo isn’t careful.
We will just have to wait and see what Nintendo’s next move is, and what it has in store for the franchise in the future.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer will be available on September 25 for Nintendo 3DS, and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival is set to launch later this year for the Nintendo Wii U.