Why You’re The Mayor In Animal Crossing: New Leaf

By Ishaan . April 13, 2013 . 12:00pm

For Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the goal right from the start of development was to try a new direction, according to the game’s co-directors, Aya Kyogoku and Isao Moro. In an Iwata Asks interview, the two explain that previous Animal Crossing games started out with the player buying a house, and then spending a large portion of the game paying off their loan to the landlord, Tom Nook.


When development of Animal Crossing: New Leaf began, the two decided that the focus would be on allowing players to customize their whole in-game town, instead of just their residence, as was the norm in previous games. The player now has the ability to install fountains and street lamps, plant trees, build bridges, and other public facilities. The problem was summing this feature up in a single key word or concept that players would understand at a glance, and identify as the game’s key feature.


Ultimately, they settled on the idea of the player being the mayor. This would convey the concept of having control over the town. Additionally, the mayor theme fit neatly in with another aspect of the game that Kyogoku had been wanting to address as well—the in-game clock.


In Animal Crossing, time in the game passes in sync with the real world. While this is one of the series’ many appeals, it’s also a double-edged sword for those that only get to play games at night after coming home from work. Like in the real world, shops and other facilities in Animal Crossing are closed at night time, meaning you miss out on a significant portion of the game’s features if you can’t make time to play during the day.


Players sometimes work around this by manually adjusting the in-game clock, but Kyogoku wanted for the game to adjust itself to the player instead. As a result, New Leaf lets you tailor the game to suit your own needs. Since you’re the mayor, you now have control over the laws and regulations of your town, including being able to decide business hours and allow shops to remain open until late at night, meaning you won’t have to miss out because of your regular life.


Animal Crossing: New Leaf is slated for release on June 9th in North America and June 14th in Europe. You can watch Kyogoku and the rest of the development team discuss the game in this English-subtitled Nintendo Direct.


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  • PoweredByHentai

    Do we get to serve Eviction Notices? Because that loan shark guy in the earlier Animal Crossing games kind of annoyed me.

    • puchinri

      Wasn’t there something similar to that in CF, actually? I don’t remember if it would actually get them kicked out or not, but I remember you could tell them as much in Town Hall.

    • Detrimont

      Lyle’s now respectable and works with Nook at the real-estate shop

      • PoweredByHentai

        I still want to evict Nook. Just because.


        • Detrimont

          to be fair, he’s not actually in the town, he’s in the strip mall, but yeah, he takes more money than necessary, luckily, money is quite easy to get in this entry.
          (go to the island in the late afternoon and catch insects and fish sharks)

  • puchinri

    When I was reading the interview the other day, it made me so excited for the game, and I felt I could really feel how excited the whole team was working on it. They’re a really, fun adorable group.

  • Vitonofrio del Rosso

    insta buy for me i guess.. buy i’d buy it anyway so go figure :)

  • Space_Ghost

    I can’t decide which version to get. Digital or physical? I know which one Olivia Newton-John wants though…

    • puchinri

      It took me a moment to get that, but I had a good chuckle from it when I did.

      • Space_Ghost

        lol thanks… but seriously. Which one are you picking up?

        • Edzo04

          physical obviously. what advantage does a full priced digital game have?

        • Edzo04

          also i thought the ONJ reference was funny

        • puchinri

          Going Olivia Newton John style~. I like having a physical manual and the box/case. (Also hoping for cute/fun cartridge art like for FE:A.)

  • Xmas Lopez

    I can’t wait for June!!

  • JustThisOne

    Oh wow! That’s a really clever way to keep the real-time charm of Animal Crossing, and while keeping dayworkers from being screwed. Good on you, Animal Crossing. I wonder if the next game will have you work as god, and you get to control the rotation of the earth, haha.

    Reminds of how I used to put my tamagotchi to sleep during class/work hours by turning the in-game clock to night. *__*

  • Amanda

    I like that they let you be mayor, but only one person in town can be mayor, from what I heard. Which makes sense, but I will be sharing my game with my husband, so haven’t figured out which of us gets to be mayor yet..

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