Animal Crossing: New Leaf (JP) is a life simulation video game released in 2012/2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. The seventh game in the Animal Crossing series, the game maintains much of the same gameplay from the previous games.

Unlike the previous titles, the character takes on the role of mayor of the town, and with help of the villagers and secretary Isabelle, it will be their job to make the town a better place to live.

The game utilizes StreetPass by using other players’ houses that have been picked up by StreetPass as a model in the new real estate section of the town.

A new feature, Dream Mode, allows players to dream about other players' towns and explore them using a Dream Address or randomly. The game features delivery of exclusive items through SpotPass.


Differences from the previous Animal Crossing games:

  • You are the Mayor.
  • In the first three games, the characters were short and slightly plump while in this game, it appears that all the characters are tall and thin.
  • There are now park benches and lamp posts around the player's town, and the Player can build more.
  • The Town and House of the Player can be greatly customized with Public Works Projects for the Town in general.
  • The ability to change your character's pants, shoes and the addition of long-sleeve shirts.
  • Instead of having everything here at first, you have to unlock Public Works Projects and buildings, such as Kicks' Store.
  • The ability to swim in the ocean by jumping off of a pier, whilst wearing a Wet Suit.
  • Tom Nook is a real estate agent, and helps with house exterior customisation.
  • Kicks runs a shoe store.
  • Tortimer has now retired, and hosts multiplayer minigames that can be played locally, or over Nintendo Network.
  • In the other Animal Crossing games, you did not have any opportunity to choose your town's Layout. But in New Leaf, you can select which format you want, giving greater opportunity for further town personalization.
  • New characters and villagers are included, for example, the secretary, Isabelle, and Soleil, a Snooty villager. 
  • There is a new personality, called Uchi. Uchi villagers are very caring towards the player and are less vain than the Snooty or Peppy villagers, but they are also more blunt and tomboyish and may come across as rude on some occasions. Uchi villagers normally wake up at 11 A.M. and sleep at 3 A.M., and there are 21 of them. Sometimes, other villagers may refer to them by male pronouns. They are exclusively female.
  • You can travel from your town to an island via Kapp'n's boat. This is where certain villages live, and where Kapp'n's family live. 
  • In City Folk, Kapp'n was a bus driver. In Wild World, he was the taxi driver that brought the Player to the Village. But in New Leaf, he's a captain on a boat again who sings songs for you, but he does not take you to your new town.


Animal Crossing: New Leaf was first announced at E3 2010 as the first title in the series for the Nintendo 3DS. It later appeared at the 2011 Nintendo World expo in Tokyo, and again at E3 2011 during a short presentation where a release date was announced for later that year in Japan.

Nintendo later pushed back the release to some time in 2012 before the end of the fiscal year in March, and eventually finalized a Japanese release to fall of that year during a Nintendo Direct broadcast. Its English title was revealed in October 2012, along with a tentative release date in the west for early 2013. In February 2013, New Leaf received its definite release date for the following June in North America, Europe, and Australia.

The game was produced by Katsuya Eguchi and directed by the two-person team of Isao Moro and Aya Kyogoku, who had both worked under the previous director of Animal Crossing: City Folk on the Wii. The idea for the player to become mayor did not manifest until about a year into development, which stemmed from the concept of giving the player much more freedom in designing and shaping the way their town grew.

Giving players the option to pass ordinances and laws that involve shops being open earlier or later in the day was included to accommodate more personal schedules and play styles while still keeping the game synced with the passage of time in real-life. The main theme of the game was composed by Manaka Kataoka (formally known as Manaka Tominaga) while she composed the rest of the soundtrack with Atsuko AsahiKazumi Totaka was the sound director for the game as he was for the rest of the series.

Because the game was being made for a 3D display instead of an exclusively flat one like its predecessors, the design team had to give extra attention to how objects and characters appeared in regard to lighting and shading, and that no obvious flaws could be seen from the different perspective. Design coordinator Koji Takahashi admitted that it was difficult coming up with new animal species to represent townsfolk since they primarily wanted to stick to ones people were familiar with, and had "pretty much used up" the most familiar examples in previous games. Alpacas in particular were chosen due to their recent popularity in the country.

To make New Leaf a more personal experience to players around the world, the development team researched customs and holidays from various countries, including collaborating with Nintendo offices around the world, and included them in versions of the game released in those regions. These include variations to in-game events such as New Year's Eve, such as eating New Year noodles in the Japanese version, drinking sparkling cider in the English North American version, and eating a twelve-grape plate at midnight in the Spanish-language North American or European versions.

New Leaf's English translation began in March 2012 by members of Nintendo of America's "Treehouse" localization group, who collaborated with the company's headquarters in Japan on creating in-game events. The North American and European versions contain an extra feature not included in the Japanese release - the ability to download example home layouts in the Happy Home Showcase from Nintendo over the internet using the SpotPass feature in addition to StreetPass, which requires players to physically pass by one another.

According to localization manager Reiko Ninomiya, this was added due to the difficulty players in those regions experience with meeting others in public who own the game, explaining that "in Japan Streetpass happens really, really frequently. People take trains. It's a different community culture. Here, you’ve got people living in remote parts where they don’t have an opportunity to pass by people who have the game."

Other Translations

Languages/Regions Translates to
South Korea Animal Forest: Pop Out


The game was received very well. Famitsu gave it a 39 (10/10/9/10) out of 40. In the West, it received a 86.93% on GameRankings and a 88 on Metacritic, while the English version received an 8.0/10 from GameSpot, and a 9.6/10 from IGN.

Writing for G4TV, Patrick Klepek felt that the game's use of the Nintendo 3DS's stereoscopic 3D effects gave the game world "real, tangible depth", while IGN editor Craig Harris described them as "subtle, but helpful."

Both Harris and GameSpot editor Tom McShea praised the level of detail in the game's environment and objects, stating that they exceed that of the game's predecessor, Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii console.


The game has sold incredibly well. As of March 31, 2014, the game has sold 7.66 million. 1.36 million have been sold in America alone. In Japan, the game sold so well at launch that a significant amount had to be bought with download cards since the physical copies were sold out. In total, the game has sold 4.1 million in Japan retail alone. As of March 31, 2017, all versions combined have worldwide sales of 10.97 million units, making it the second highest-selling game of the series behind Animal Crossing: Wild World.



  Main article: Animal Crossing: New Leaf/gallery

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