Earlier this week CVG attended a roundtable event in central London dedicated to the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Leaf on 3DS.
Roundtables are usually sedate, straightforward affairs, but this one was a little out of the ordinary, partly thanks to an unexpected live guitar performance from 'KK Slider' himself.
Present at the event were producer Katsuya Eguchi (who joined Nintendo in 1986, worked on the likes of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Star Fox, directed the first Animal Crossing and has produced every other version) and Aya Kyogoku, the game's director.
CVG: Each Animal Crossing tinkers the series but I'm interested to know what you feel is the core of the game?
EGUCHI: There are two. One is the communication between players. You can realise your own personality by collecting the things you like and showing them to other players.
This time you can also become the mayor of the town, so you can shape the entire town to your liking. You can also shape the sort of game you want, so you can make the town active from early morning, or active late in the night.
Also, in the shopping street, you can build a thing called Dream Suite. You can upload data of your town to the server and also visit other people's towns so you can get inspiration from other players.
So you can show your own town or house or see other people's towns and houses, so you can make discoveries and get surprises, and this lets you play and come with new ideas and gives you motivation.
That's what you can do inside the game but even outside it, Nintendo has already started in Japan a service through which you can upload screenshots from the game and upload them to existing social network services like Facebook.
Nintendo plans to implement this service in Europe too, so you can share images you like with others and get communication going with other players.
KYOGOKU: You can build facilities through public works [by investing at the mayor's office], so I've built a café. Although I'm the mayor of the town I can do this as a part-time job and earn some money, so that I can increase the number of things I can do in the game.
The shops in the high street are small when you start the game but as the town grows you can get more shops, and the shops become bigger. Eventually there are shops that open automatically as the town grows, but there are also some shops that you need to open through public works, like the Dream Suite or the nightclub.
To open a nightclub... obviously there's a concern about noise level, so the mayor has to visit all the residents and ask for their consent by collecting all their signatures.
During the day, Dr Shrunk is cleaning the club, but even when he's cleaning the place, if you bring some presents to him he'll perform small sketches and teach you actions, so please visit him during the day too!
At night, the club becomes much more lively and KK Slider comes to town to perform. As with previous titles, on Saturdays there's an acoustic night here and you can get cassettes of music, but on Sundays KK Slider will be a DJ so you can enjoy club songs.
As a fan of folk music, does Miyamoto have an opinion of KK Slider's decision to become a DJ?
EGUCHI: I don't think Miyamoto-san is aware of it!
KYOGOKU: If I get the chance I would like to ask Miyamoto-san to visit my town and maybe let him come to the club so we could dance together.
EGUCHI: So while Miyamoto-san is not aware of KK Slider doing the DJ, he often sees [Kazumi] Totaka, on whom the character is based, carrying his guitar around the office.
[A Nintendo representative brings over a Wii GamePad, where Totaka (in Japan) was waiting on Wii U Chat to talk to us]
TOTAKA: Hello. My name is Totaka and I am joining you in London from NCL in Kyoto. I was the Sound Director for Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Did you know the KK Slider character is based on me? I'd like to play something for you.
[Totaka plays the Animal Crossing theme on his guitar, then plays Totaka's Song]
Totaka's Song is also hidden in Animal Crossing: New Leaf somewhere. I hope you enjoy finding it when you play the game. Thank you for listening to my performance. Goodbye.