I'm impressed by how much content you managed to include in the game.
Well, I really think everyone gave this game their all.
What was it that spurred everyone on, and got them across the finish line?
I think that we all had an idea of what the finished product would look like. We knew that the thing we had been responsible for working on was going to appear in the world of Animal Crossing and we wanted to see what people would make of it.
Ah, I see. So each member of the team had a clear understanding of the point of what they were doing.
Yes, I think so. And with this title, as we mass-produced items for houses, we would always be considering what kind of home each character would live in. I think that this process helped a lot of ideas mesh.
So whereas you had come up with different elements in isolation in previous titles, this time you said: 'Well, this animal lives in this kind of house, so we need this kind of item.' For that reason, you felt like you were realizing the world more fully than ever before.
I think that's right. I think that this sense of different elements combining really comes across in the game.
Another feature of the development process this time round was that there were quite a lot of newcomers working alongside staff who had experience working on the series.
There were members of the team who didn't only lack development experience, but who hadn't even played Animal Crossing before. So the first thing we had them do was to play previous games in the series. They really enjoyed that, and were able to experience things from the player's perspective, which allowed them to see how important it is to come up with a lot of content for this game.
So none of them ever said: "What's the point of making all this stuff?"
No, I think that everyone shared an understanding of how important it was to have a large amount of content in the game.
By the way, it may just be me, but I get the impression that the Animal Crossing team gets along with each other really well.
Yes, I suppose we do! (laughs)
People outside the team do tend to say that about us every time we work on a title.
So you think it's just an outside impression?
No, no! We really do get along well with each other! (laughs)
It's actually quite rare to have a game that generates so little conflict.
I think you're right.
I think that the atmosphere of the game might end up transferring itself to the team. For example, you enjoy the cycle of the year with this game, with events like Christmas and Tanabata. So when it was time for Tanabata, new members of the team actually took it upon themselves to go out and buy bamboo grass and paper decorations to put up around the development team's room.
So they chose to do that themselves?
That's right. Then at Christmas, they made a cake shaped like a house in Animal Crossing.
It's like a real life Animal Crossing! (laughs)
When things like that happen, I don't know whether it's the atmosphere of the game rubbing off on the development team, or the atmosphere amongst the team being transferred to the game...
Well, I suppose it's a bit of both.
Yes, I think so.
I see. Well, to conclude the interview, I'd like each of you to say a few words to the readers.
You can do anything in this game, and we have made sure that whatever you do always feels rewarding. I look forward to players getting to experience that. For example, on the visual side, the ground and the leaves will gradually change color. You will see those kinds of changes occurring throughout the year. So what I really want to say is that this is a game you can enjoy playing for a long time.
So you want people to experience all the changes that occur inside the town.
Yes. Well, up until Setsubun at the very least...
There's not long to go till then! (laughs)
Right, there's only three months to go, Takahashi-san! (laughs)
Well, I want everyone to experience eating those sushi rolls!
I want this game to give players all sorts of things they can discuss together. I mean, everyone knows that if you crossbreed roses, you can grow blue ones, right? Now, this game doesn't touch on that, but if you do discover something interesting like that in the game, you can tell other players. They'll then think: 'No way! You can do that? I want to give it a go!'
In other words, it's fun to play alone, but it's even more fun when you're hearing about things in the game from other players.
That's right. And this time you can visit towns and homes that people you don't know have created, so I would love players to make new discoveries and make use of these ideas in their own towns.
For me, this Animal Crossing game isn't simply about enjoying everyday life. The game becomes a stage for creating a town and a world where everything is just as you want it.
You've made sure there all sorts of ideas, items and events in there.
Yes. We've come up with a lot of new places like the HH Showcase and the Dream Suite where players can interact easily and show things to each other. What I most want is for everyone to enjoy playing the game and use the towns they have created as stages where all sorts of interaction can take place.
Ah, there's something I forgot to mention...
Please, go ahead.
As this title is for Nintendo 3DS, the graphics have improved a lot. For example, when you look at the animals, their coats will look soft and fluffy. I want players to look out for details like that.
The fossils in the Museum are also really worth seeing.
Yes. I really hope players will view those in 3D.
I'd like to conclude this interview with a few words of my own. Animal Crossing is a game that I hope people will play throughout the whole year. But we want people to play other games too. So something I would recommend is the digital download version. I think a title like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which you can play throughout the year, is ideally suited to this format. That makes me sound a little like a salesman, doesn't it? (laughs)
But you're right. If this game is stuck in your Nintendo 3DS system all the time, you won't play anything else!
I look forward to seeing many people enjoying the new Animal Crossing game. Thank you for all your hard work.