Animal Crossing: New Leaf
|Release date(s)|| November 8, 2012|
February 7, 2013
June 9, 2013
June 14, 2013
June 15, 2013
Multiplayer (1-4 player local wireless/online)
|Media||Nintendo 3DS Game Card|
Nintendo eShop digital download
|File size||6,002 Blocks (digital download only)|
An open-ended game, New Leaf follows a player-controlled human living in a town populated with animals and performing various tasks, such as interacting with characters and collecting items. Like all games in the Animal Crossing series, the game is synced to the system clock, which affects the gameplay based on the current time and day. New to New Leaf is the player taking on the role of mayor of the town, having more control over it than in previous games.
- 1 Development and unveiling
- 2 Gameplay
- 3 Release
- 4 Update history
- 5 Reception
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Trivia
- 8 Names in other languages
- 9 External links
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
Development and unveiling
Animal Crossing: New Leaf was unveiled at E3 2010 with a gameplay trailer. Shortly after, there was news that the player could be the mayor of the town, with the goal being to make the town a better place to live. A non-playable demo was also available on the show floor at Nintendo's booth as an example of the 3DS's 3D effects.
At E3 2011, a gameplay trailer was shown that showed off some of the game's new features.
The game's final English title was announced on April 21, 2012. Later in 2012, on October 5, a Japanese Nintendo Direct showcased more of the game's new features.
Like all Animal Crossing games, New Leaf is an open-ended game where the player takes the role of a human moving into a town of animals. Tasks the player can partake in include socializing with villagers, collecting items, catching fish or bugs, and paying off their home loan. The game takes place in real-time, meaning the in-game time of day and year matches that of the Nintendo 3DS. The time of day and year affects aspects of gameplay such as whether or not shops are open or villagers are awake, seasonal events, and the availability of certain fish, bugs, and items. Up to four players can live in a town, with each having their own house.
The player moves to town by train and is greeted by Rover, whose questions determine the player's appearance. When the first player arrives in town, they are greeted by Isabelle and three villagers, who believe them to be the new mayor of the town; all subsequent players are greeted as standard residents. Isabelle, the mayor's secretary, takes the player to town hall, where she gives the player a Town Pass Card and tells them to go to Tom Nook at Nook's Homes to buy a house. After the player chooses a location for their house, Isabelle tells the player they need to increase their approval rating as mayor, which is done by performing various tasks. When the player's approval rating reaches 100%, the ability to build public works projects and enact a ordinance is unlocked.
As mayor, the player can build public works projects, which are structures such as bridges, benches, and lights, that can be placed around town. The mayor can also enact a ordinance, which changes an aspect of the town, such as the opening hours of stores or the price of items. Only the first player to move to the town is mayor; all subsequent players are standard residents and cannot perform the duties of mayor.
New locations in New Leaf include Main Street, Timmy and Tommy's store, Nook's Homes, Kicks, Club LOL, the Garden Shop, Photo Booth, Dream Suite, Happy Home Showcase, Tortimer Island, and Re-Tail. Several locations from previous games, such as the museum and the Able Sisters, return as well.
- Main Street is a hub located north of the town that contains various shops and buildings.
- Timmy and Tommy's store is a general store that replaces Tom Nook's store from previous games. It has five incarnations: Nookling Junction, T&T Mart, Super T&T, T.I.Y., and T&T Emporium.
- The Able Sisters is a clothing store. New to New Leaf is a second room operated by Labelle, as well as a machine that allows the player to scan in design QR codes.
- Shampoodle is a salon located above the Able Sisters that allows the player to customize their hairstyle and eye color.
- The museum, operated by Blathers, allows the player to donate bugs, fish, sea creatures, and works of art. New to New Leaf is a second floor operated by Celeste, where the player can purchase museum-themed items and up to four display rooms.
- The Garden Shop is a store operated by Leif that sells gardening-related items, such as saplings and flower bags.
- The Dream Suite is a building operated by Luna that allows the player to share a dream of their town, as well as visit other players' dream towns.
- The Photo Booth allows the player to take their Town Pass Card photo.
- Town Hall is the building where Isabelle resides. The player can speak to her to access various options, such as the ability to change the town tune or flag. Additionally, the mayor can sit at the desk in the back to access options for public works projects and ordinances.
- The plaza is where events are held. During an event, a visitor or Isabelle appears in the plaza.
- The Roost is a café operated by Brewster that the player can build as a public works project. The player can now work part-time at The Roost.
- Re-Tail is a recycling shop operated by Reese and Cyrus where the player can sell or customize items.
- The campsite is a public works project that holds a tent or igloo containing a non-resident villager. The villager can play games with the player, and they can be invited to move to the town.
- The Reset Surveillance Center is a public works project that allows Mr. Resetti to appear when the player turns off the game without saving. Additionally, the player can enter the center at night after some rainy days.
- The Police Station is a public works project building operated by either Booker or Copper that holds the lost and found.
- Tortimer Island is a tropical island that the player can sail to via Kapp'n's motorboat, which appears at a dock on the southern beach of the town. On the island, which always has the climate of summer, the player can catch fish, bugs, and sea creatures, and harvest tropical fruit. Additionally, the player can go on minigame-like tours where they can win Medals, the currency of the island.
There are a total of 333 villagers in New Leaf, which is 123 more than Animal Crossing: City Folk. 100 new villagers have been added, 24 have returned after being absent from Wild World and City Folk, and one—Champ—has been removed. Additionally, two new personality types—big sister and smug—and two new villager species—hamster and deer—have been added.
New Leaf introduces several new items, such as sea creatures that can be donated to the museum, statues that can be donated to the museum as art, wall-mounted furniture, bottoms, socks, and shoes. Additionally, the appearance of furniture can now be customized at Re-Tail.
New Leaf introduces many other new features for the Animal Crossing series, some of the most notable being:
- Each personality now has its own pitch of Animalese; in previous games, the variants were limited to male, female, and cranky male.
- The player can now pick the town layout while on the train when the game starts, rather than being assigned a random map.
- House exteriors can now be customized to reflect various styles.
- Flowers now drip with water once a watering can has been used on them, allowing the player to know whether they've watered it or not. After this, the flowers that have been watered start to shine.
- The player can communicate with another player even if they are in a different town.
- Villagers are now more active in the town environment, being capable of fishing, shaking trees, entering buildings, and more.
- The player can now choose where they want their house.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released on November 8, 2012 in Japan and on February 7, 2013 in South Korea. It was released internationally in June 2013, releasing in North America on June 9, in Europe on June 14, and in Australia on June 15.
Bundles and special edition console
An Animal Crossing-themed Nintendo 3DS XL that contained the game pre-installed was released in North America, Europe, and Japan in 2013.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf was the first game in the Animal Crossing series to receive updates via the Nintendo eShop. These updates, however, were primarily focused on fixing bugs in the game, with the exception of Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo, which added new features and items to the game.
November 23, 2016
December 1, 2016
/ December 8, 2016
// November 2, 2016
/ March 3, 2013
/ June 2013
November 8, 2012
February 7, 2013
Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo
In July 2016, an update for New Leaf including amiibo support was announced. On November 2, the update was fully revealed as the Welcome amiibo update in a 16-minute Animal Crossing Direct, and it released the same day.
The Welcome amiibo update several new features. One feature is the Campground, where the player can purchase items from Harvey with MEOW Coupons, a new secondary currency, and visit the RVs of villagers and special characters. Additionally, Wisp returns, now allowing the player to scan amiibo card or figures; the player can choose to either bring the respective character to the Campground in their RV if they are compatible, or if they are a villager, have them move into town. The update increases the villager count from 339 to 399, with 14 new villagers and 46 returning after being absent from Wild World, City Folk, and the base version of New Leaf.
New Leaf received generally positive reviews and ratings upon release. Its visuals were a key point for praise, with the 3D features well-commended. The more in-depth gameplay and details offered from previous Animal Crossing games were also viewed positively, along with the presence of enough new content to keep the game exciting.
- Famitsu: 39/40
- GameSpot: 8/10
- IGN: 9.6/10
- Metacritic (an average of 70 reviews): 88% 
In Japan, the game sold over 600,000 copies in its first week, and went on to become the top-selling Nintendo 3DS game in the country at over 2 million units. Worldwide, New Leaf has sold over 12.82 million units as of September 30, 2020.
- In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, one of Donkey Kong's idle animations is pulling out a blue 3DS XL. Sound effects from Animal Crossing: New Leaf, one of the four games, are heard.
- Unlike Animal Crossing: City Folk, New Leaf does not have separate American and European localizations for French and Spanish, instead having the European localizations for both regions. As a result, characters are referred to by their European names for a language instead of their American names used in City Folk, which were the same as in English for both languages. This name change affected the franchise's marketing for Quebec and Latin America, as well as other titles that did receive separate American and European localizations, such as the spin-off titles and Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Names in other languages
- Nintendo World Report - Animal Crossing: New Leaf
- Official Nintendo Magazine - E3 2010: Animal Crossing 3DS announced
- Damien McFerran (July 20, 2016). "Autumn Animal Crossing: New Leaf Update To Bring amiibo Figure And Card Support". Nintendo Life.
- Nintendo (November 2, 2016). "Animal Crossing Direct 11.2.2016". YouTube.
- Polygon - Japan review check: Animal Crossing, Dynasty Warriors, Silent Hill
- GameSpot - Animal Crossing: New Leaf Review
- IGN - New Leaf Review
- Animal Crossing: New Leaf on Metacritic
- GameSpot - Big in Japan November 5-11: Animal Crossing: New Leaf
- "IR Information : Financial Data - Top Selling Title Sales Units - Nintendo 3DS Software". Nintendo.