In Animal Crossing
In Animal Crossing, each town starts with six villagers, one of each personality type. There is a maximum of 15 villagers in a town.
After the player moves to town, new villagers starts to move in until the maximum of 15 is reached. The player loading the save game has to have met all villagers in town for a new one to move in. The town's Field Rank affects the chance of a villager moving in when loading the save, with a 40% chance at the lowest rank and a 100% chance at the highest. A villager can move in every at most every 1.75 days (42 hours). When a villager moves out, a random new villager instantly moves in.
When a villager moves in, the game chooses a villager from the personality type the town has had the least of in total, including past residents. If they are all equal, then it only looks at current residents' personalities; if these are all equal, a random villager is chosen. A villager who has previously lived in a town cannot move back at random unless all 218 villagers have lived in that town; however, villagers can move back if they come from another player's town.
Certain villagers cannot be starting villagers in the player's town, instead having to move in later. These include all anteaters, kangaroos, and ostriches, as well as Coco, Genji, Kabuki, Lucky, Octavian, Ribbot, Rizzo, Snake, Stinky, Tiara, Velma, and Woolio.
In Doubutsu no Mori e+
In Doubutsu no Mori e+, villagers can also move to town if their e-Reader card is scanned at the wishing well. For the 60 new villagers in Doubutsu no Mori e+, this is the only way for them to move to town.
Once the maximum of 15 villagers is reached, a villager will move out every 10 days. Unlike in later games, villagers do not let the player know they are leaving, and they do not pack up. When a villager moves out, they send the player a goodbye letter.
The villager who moves out every 10 days is chosen at random when the player loads their save file, with the game favoring ones who have not previously moved out of another town.
If the player visits another town, one of the visitor's villagers is chosen to move out,[nb 1] and if the player from the town being visited then travels to the initial visitor's town, the villager from that town that was chosen to move out will move to their town.
In Doubutsu no Mori e+
In Doubutsu no Mori e+, the internal checks for who moves out naturally are different from Animal Crossing. The game initially chooses the villager who has gone the longest without speaking to a player; if the length is the same between all villagers, a random villager from the town's most populous personality type is chosen; if all personality types are equal, the villager with the lowest friendship between all players is chosen; if all villagers have the same friendship between all players, a random villager is chosen.
If a villager is invited to move in via their e-Reader card while there are 15 villagers living in town, one will move out to make room using the same checks as if they were to naturally move out.
In Wild World
In Animal Crossing: Wild World, each town starts with three villagers. Over time, more move in until the maximum of eight is reached.
When a villager moves out, their house is removed and a random new villager moves over a signpost within seven days.
Certain villagers cannot be starting villagers in the player's town, instead having to move in later. These include all anteaters, kangaroos, octopuses, ostriches, as well as Agent S, Big Top, Bud, Caroline, Coco, Drift, Genji, Kabuki, Kid Cat, Lucky, Maelle, Ribbot, Rowan, and Snake.
The six monkey villagers—Champ, Elise, Monty, Nana, Simon, and Tammi—can only move in after being distributed from DS Download Stations via Tag Mode. This was the only way for them to move to the player's town. When received by the game, the villager instantly moved in and a Note in a Bottle containing a message from Katrina; if there were already eight villagers in the player's town, the villager would be added to a queue and would move in when another one moves out.
Once the maximum of eight villagers is reached, a random villager who is in-between hobbies[clarification needed] will pack up their furniture in boxes. The next day, the villager moves out and sends a goodbye letter to the player.
When a villager moves out, they are added to an internal one-villager queue where they can move to other another player's town via multiplayer.
In City Folk
In Animal Crossing: City Folk, each town starts with six villagers—one of each personality type. Over time, more move in until the maximum of ten is reached.
The seventh, eighth, and ninth villagers move in over the next three days, and the tenth and final villager moves in up to a week after the ninth. When a villager moves out, their house is removed and a villager with a personality the town lacks or has the least of moves over a signpost within seven days.
Certain villagers cannot be starting villagers in the player's town, instead having to move in later. These include all anteaters (with the exception of Antonio), kangaroos, monkeys, and octopuses, as well as Agent S, Ankha, Big Top, Coco, Genji, Gigi, Kabuki, Kid Cat, Knox, Lucky, Marcel, Ribbot, Snake, Sterling, and Stinky.
Once the maximum of 10 villagers is reached, a villager will approach the player and ask them if they should move out.[nb 2] If the are not persuaded to stay, they will pack the furniture in boxes five days later and move out two days after that, sending the player a goodbye letter.
When a villager moves out, they are added to an internal one-villager queue where they could move to other another player's town via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection or WiiConnect24 before the services' discontinuations in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
In New Leaf
Once there are nine villagers living in the player's town, no more can move in naturally; a tenth villager can move in through one of the four methods detailed below. When a villager moves out, their house is removed and a villager with a personality the town lacks or has the least of moves in at a random location within seven days.
Once the campsite is built, villagers will appear occasionally there, where they can be invited to move in after the player wins a game with them.
Other players' towns
If a villager in another player's town is moving out, the player can persuade them to move to their town if there are less than ten villagers already living in town. Additionally, villagers that recently moved out of another player's town and were not invited by any other player can move to the player's town when visiting or when passing by them via StreetPass.
Once there are nine villagers living in the player's town, a villager will move out. Before a villager moves out, they come up to the player and ask if they should move. If the player lets them move, they will pack up 10 days later (five before the Welcome amiibo update) and move out the day after. Beginning in the Welcome amiibo update, other villagers can let the player know if a villager is thinking about moving out. After finally moving out, the villager will send the player a letter, and if their friendship is high enough, will attach their photo.
When a villager moves out, they are added to a 16-villager pool where they can appear on Main Street and cannot move back in. After more than 16 villagers move out, the oldest villagers start to be removed from this pool. If an amiibo card of a villager in the 16-villager pool is used to move in the villager, the 16-villager system will be ignored.
In New Horizons
After the player meets certain requirements, Tom Nook gives the Resident Representative three Housing Kits and a list of requested furniture for each. Once the Housing Kits are placed, the requested furniture must be placed around the plot or in the submission box in front of the plot.
After the player has placed the Housing Kits and before they have provided the requested furniture, villagers start to appear on Mystery Island Tours, where they can be invited to move to the player's island. During this time, only lazy, normal, and peppy villagers can appear on Mystery Island Tours, and once an invite is made, no more villagers of that personality will appear. These villagers will move in once per day in the order they were invited. If the player does not invite three villagers from Mystery Island Tours before providing the plots' requested furniture, a random villager will move in once per day in the order of the house plot number.
The first house plot is always claimed by a lazy villager, the second a peppy villager, and the third a normal villager.
Each of the initial five villager houses has an interior based on the villager's personality rather than the villager's unique interior. All subsequent villagers will have their unique interior.
Building the campsite
Once a plot is placed for the campsite villager, the Resident Representative gains the ability to purchase Housing Kits for 10,000 Bells each. Up to ten houses can be on the player's island. If there is an empty house plot and a villager is not invited via one of the four methods detailed below, a random villager of a personality the island is lacking will move in each day. Each move-in until all ten plots are first filled will reward the Resident Representative with 1,000 Nook Miles.
Methods of inviting villagers
After the initial campsite visitor moves in, villagers will appear occasionally at the campsite, where they can be invited to move in after the player wins a game with them. If there are ten villagers living on the island, the camper will choose a random resident to replace, and the player can choose to accept or reject them. The chosen resident will be locked until the villager leaves the campsite.
If a villager's amiibo card is scanned at the Nook Stop in Resident Services, they will instantly appear at the campsite. When spoken to, the villager will ask the player to craft them an item. If the player brings the requested item, then invites them again on two other days[nb 3] and brings them their requested items, they ask the player if they should move in. If there are ten villagers living on the island, the player can choose a resident for the camper to replace.
Inviting via amiibo is the only way for the Sanrio villagers to move to the player's island.
Mystery Island Tours
If there is an open house plot, villagers will appear on Mystery Island Tours. The villager that appears is randomly chosen; the game first selects a species, then a villager of that species. If the villager is not invited to move in, another random one will appear on each visit. Only one villager can be invited to move to the player's island per day, even if there are multiple open house plots.
Other players' islands
If a villager on another player's island is moving out, the player can persuade them to move to their island if there is an open house plot. After the third conversation with the moving villager, they will call up the player's Resident Services and purchase an open plot.
Once there are six villagers living on the player's island, the villager with the lowest friendship between all players will ask to move out. When a villager wants to move out, a thought bubble appears above their head and they ask the player if they should move. If the player lets them move, they will pack up their belongings the next day and move out the day after.
Once a villager moves out, more villagers cannot ask to move out for 15 days, and if a villager asks to move out but stays, more villagers cannot ask to move out for five days. During a time where villagers can move out, the chance of one asking is higher if there are more villagers, and it increases by 1% each day no villager asks up to a maximum of 30%.
A villager cannot ask to move out if they were the last to move in, the last to ask to move out, have a birthday in the next seven days, or are in the process of relocating their house.
If the player invites a standard campsite villager to move in while there are already 10 residents, a random villager will be chosen to move out to make room for them; if the player invites a villager via amiibo, they can select the villager to move out. If the camper is invited to move in, the chosen villager will pack up their belongings immediately, and they will move out the next day.
Whitney suggesting that somebody move for her
Margie being invited to the campsite via her amiibo card
Nana being invited to move to the player's island on a Mystery Island Tour
- In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it is possible for two villagers to simultaneously move out. This can be done when the town has 10 residents and one of the villagers randomly decides to move out of town, and then the following day, a villager camps at the campsite and chooses a random villager to move out. This has been known to cause a glitch where one villager is packing up to leave indefinitely, until they are forced out via amiibo or another random camper.
- The villager is selected at random from any villager who has not spoken to all players; if all villagers have spoken to every player or none have, a random villager is selected from all of them.
- Villagers cannot inform the player about them moving out during certain events or while a favor is being done for them.
- The days do not have to be consecutive.