Cult GameCube title Animal Crossing may well be getting a European release after all, with Nintendo of Europe's MD David Gosen dropping several strong hints earlier this week that the company is considering releasing the game in the early part of next year. Better late than never.
Having just collected the Edinburgh Games Festival's coveted Edge sponsored award for innovation for Metroid Prime on Monday night, Gosen made a reference to Nintendo's "risk taking and innovation" at which point Eurogamer couldn't resist heckling "release Animal Crossing then if you're so risk taking!"
Having consumed a few cocktails at the Nvidia sponsored bash, EG was in bullish mood and collared the jubilant Gosen as he marched off stage with the gong to firstly congratulate the NoE boss for the well deserved award, and then to pursue the burning Animal Crossing issue.
Pointing out the impending PAL release in Australia, EG asked whether the game would make it to Europe: "Wait and see" was the measured response from Gosen. "We have to translate the game into six languages in Europe. They don't have that problem in Australia."
"But would European gamers be prepared to wait until next year for Animal Crossing?" asked Gosen, to which we answered yes, obviously, but argued that Nintendo would do itself a big favour to get the game out here before the sequel arrives overseas.
So is this an ECTS announcement? "Again, wait and see," smirked Gosen, before slipping into the throng.
If that isn't a promising response for Animal Crossing fans, we don't know what is, and gives the strongest indication yet that Nintendo has finally realised the commercial potential of the game is there. Of course, an early 2004 release is disgracefully late, but it's better than nothing. Expect a solid announcement next week.