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Animal Crossing: New Leaf's development team had an even gender split

And the diversity helped tackle series fatigue.

The development team behind the 3DS hit Animal Crossing: New Leaf had an even gender split, and that diversity helped the series evolve as well as contributing to its broad appeal.

Producer Katsuya Eguchi and director Aya Kyogoku discussed the development of the game during a GDC panel, and how open the team's processes were, as well as how welcoming the environment was when she started out as one of the few female members of the team. "As a woman on the team, I always felt welcome, and never felt awkward," she said.

Development staff were able to contribute to all parts of the design process, submitting ideas for characters which would then be brushed up for inclusion in the game.

"It opened us up to a variety of tastes and likings," said Kyogoku. "Male and females and a variety of ages participated. We were able to leverage our diverse team, which couldn't be possible if one person was making all the decisions."

Kyogoku also spoke of how the bond between the developers translated into the game - team members would make Animal Crossing-themed cakes to bring into the office, and would often go on group barbecues. It meant that as the development process came to an end - usually a tense environment in a studio - the team were fresh and cheery.

All of which helped the game shift some 7.3 million units worldwide.