Animal Crossing producer Katsuya Eguchi has revealed a few more details of what we can expect from the first Wii instalment in the series.
He was speaking at an invite-only developer roundtable hosted by Nintendo at E3. A brief demo of the game showed how you'll be driven into town by the Kapp'n once again, but this time on board a bus. Expect more nonsensical chit-chat during your journey.
Eguchi then took us on a brief tour of the town square, the location of the hair salon, auction house, theatre and fashion store Gracie Grace. He confirmed the return of the 24-hour clock and calendar events, such as Halloween. Seasonal characters are also back, including Jingle the reindeer. New characters will include a bunny who hides eggs around town for you to find at particular times of the year. Plus a carnival will come to town, and will "introduce a new character to the Animal Crossing family".
Then it was time for Eguchi's character to head home and demo the new features of the clothing designer. In Animal Crossing City Folk you can not only design the front of your shirt, but the back and sleeves. When you store your design Mabel, the shopkeeper, will ask about what inspired you, and other characters in the town will give you feedback on. You can save designs to SD card and send them to other players via Wii Connect 24.
Eguchi confirmed there will be whole new lines of furniture, wallpaper and the like to choose from, and said you'll receive new items automatically through Wii Connect. You'll be able to bring characters you've created in Animal Crossing DS over to the Wii, and access all the things you've gathered and purchased. But "access", the translator clarified, means you'll be able to buy stuff again in the store - you won't be able to transport items physically from Wild World to City Folk. Bells aren't transferable easier, so you'll have to work hard to build up your savings all over again.
If you live in Japan, you'll be able to take your DS to "special areas" (DS demo pods, presumably) and download extra data (unique items, presumably). They're also hoping to offer the same service in US, but no mention was made of Europe.
At the Q&A session after the demo, one journalist asked about having visitors to your town. He asked whether you'll have to reboot and reinvite everyone if one player leaves or loses their connection, as with Wild World. "I have to apologise, because we're actually using the same system this time," Eguchi said. However, he added, you can now do things like visit each others' houses and go to concerts together. "So I think we've compensated for that by adding a lot more enjoyable features."
Another questioner asked whether there will be any synchronisation between the Wii's Weather Channel and the weather in Animal Crossing. According to Eguchi this was something Nintendo considered, but rejected. The problem is some parts of the world get too much of one particular weather type. If you live in Seattle, for example, do you really want it to rain all the time in your Animal Crossing town too?
And there's bad news for those who live in the southern hemisphere. There are still no plans to invert the seasons, so when it's winter in Australia it will still be summer for Australian Animal Crossing players.
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