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Animal Crossing: The Past And The Future

Written By: Bulerias

Animal Crossing is a very unique franchise, taking elements from the Sims, taking some old fashioned Nintendo spirit, putting it in a blender, and churning out quality content. From the N64, to the GCN, to the DS, Animal Crossing as a franchise has seen some quality outings, such that appeal to a variety of people, not necessarily gamers. Animal Crossing as a franchise has enjoyed red-hot success on every platform, going from a Japan-exclusive overlooked gem on the N64 to the mighty showing on the DS with Wild World, which towered over the list of top-selling games in Japan for many weeks, selling more than 500K units on launch day alone.

As is blatantly evident, AC has much potential as a franchise, and Nintendo undoubtedly sees that; after all, how can a company ignore such stupendous sales numbers? Fact is, they can't, and that's why Animal Crossing is rearing its head again, but this time, it's on Nintendo's "new-generation" console, called "Wii". Animal Crossing Wii, as it is codenamed as of this writing, is slated to come out sometime in the time frame or 2007 - 2008.

Even though it was never "officially" confirmed as a title, AC Wii is definitely coming; corporate executives from Nintendo have, during numerous times, used Animal Crossing as an example to illustrate how programs such as WiiConnect24 will function. Katsuya Eguchi, the creator of Animal Crossing, was caught red-handed when he stated that his team was working on Animal Crossing Wii. Yet, to this day, Nintendo hasn't made it a priority to announce the game officially; perhaps they are waiting for the right moment.

Gamers are left only to consider the possibilities, and return to the delicate art of theories, speculation, and guesswork. Even though spending time like this usually yields nothing more than wishful thinking, and the end result of the developers differs, sometimes lucky individuals hit it spot on, and their theories, however plausible or not they were before, turned out to be true. Select few predicted the Wii controller, then called the Revmote, so it's a good possibility we'll see some great guesses here as well.

The hot idea right now is DS to Wii connection (The theory states that Animal Crossing: Wild World - or perhaps a second Animal Crossing DS title to be made in the future - could connect to Animal Crossing on the Wii. This would yield similar surprises as GCN-GBA connection did with Animal Crossing for the Gamecube, i.e., access to a special island. Some ideas are that patterns could be made with the DS instead of using the Wiimote specifically, or importing items from the DS game to the Wii game, and maybe even the other way around.). Let's explore various other possibilities instead of dwelling on the freakishly obvious.

One interesting idea is the importing of "Miis" - in case you haven't heard, a Mii is a virtual caricature of you or your friends that you can create using a special interface with the Wii hardware - into your Animal Crossing game. This could mean that we'll say goodbye to the pre-made faces of old and welcome the new; after all, living life as a virtual "you" would make the game slightly more realistic. Some may argue that this could detract from the "homey feeling" of the game, but this is why this feature could be optional.

Another idea, which has already been partially confirmed, is integrating real-life email and cell phone text messaging with the Bulletin Board and mail system of Animal Crossing. Katsuya Eguchi has already hinted that his team is experimenting with these features, which could allow one to send - through email or cell phone - messages to a player in Animal Crossing. This leads one to believe that perhaps Pete will retire as a mail carrier, and maybe the world of Animal Crossing will adopt a more modern ways of communication; all on the computer.

The above ideas would affect the Animal Crossing world on the Wii substantially; but who says we need big improvement? Little details sometimes add up to make a great gaming experience, and Animal Crossing is no exception; all the furniture, different items, different holidays, all these aspects added up to an engrossing experience; why should AC Wii be any different? More interactive furniture has always been a popular request amongst Animal Crossing fans, and since the Wiimote offers lots of gameplay possibilities, we could see TVs where you could change the channel by turning the knob.

Why not a virtual stove with cooking thrown in as well? One of the things that made AC stand out from other simulation games is lack of dependency on food, but maybe this wouldn't change that; mini-games ala Cooking Mama - which is the first cooking game for the DS - could work very well with AC Wii and the Wiimote in general. Why stop there, though? Watering plants could be as easy as pointing the Wiimote towards a flower (maybe even in first person!); other tools way of usage is self-explanatory.

It wouldn't be necessary to focus on the Wiimote for AC's future as far as AC Wii is concerned, too; why not add buildings like a library to the game in general, adding a new important NPC to the AC world, much like AC:WW did with its "coo" pigeon, Brewster. AC Wii could indeed feature many new important NPCs, some of which could have their own building, accommodation, and, of course, some sort of use and value to the player.

As you, the reader, can clearly see, Animal Crossing is a franchise which can continue to amaze us with new and interesting gameplay features. AC Wii will only be one chapter in the illustrious world of Animal Crossing, and it's an even bigger mystery as to what the future - beyond AC Wii - holds for the little critters and their homes. Let's hope the future is bright!