Nintendo has been somewhat imprecise in detailing its mobile plans, recently acknowledging the need to develop on smartphones but hesitant to move its top-tier franchises. That philosophy is ingrained throughout the company, as Animal Crossing producer Katsuya Eguchi says he believes the franchise is best on portable devices, but that it's too detailed to put on smartphones.
"Actually a lot of people have the same sort of idea, but contrary to what it seems like, there's a lot to do in Animal Crossing," Eguchi told Polygon. "It's really focused on a very free style of control. Whether it's the buttons or the stick on the 3DS, we really use [the hardware] to its fullest to get the maximum amount of joy, so I personally don't agree with the sentiment [that Animal Crossing would work on mobile devices]."
He stressed that mobile devices can be used to complement the experience. Animal Crossing: New Leaf dipped a toe in those waters by having the mayoral assistant, Isabelle, give tweets about town happenings, and the game lets you share screenshots. He says he likes providing little reminders of happenings in the game world.
Eguchi also said that the series is best suited for portable devices. "If we were to create an Animal Crossing for a home console, I think we would really have to invent a new style that's suitable for the platform," he said. "The environment in which the player is playing the game is very important, so we need to think that through before we start creating something like that. We might not have been able to do that for Wii." This echoes other recent comments from Nintendo that it was formulaic.
To its credit, the current strategy seems to be working well. The latest Animal Crossing recently crossed 7 million in sales.
Steve Watts posted a new article, Nintendo explains why Animal Crossing is not a fit for smartphones.
Animal Crossing is best-suited for portable systems, but the series producer says it's more complex than people realize and therefore wouldn't be a good fit on smartphones.