Was Animal Crossing almost Human Crossing? Files unearthed in the massive Nintendo “Gigaleak” suggest that homo sapiens were once intended to appear in the first entry of the popular life-sim series, a Japan-only release called Animal Forest.
I always thought Animal crossing was a weird Title considering most of the characters are humans. Game Theory's MatPat did a video on this on Youtube. Animals may have made more sense since the characters are Chibi... which is a Japanese Word meaning Small.. Thus Chibi Robo but that's a topic for another day.
Some background: Animal Forest – or Dōbutsu no Mori, in Japanese – released in 2001 on the N64. Later that year, it was expanded and re-released for the GameCube, and that’s the 2002 U.S. Animal Crossing you probably know and love.
In general, there are three truths baked into Animal Crossing’s DNA, all of which date back to that very first version of Animal Forest.
- One: You, a human, live in a rural town populated by anthropomorphic animals, where game time passes in real time and true fun only happens when a nudist canine shows up and whips out his six-string.
- Two: Tom Nook’s a dingus.
- Three: A human non-player character has never popped up in an Animal Crossing game.
That third truth is why the existence – or potential existence – of human characters in Animal Crossing is such a shock. If humans lived in Tom Nook’s depraved cultish enclaves from day one, would Animal Crossing even be Animal Crossing? How different would the paradigm for this beloved series be today?
One person, a game developer who’s known as TV, has been sharing Animal Forest files related to the Gigaleak on Twitter over the past week. Earlier this morning, he shared two modeled first-draft characters, Oba and Soldier.