Since it's debut on the GameCube some ten years ago, the Animal Crossing series has remained pretty much static, with few new additions with each passing iteration. You arrive at a town inhabited by animals, take up residence in a house provided by the tyrannical landlord/shopowner/racoon Tom Nook, and spend your time fishing, digging for fossils and running errands for the townsfolk to scrape enough cash together to pay off your mortgage – only to return home, and find your house has been expanded, with Nook demanding yet more blood money. And so the cycle continues. With no repo-men to worry about, no interest, and no pressure, though, you're free to spend your time in Animal Crossing as you see fit, befriending the various villagers, taking part in the regular seasonal events, and furnishing your home instead.
With buying, collecting, and laying furniture out in your home being a large part of the game's appeal, it should come as no real surprise that the folks at Nintendo are set to support the game after launch with a variety of downloadable furnishings – much like the Golden furniture set for the Wii game. But while in the past, these items have been released as completely free updates, things weren't quite so clear this time round. With Nintendo taking a much much more digital friendly stance as of late, including selling of add-ons for existing titles, and almost every other company selling you anything and everything they possibly can (fancy a pink Gears of War 3 gun? That'll cost you...) we'll admit to being slightly concerned that Nintendo may have spotted the opportunity, and be planning to hold back some furniture sets, only to charge you to download them later.
Thankfully, though, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has recently gone on record, via a new episode of Nintendo Direct, to confirm that Animal Crossing will not feature any paid downloadable extras. Firm in his words, with a sly dig at other publishers, Iwata confirmed that any “unwholesome” paid for extras were “absolutely not being added” - cue a collective sigh of relief. Iwata acknowledged that while it would almost certainly be lucrative, given Animal Crossing's emphasis on buying stuff for your little virtual house - and this latest instalment's ability to customise the entire town - making players part with their real-life money may put them off. And quite right he is, too.
Complete with its new name, Animal Crossing: New Leaf should be hitting the 3DS in the UK and Europe sometime in the early part of next year, a few months after the rest of the world, thanks to the time it takes to translate the reams of text into the various European languages. With the title hitting Japan this Thursday, we'd imagine a whole lot more information will start to make it's way out of the woodwork in the coming weeks – so stay tuned!