The Animal Crossing video game series is a series of communication simulation games, exclusively for Nintendo consoles. All games in the series are non-linear, in the sense that they have a somewhat set beginning, but no middle or end. The player takes the role of a human in a village of animals. The series is non-violent, and rated 'E' for Everyone by the ESRB (3+ by PEGI). The player may take on tasks from villagers, pay off their mortgage, garden, fish, catch bugs, and more.

Objectives of the game

As an open-ended life simulation, the Animal Crossing series does not have a set objective - as such, after an introductory sequence at the beginning of the games, players are free to do as they like. The only "objective" in the game, if any, is to pay off the mortgage placed upon the player's house. But, like most things within the game, this is entirely optional, and does not incur any consequences other than having less space to store items. The player will eventually become Mayor once they create their town and now being to cover the land with Public Works Projects, being the only two more objectives that have been added.

Villagers

In every town in the Animal Crossing series, the village itself is entirely composed of a population of animals (excluding the player, who is the only human being in the whole series along with other players). Villagers serve as interactable characters, who are assigned personalities and traits, and this affects the way they communicate with the player and among themselves. Villagers are capable of speech (despite being animals), and live in their own domains within the villages. Villagers, in the later games, are also capable of playing games, such as hide and seek, and most often than not, they will usually ask the player to perform tasks for them (which ranges from delivering presents to sending a message to another human player), which can incur a reward if executed in the set time. Villagers are also anthropomorphic, and as such, they are able to walk in a humanoid state, and can also wear clothes. Villagers move in and out regularly due to certain factors (eg. because the player have exchanged animals with another village over Wi-Fi, or simply because they aren't satisfied with their current life). It is also said that they enjoy receiving letters, and if sent a gift, they will usually send one back.

Customization

Although the earlier games offered little or no service in terms of customization, more recent games feature the ability to not only customize the player's own clothes, but also wallpaper, flooring, and even paintings. It is also possible to decorate the ground in-game with the player's own patterns. The term 'customization' can also include the variety of items and furniture available to collect, allowing the user, in a sense, to "customize" their houses and themes.

Activities

Despite being an open-ended game, Animal Crossing does provide some activities to pass the time and help 'complete' certain aspects of the gameplay (such as completing the bug exhibit within the town museum). Some of these said activities include bug-catching, fossil-hunting, and even item-collecting (the latter an objective to complete the player's catalog). Players can also interact in games of hide-and-seek with villagers, participate in festivals and town events, and generally do as they like within the game including bug/fish catching..

Timeline

In the following timeline, games with a bold titles are those considered main series games. These are, in chronological order: Animal Forest, Animal Forest+, Animal Crossing, Animal Forest e+, Wild World, City Folk, New Leaf and New Horizons.

First generation

The first generation (2001-2005) games were mainly Japanese-exclusives, with the exception of Animal Crossing. These games introduced Tom Nook and the Able Sisters.

Name Boxart Release dates Type
Animal Forest
どうぶつの森
Dōbutsu no Mori
AF N64 Front.jpg Japan April 14th, 2001 Nintendo 64 game
Animal Forest+
どうぶつの森+
Dōbutsu no Mori+
AF+ Front.jpg Japan December 14th, 2001 GameCube game
Animal Crossing Animal Crossing.jpg Flag of America 19 10.svg September 16th, 2002
Australia October 17th, 2003
Europe September 24th, 2004
GameCube game
Animal Forest e+
どうぶつの森+
Dōbutsu no Mori e+
Doubutsunomorieplus.jpg Japan June 27th, 2003 GameCube game
4koma Gag Battle
どうぶつの森 4コマギャグバトル
Dōbutsu no Mori Yonkoma Gaggu Batoru
Dobutsu no Mori e+ "4koma Gag Battle" Part.1.jpg Japan 2003 Manga

Second generation

The second generation games (2005-2012) introduced the 'rolling log' perspective, a series staple ever since, as well as online play.

Name Boxart Release dates Type
Animal Crossing: Wild World
おいでよ どうぶつの森
Oideyo Dōbutsu no Mori
Animal Crossing Wild World.jpg Japan November 23rd, 2005
Flag of America 19 10.svg December 5th, 2005
Australia December 8th, 2005
Europe March 31st, 2006
South KoreaDecember 6th, 2007
Nintendo DS game
Hohinda Mura Dayori
どうぶつの森 ホヒンダ村だより
Dōbutsu no Mori: Hohinda Mura Dayori
1106069657.jpg Japan November 28th, 2005 - December 27th, 2013 Manga series
Animal Forest: Come on Over
おいでよ どうぶつの森
Oideyo Dōbutsu no Mori
Oideyo.jpg Japan Unknown Manga
Dōbutsu no Mori
どうぶつの森
Dōbutsu no Mori
Animalcrossingfilm poster.jpg Japan December 16th, 2006
Japan July 25th, 2007 (DVD)
Animated movie
Animal Crossing: City Folk
街へいこうよ どうぶつの森
Machi e Ikō yo Dōbutsu no Mori
Cityfolkbox.jpg Flag of America 19 10.svg November 16th, 2008
Canada November 17th, 2008
Japan November 20th, 2008
Australia December 4th, 2008
Europe December 5th, 2008
South Korea January 28th, 2010
Wii game
Everyone's Animal Forest
みんなのどうぶつの森
Minna no Dōbutsu no Mori
Minnano.jpg Japan 2008 Manga
Animal Crossing Clock Animal Crossing Clock.jpg Flag of America 19 10.svg May 4th, 2009
Europe May 4th, 2009
DSiWare app
Animal Crossing Calculator Animal Crossing Clock.jpg Flag of America 19 10.svg May 4th, 2009
Europe May 4th, 2009
DSiWare app
Animal Crossing: Sweet Day
どうぶつの森 キャンディーまつり
Dōbutsu no Mori Kyandī Matsuri
SweetDayLogo.png Flag of America 19 10.svg November 18th, 2012
Europe November 30th, 2012
Japan December 8th, 2012
Nintendo Land minigame

Third generation

The third generation games (2012-2020) introduced exterior design in the form of public works projects, as well as the character Isabelle.

Name Boxart Release dates Type
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
とびだせ どうぶつの森
Tobidase Dōbutsu no Mori
Animal Crossing New Leaf Box Art.jpg Japan November 8th, 2012
South Korea February 7th, 2013
Flag of America 19 10.svg June 9th, 2013
Europe June 14th, 2013
Australia June 15th, 2013
Nintendo 3DS game
Minna de Seseragi Mura Life
とびだせ どうぶつの森
みんなでせせらぎ村ライフ
Tobidase Dōbutsu no Mori
Minna de Seseragi Mura Life
Tobidase.jpg Japan 2012 - unknown Manga series
Animal Crossing Plaza ACPLogo.png Flag of America 19 10.svg August 7th, 2013
Europe August 8th, 2013
Australia August 8th, 2013
WiiU app
Photos with Animal Crossing
いっしょにフォト どうぶつの森
Issho ni Foto Dōbutsu no Mori
Photos With Animal Crossing ENG Title.PNG Japan 2014
Europe September 2nd, 2015
Nintendo 3DS app
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
どうぶつの森 ハッピーホームデザイナー
Dōbutsu no Mori: Happī Hōmu Dezainā
Achhd.png Japan July 30th, 2015
Flag of America 19 10.svg September 25th, 2015
Europe October 2nd, 2015
Australia October 3rd, 2015
Nintendo 3DS game
Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival
どうぶつの森 amiiboフェスティバル
Dōbutsu no Mori: amiibo Fesutibaru
Amiibo Festival NA Boxart.png Flag of America 19 10.svg November 13th, 2015
Europe November 20th, 2015
Japan November 21st, 2015
Australia November 21st, 2015
WiiU game
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp
どうぶつの森 ポケットキャンプ
Dōbutsu no Mori: Poketto Kyanpu
Pocket Camp logo en.png Australia October 25th, 2017
WW November 22nd 2017
Mobile app

Fourth generation

The fourth generation games (2020-present) introduced full exterior customization and decoration. For the first time, the main series games were updated frequently.

Name Boxart Release dates Type
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
あつまれ どうぶつの森
Atsumare Dōbutsu no Mori
Animal-crossing-new-horizons.jpg March 20th, 2020 Nintendo Switch game
Assemble! Animal Crossing
あつまれ どうぶつの森
~のんびり島だより~
Atsumare Dōbutsu no Mori
Nonbiri Shima Dayori
Unavailable Japan March 2020 Manga


The Animal Crossing Series
Aflogo.png Af+logo.png Animal.png Afe+logo.png Animal Crossing Wild World Logo.png Animal Crossing- City Folk (logo).png Animal Crossing New Leaf logo.png NewHorizons.png
Main series
Dōbutsu no Mori (Dòngwù Sēnlín) • Dōbutsu no Mori +Animal CrossingDōbutsu no Mori e+Wild WorldCity FolkNew Leaf (Welcome amiibo)New Horizons
Spin-offs
ClockCalculatorSweet DayPlazaPhotos TogetherHappy Home Designeramiibo FestivalPocket Camp
Other media
Dōbutsu no Mori (film)Dōbutsu no Mori: Hohinda Mura DayoriDōbutsu no Mori e+ 4koma Gag BattleMinna no Dōbutsu no MoriOideyo Dōbutsu no MoriTobidase Dōbutsu no Mori Minna de Seseragi Mura Life
Other Series
Super Smash Bros. MeleeSuper Smash Bros. BrawlMario Kart 8Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii UAnimal Crossing cameoes in other franchises
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