Read... The Quiet Revolution: How Animal Crossing has Embraced the Future
"'As the series grows, time passes outside,' she says. 'Technology changes. The way players feel and think, their perspective about gaming changes. As a franchise, to stay relevant, we have to evolve along with that change. For example, that beautiful town ordinance may reduce some of the stress the game could cause. Things like that, we have to take them into consideration and constantly think about them and adjust to how the world has changed around us.'"
Animal Crossing is by no means Nintendo's most famous series. It's probably not even in the top five. But, after reading this Jeremy Parish's US Gamer interview with Animal Crossing creator Katsuya Eguchi and New Leaf director Aya Kyogoku, it's clear that it perfectly encapsulates the company's philosophy of observing the world but Doing Its Own Thang.
Just imagine Animal Crossing made by, uh, almost anybody else. It would have had full-on multiplayer as far back as Wild World, sure, and it wouldn't have made boy characters wear doofy horns and girl characters dress like little Prussian villagers. But that reactivity to the outside world wouldn't have stopped there: DLC furniture packs are a given, so are tradeable ultra-rare villagers (I'll give you Paula and Ace for your foil Kid Cat). But, as the Animal Crossing series' slow but sweeping evolution demonstrates, Nintendo is a bit choosier with the "industry standards" it embraces: sometimes for the worse, but often for the better.