The festivals celebrated in your Animal Crossing: New Leaf town will vary dramatically from those seen in other countries.
In a new edition of Iwata Asks, the core Nintendo team behind the title said they wanted each player to see customs familiar to their own home cultures.
“For this game, we included foreign customs for the overseas market, while also including customs for the Japanese version that only Japanese people would understand, such as throwing beans and eating a sushi roll while facing in a certain direction that is considered lucky at Setsubun,” co-director Aya Kyogoku said.
In the Japanese SKU of New Leaf, all the animals in your town will eat sushi rolls on Setsubun – and even face in the correct cardinal direction to do so. This tiny attention to detail is extended to non-Japanese festivals, too.
“So on New Year’s Eve, we want to eat Year-Crossing buckwheat noodles, but players outside Japan don’t share this custom,” she added.
“We researched what people in other countries do on New Year’s Eve, and we also asked our staff overseas. In some places, they make a toast with champagne, and in others they eat a dozen grapes. There is a custom in Spain of eating a dozen grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve.”
Fellow director Isao Moro said the Spanish Nintendo team requested grapes be included in the New Year celebrations.
“But we’d never witnessed this custom, so we didn’t know if the grapes should be served on a plate, or in a bowl. We didn’t even know the type of grape, so we started by making a sketch,” Kyogoku added.
“We communicated back and forth with the staff in Spain, asking if it was all right, and we finally got their approval,” Moro concluded.
Happily, you don’t have to miss out on other countries’ customs.
“Those sushi rolls are only available at Setsubun, and that’s only in the Japanese version. But if visitors from overseas visit a Japanese player’s town, they can buy them too,” Kyogoku said.
“If someone is playing the North American or European version in Spanish and you go to visit that person, you can get [grapes] too. You can say, ‘This is a custom we have.'”
This is the most adorable Iwata Asks I have ever read and they set a pretty high standard. Click through to read all about the multiplayer and social features; why you’re the mayor now; the new content; and how Nintendo hopes to keep you on board year-round.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf arrives in June, exclusively for 3DS.