Why Your Animal Crossing Villagers are Less Unique Than You Thought
Animal Crossing has a way of making you feel like you are creating a unique little piece of heaven all your own, where your town looks a certain way and the collection of villagers there are some of the very best that you’ve brought to share this home with you. This is now all the more prevalent, with New Horizons allowing you to invite or approve new NPCs from coming along for the ride. And the huge roster of animals makes it so that each of your electronic friends feels entirely different from the rest. … At least, it *would* feel that way if not for the fact that every villager can be categorized into 8 personalities. And no, I’m not talking about any of the mandatory NPCs or wandering salespeople. Rather, what I’m saying is that each villager has a preset personality pulled from a list of options.
Not only are these personalities limited in scope, but they are also limited by gender, with each gender only representing 4 of these personalities. The different male personality types are: Cranky Jock Lazy Smug Whereas the female personality types are: Normal Peppy Snooty Uchi (For those of you wondering, Uchi is derived from a Japanese attitude that roughly translates as having a “big sister”-like personality, and is often described to players as the female version of Cranky.) Something that I think is rather noteworthy is that, while many of these creatures are cute and friendly, almost all the personality traits are negative, barring perhaps Jock and Peppy. Normal, apparently, translates to being sweet but unopinionated, not caring about anything in particular, a startling and likely unintentional commentary on societal definitions of what “normal” is.
So what does this all mean? Well, Animal Crossing has gone to lengths to make players think that their towns are special, especially now that you can basically customize them however you like. The purpose of the game is to allow players to feel like they’ve made their home away from home, similar to the Sims. So, the same should go for your townsfolk, in theory. In this way, 96 villagers are available to be interacted with in New Horizons, presenting a variety of different animals in likable and cutsie ways. Yet, what does it matter when all 96 of these “characters” boil down to 8 specific characters? 12 different versions of Cranky exist, meaning you’re likely to meet and even have multiple characters in your home that are, by and large, the same in every way other than appearance and catchphrase.
Does this affect how you experience this game? Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. All I know is that I can’t help but look around the supposed vast world Nintendo has made for us and wonder if it could just a little better, if villagers could feel just a little more unique, if just a smidge more polish was put in what could be accomplished to make a better game in general. What do you think, is having only a handful of villager-types a big deal, or are you happy with your town of Normal villagers? Let me know in the comments, I’d be curious to hear what you have to say!