Animal Crossing Continuity, Timeline & History (Continuity on Infinite Earths)
When you think of Animal Crossing, you are likely not thinking about it having a huge lore, a complicated timeline like Zelda or a history that has continuity with all the Animal Crossing games that have been released so far, but you would be wrong. While extremely subtle, all games in the franchise are connected and it’s one big timeline of events that starts from the original Animal Forest game all the way to Animal Crossing New Horizons. Worry not as everything will be explained here, don’t expect any huge reveals but at the very least it’s something you had not thought about, like you didn’t know Animal Crossing was great to learn to speak another language.
We will be taking a look at not only every game in the franchise but also the different Animal Crossing apps and spin-off games, because yes, they all take place in the same timeline of Events. The anime movie of Animal Crossing is not considered however, but let’s start with how exactly a game that is not only a life sim that you play and live but also each person playing can have a very different experience can actually have a timeline.
The way the games go, you have plenty of Villager NPCs that you encounter, these NPCs travel to other towns all the time and form memories, when you connect games these can be witnessed and with so many villagers it’s near impossible to ever really experience them all. In a canon timeline it means that these villagers all live in specific villagers, perhaps one of those was yours, but the games will never be specific about it. As far as canon goes for each game, yeah all the villagers have lived in other villages but we will never know the names of which ones in hard canon.
However just because the villages names might never be mentioned by recurring NPCs, only villagers when linked to other games doesn’t mean your specific game is any less valid. That village is just one of hundreds others that exist in the huge Animal Crossing world. So yeah, this way technically all Animal Crossing games ever played are part of the timeline. Now Let’s talk now about recurring NPCs that are either shop owners or important to the story of the actual games like Tom Nook among dozens of others.
There’s only one Blathers and other NPCs so surely they can’t all be in all the games or have multiples like Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny from Pokemon. Now in this case, while all villages ever created are theoretically canon, we would need to take into account that as far as lore goes only one village would have these characters in canon for the most part and the others would need to have similar but not quite these characters in their village. Some characters that only arrive some times like say Gulliver could technically be canon in all villages but Tortimer can only be canon mayor for one or a few towns, but now all of them. Nothing will ever be specifically referenced so it’s ok.
We can’t go into too much detail in today’s post about specific roles of different NPCs since the article is already long enough, but for example you get to see the rise of Tom Nook in the games which you might be more familiar with but also characters like Kapp’n will change jobs between games and he will reference the previous job for example in the Taxi of Wild World. Or you also have Kicks that first starts without a store but tells you how he used to have a store and in City Folk you can see that once again he was able to get his own store. The same can be said for others like the Able sisters and how their past gets revealed a little each game and we meet a third sister later on or Mr. Resetti, and other NPCs as you see how they grow or just change through out each game.
With that said let’s take a look at the timeline, we of course first need to point out that the first few games are all just the same point of the story. Dōbutsu no Mori as it was released in Japan on the Nintendo 64 got a Gamecube release in Japan. Later an localized western version was released as Animal Crossing: Population Growing and this version as well as some enhancements was later released again in Japan as Animal Forest e+. All of these versions tell the same story and are technically just ports of the same game so they wouldn’t be different points in the timeline. You would just need to add all the features of later games as actually happening during that same time like say the new villagers added from e-reader cards.
We later get to Animal Crossing Wild World on the Nintendo DS, which might seem like a remake of the original since again you have Tom Nook starting from zero in his little store and in general it seems very similar but it’s not the case. Tom Nook is an entrepreneur and of course he is known to succeed sometimes and fails sometimes and go to different towns in canon, after being successful in one village and not so much in others well perhaps he had to start from zero once again in this village, making it a new game in the timeline.
When we see the Nintendo Wii release of Animal Crossing City Folk we can see how you move to a new town, this is true even if you transfer your file from Wild World. Here you have a new village that is far more advanced and has a city but also how much the NPCs have changed by then by having their own stores in the city and expanding from smaller roles before. Animal Crossing New Leaf and its DLC expansion Welcome Amiibo on the 3DS is the next entry and here we do see how NPC characters have continued to evolve and change over time, for example Tortimer is no longer the mayor of the village.
Spin-off games like animal Crossing Happy Home Designer is also a part of the timeline and here you don’t get a village but you get plenty of insight into different NPCs by rearranging their homes and finding out more information about them. Animal Crossing Plaza might have been a small app but it at least shows that the different villagers receive tons of mail from the previous villages they used to live in.
Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival on the Wii U might be hated for just being a board game but you get plenty of fun scenes interacting with the NPC villagers in different situations so it also takes place in the timeline. Same with Animal Crossing Pocket Camp for mobile where you see the villagers arrive to a camp and interact there. As you can see, the villagers get around quite a bit and with Animal Crossing New Horizons on the err, horizon the Animal Crossing timeline just continues now being set in a new paradise island adventure. In the Animal Crossing New Horizons event for Pocket Camp we have Tom Nook show up announcing his getaway package he’s about to begin. It’s all connected.