Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Leaf postmortem was among GDC 2014′s most popular talks yesterday.

Nintendo’s Katsuya Eguchi and Aya Kyugoku argued that Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s diverse team led to the game’s huge audience, during their GDC 2014 keynote. With 7.38 million copies sold to date, the game was so popular in Japan that Eguchi revealed that it was a struggle for his own daughter to find a copy, despite being the producer of the game.Kyugoku, the first female game designer at Nintendo EAD, describe the way that although women were “still in the minority” more and more were joining the department. “The percentages are evening out,” she said. “For the Animal Crossing: New Leaf team, almost half of those involved were women. When I started it was common to be the only woman on the team, but I have come to discover that when women are in a variety of roles you get a wider opinion and range of ideas; I have experienced how beneficial it is to have diversity on your team.”
The diversity of the team was leveraged by allowing the whole team to share ideas for animals, furniture and so on by providing sketches to the designer regardless of their personal role. “By doing this we opened ourselves up to a variety of tastes and things people like from a variety of male and female staffers from a variety of ages,” said Kyugoku. “This is not something we could achieve if only one person had been given the task.”
The core of the Animal Crossing series is communication, said Kyugoku, from the original GameCube title, where players would share a town and leave notes, up to New Leaf, where players share screenshots across social networks. She said that they hoped the title helped “harmonize relationships in the real world.”