Animal Crossing: City Folk (Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City in PAL regions) is a Wii video game and the fourth addition (which includes the Japanese only Animal Forest) to the Animal Crossing series. The game features a heavy emphasis on interaction and is the first ever game to make use of WiiSpeak, a device that allows the player to interact with others around the world without the need for a headset. A bundle has been made available that includes both the game and WiiSpeak once the game was released.
Another prominent feature is the introduction of a city along with the always present town. In the city, you're able to go to the hair salon, the auction house, the theater, Gracie's shop and the HRA to see what's going on in other people's villages. You can also get your shoes shined by Kicks, visit Redd and get your fortune told by Katrina.
In Animal Crossing: City Folk, there is no prominent goal but to just enjoy your new virtual life. You'll take control of either a boy or girl, whose appearance is determined at the beginning of the game, by asking questions.
You move into a new house and initially have to pay your debts to Tom Nook. After doing so, more expansions to your house can be made via more payments.
The character is controlled via the nunchuck's joystick though an alternate control scheme will allow you to play using just the Wii Remote without the extension by pointing to where you want your character to move. Basic actions can be performed with the standard face buttons though some will allow you to use motion controls (such as for fishing and bug catching).
Your village consists of two shops, Tom Nook's and the Able Sister's, a town hall, a museum, multiple neighbors, and other areas. Fishing can be done in the multiple bodies of water while bugs can be caught with your net almost anywhere. Fossils, Gyroids and other items can be dug up using your shovel, while with the watering can you can construct a wonderful garden. With the slingshot, you can shoot down items from the sky, and with the ax you can chop down trees to tidy up the village.
One of the new aspects of the game is the city, which is mentioned in the game's title. You can access the city by going to the bus stop, which is located near the town gate. In the city there are even more things to do, such as partake in an auction, visit high-end shops, change your hairstyle and shoes, watch a show in the theater, visit Redd's to get rare items and Katrina's to get your fortune told, see other players' houses via Nintendo Wifi Connection and just have a nice chat with the villagers currently there.
The game uses the Wii's internal clock to determine what day and season it is. The time of day will also change depending on what time it is in real life. The series is often lauded for playing even when you're not - weeds will grow if you're not there to pull them, flowers will die, days will pass and old neighbors will be replaced by new ones. Special events will occur depending on what day it is - holidays will take place on their respective times as well.
Animal Crossing: City Folk was released around three years after Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS. Whereas Katsuya Eguchi was the director of the original Animal Crossing, EAD designer Hisashi Nogami was the director for this iteration of the series. Nogami explained that, when the development of Wild World reached its end, he went to work on Wii Sports and the Mii Channel, both which would release alongside the Wii. After working a few months on the Mii Channel, he worked on the overall development of the actual Wii hardware. It was around this time when he started contemplating whether or not he should start working on the next Animal Crossing title but concluded that he just didn't have the time to start the next game in the series with such a busy schedule. Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo, even wondered when he and his team would start to work on the next game since he seemed to be very focused on developing the Mii channel.
In December of 2006, around the time the Wii launched worldwide, Nogami was able to start development on the next game in the Animal Crossing series. He explained that even though the Wii had launched and there were still things to do with the Mii Channel, he was able to work on both projects at the same time. Having just worked on the Mii Channel, he wished to implement WiiConnect24, a feature the Mii Channel uses, into City Folk. WiiConnect24 is a feature on the Wii that keeps the system online at all times to download content even if the gamer isn't playing.
Aya Kyogoku, the sequence director of City Folk, recalled that localizing the game was particularly challenging not only because of the size of the text (which was thousands of pages long), but they also planned (successfully) to release the game around the world around the same time.
The game has been well received, though criticisms have arisen, primarily due to its uninspired qualities that basically copy from the previous chapters in the series. This was also something that critics panned Nintendo for doing with Wild World on the Nintendo DS though it was accepted due to the fact that it was introduced to a handheld and that it featured online capabilities that weren't featured on the GameCube or (for Japan) Nintendo 64 versions of the game. The city aspect, while new, features plenty of shops that were featured in the normal village beforehand, and some of the things, such as the theater, aren't exactly new since the benefits you receive for visiting it is the same as finding Dr. Shrunk in Wild World. The inclusion of friend codes has also turned some off, though the new WiiSpeak accessory has been considered a welcome, albeit long overdue, addition to Nintendo's deluge of accessories for the Wii.