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Media & Entertainment

Nintendo's freestyle innovation culture shapes Animal Crossing

Tradition that values idle chat underlies pandemic-era smash hit

Nintendo's Animal Crossing has helped people feel connected with others during pandemic lockdowns. (Photo courtesy of Nintendo)

KYOTO, Japan -- Few things reigned supreme in a year dominated by the pandemic quite like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Nintendo's newest installment of the long-running series that has been credited with saving the mental health of those stuck inside their homes for weeks on end.

Despite the lofty heights the game has reached, surpassing 26 million units sold since its release in March of last year, it comes from humble beginnings, spawning from an open-minded corporate culture that encourages out-of-the-box ideas from employees.

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