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Time Capsules are an item given to the player by a villager in New Leaf. Occasionally, villagers will approach the player with the task of taking and burying it. The player must remember where it is buried as the villager will ask for it back in the future. When buried it leaves a star-shaped crack, like all buried items.
The Time Capsule is stored within the player's letter inventory, designated with a unique icon. Inside a time capsule is another item, which is usually a gift. However, once the capsule is opened and the letter is read or a gift is unwrapped, it cannot be re-sealed. Villagers become upset if their capsule is opened, but the option to tell them will be gone the next day.
Once buried in the ground the crack revealing its location will disappear on the following day, but the crack will come back when they ask for the player to retrieve it. The villager will ask for it back and it must be relocated and dug up. The time between burying and being asked to dig it up can span from only a week all the way up to two months. It is possible to have multiple capsules buried at the same time.
It is not possible to dig up a capsule while it is invisible, however on the set day that the villager requests it back it can be located before the villager asks for it.
Once a capsule is buried and vanishes, planting trees, bushes, flowers, or any other items in the space where the capsule was originally buried will lead to the capsule being removed. It is recommended that it is buried on the beach, or near a building where it will not be disturbed.
Sometimes if the villager moves out, they will send a letter a day or so later, instructing the player to open their time capsule and use the items inside it.
- Villagers will forget about their Time Capsules if they move out of the player's town, allowing the player to dig up the Capsule and keep it for themself. This is usually announced by receiving a letter from the Villager that moved out, informing the player that they want the player to unearth the capsule and keep the contents.
- The items inside a Time Capsule are usually clothes, but sometimes wallpapers and carpets or furniture is inside.
- The player cannot create a Time Capsule and bury it; it is a unique villager interaction with the player.
- When time traveling villagers often "forget" about time capsules.
- Once a time capsule is opened, it can not be reburied.