Villagers are the main NPCs (Non Player Characters) in the Animal Crossing series, and there are currently around 460 of them. They live simple, quiet lives scattered around the player's town. On the release of Animal Crossing: Wild World, villagers started to specialize in hobbies, such as fishing, finding fossils, collecting insects - to name but a few. They are all animals, as the title of the series, Animal Crossing series, suggests, and they come in a variety of species, from mice to elephants. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf villagers are more interactive. They occasionally plant flowers, shake trees or even buy items from the shop.
Villagers move into the town at random, and there is no way to determine who will move in next until their house is set. Each villager initially comes with a unique interior house design, which will gradually change over time depending on what furniture they request (as well as insects, fish, fossils, and clothes) or they obtain. When villagers talk to other villagers clothing change is a frequent occurrence.
The villagers house can be entered if they are either inside or within the same acre. Villagers have varying "sleep cycles", and the house remains locked while they are sleeping. The player cannot see inside chests, wardrobes, or any other type of storage units inside a villager's home; when the player opens one, a specific message will appear relating to each wardrobe, some references to other Nintendo games. The player also cannot turn lights off inside of a villager's home.
As aforementioned, villagers appear as animals within each game in the series. They stand on two feet with the same posture and poise as the human playable characters do. They also wear clothes and make-up, giving them a human appearance. They are capable of acting out different perceived, human emotions from crying to rejoicing, which are considered impossible in most animal species. The playable character can learn these emotions from Dr. Shrunk and Frillard (in City Folk).
This section briefly underlines the key notes about each personality trait. For more information, check out the individual personality pages:
There are different personalities and characteristics found in villagers. All villagers share the same interests and hobbies, but some are more apparent in individual personalities than others. There are several personalities: cranky, jock, and lazy, which are male villager personalities, and snooty, peppy, and normal, which are female personalities. The different personalities share similar traits, especially the male and female equivalents. There are many common characteristics of villagers. For instance, cranky and normal villagers are both set at a mature behavior, snooty and jock villagers act like self-centered, immature teenagers, and peppy and lazy villagers act like children. In addition to this, some lazy and normal villagers tend to be kinder and calmer, peppy and jocks seem to be upbeat, and snooty and cranky seem to be rude. Both ideas of villager equivalents have information to support themselves, but there are no official villager equivalents. There are some new personalities added in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
The starting villagers are the first villagers the player has in their town when they start a new game. The amount of Starting Villagers differs in each game. In Animal Crossing there were 6, in Animal Crossing: Wild World there were 3. In Animal Crossing: City Folk, the amount was reverted to 6. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the amount of starting villagers is 5; however, there cannot be an uchi or a smug villager as a starting villager.
Role in Animal Crossing
Initially in original Animal Crossing, there are 6 villagers in the town when the player moves in. The maximum number is 15. Once 15 villagers have moved in, one of the already existing villagers will attempt to move out to allow a new villager to move in. Villagers have a unique role in Animal Crossing that is not so apparent in Animal Crossing: Wild World. During town events, they gather and celebrate in different areas of the town to partake in different events. Most noted is during the New Year's Eve celebrations, where they gather around the town pond (in future releases, they are simply scattered around town, and have special conversations revolving around the festivities).
During Summer and Winter, a random villager may appear in the town and live inside a tent or an igloo for the day, where they will offer to play games with the player and give the chance to obtain unique items. In future game releases, they are not a source of rare, unique furniture, but become a means of gaining furniture through trades. They also do not camp out, and only live in their homes.
Role in Animal Crossing: Wild World
Initially in Animal Crossing: Wild World, there are 3 villagers in the town when the player moves in, out of a possible 8. Once 8 villagers have moved in, one of the already existing villagers may move out, to allow another new villager to move in, lowering the number to 7 until the new villager moves in. Although villagers do have a similar role as they do in Animal Crossing, they do have a few new features.
When the playable character befriends them, they are likely to give the player a picture of themselves, as proof of their friendship. Each picture has a unique quote for each villager, which can be read when the picture is placed in the player's house and clicked.
There are no tents or igloos in Animal Crossing: Wild World.
They are also competitive in Wild World, a feature unique to the game. During some conversations, they may ask the player if they want to see who can catch the biggest fish or find the rarest insect. These are games which are similar to the Fishing Tourney and Bug-Off. During these events, when two villagers meet they will not talk.
Another new feature were the rumors that some villagers were dating. This could be discovered by talking to some of the villagers in the town, who would either be gossiping about the two villagers, or one of the two villagers in the relationship. Usually, it is snooty villagers who gossip. There was no proof, however, of the two villagers dating, other than through conversation. This feature is not present in Animal Crossing: City Folk and later games.
Unlike the first game, the villagers walk at a much slower pace than the player, which is continued through Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Role in Animal Crossing: City Folk
Initially in Animal Crossing: City Folk, there are 6 villagers in the town when the player moves in. The maximum number is 10. Once 10 villagers have moved in, one of the already existing villagers will attempt to move out to allow a new villager to move in.
Villagers have a slightly different role than in Animal Crossing: Wild World. They no longer compete against the player, as this feature was the prominent feature within the Bug-Off and Fishing Tourney events. They do, however, have a new feature which is playing Hide-and-Seek, where a group of up to 3 villagers hide around the town; behind trees, signs and buildings (but never in them). They no longer give out pictures of themselves when they become friends with the player.
Villagers now talk about the glamour and style found within the city, a new area found in the game. It is the only place in any of the games to find villagers who are not residents in the player's town.
Role in Animal Crossing: New Leaf
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, villagers now both water and plant flowers, shake trees, read the bulletin board and sit on benches and stumps, and in addition pictures and dating gossip are brought back.