NOTICE: I decided to move the town name ideas portion of the post (which used to be buried at the very bottom of this long post) to its own, unique page. The post below details my pre-release thoughts and plans about what my future New Leaf town would be like!
As most Animal Crossing fans know by now, the release date for the English version of Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS has been announced: June 9 for North America and June 14 for Europe. I don’t have any extreme emotions towards the date itself (June or later was what I was expecting, so I’m glad it wasn’t pushed back further than that), I’m just thrilled and excited that there is now a specific, concrete date that I can mark my calendar with, count down for, and look forward to.
And now that my obtaining AC:NL isn’t in the vague category of the not-too-distant-future, but rather has a definite date (I’ve pre-ordered it, so I’m pretty sure I will have it in my hands on June 9), psychologically it almost feels like a deadline to figure out things like my town name, my character name, and what I want my town to be like by then. So I have been thinking more about these things since the release date was announced.
My future town name is what I’ve been brainstorming about the most, and it’s also what I would like your opinions on the most, but first I’ll share some general hopes/plans I have for my AC:NL town.
Fruit: I like apples and peaches best, but I’m not too picky about the official town fruit. You can always plant different fruit trees later.
Grass: Hoping for triangle grass/square snow.
Town type: The “beautiful town” type. I’ve heard that if you choose it, villagers help out in watering flowers, planting flowers, and pulling weeds, and that time-travelling doesn’t affect the town’s environment somehow. (Hopefully there will be no need for me to time-travel, though.)
Town Map: The town maps are pretty different in AC:NL. (Check out this post for info. :)) At 5 acres wide and 4 acres tall, they are larger than AC:WW towns and smaller than AC:CF towns. The town is bordered on two sides by the ocean, which is new. As usual, there is a river running through town to meet the ocean at the town’s border, but there are no split rivers available this time. In general, I like really curvy, winding rivers in town maps. But the more winding a river is, the longer it is and the more space it takes up, and I’ve heard that space in AC:NL towns can get pretty cramped because of all the new town projects and sites you can build. So now I’m re-thinking what I want my town’s river to be like; in this case, a simpler river might be better. I might just have to wait until I actually get the game and see if there’s a charming layout and town that jumps out at me. I also like having multiple ponds in Animal Crossing towns, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for that as well.
House location: I plan on having one character’s (probably my main one, who I’m thinking about naming Lyra or Violet…I’ll think about it more) house being near the waterfall. The other characters’ house locations will probably have to be determined once I pick out a town.
Among the four initial, basic styles (or color schemes) a train station can come in, I think I like the one with the blue roof best:
But eventually you can remodel it if you have enough WiFi visitors over to your town, and I will probably take that opportunity to change it to the Märchen style:
Therefore, the original style it comes in might not be so important; I may or may not reset for a specific basic style that I like.
Like the train station, the town hall in an AC:NL town can come in one of four different (and non-choosable) initial, basic styles. One of the styles is very similar to the look of AC:CF’s and AC:WW’s town hall, so I like it because it’s familiar, and I also like the one that is dark blue and dark brown:
Like the train station, you can remodel it eventually (if you have a perfect town), so I will probably change it to the Märchen style as well:
I don’t love the Märchen town hall quite as much as the Märchen train station, but it’s good for things in town to match to give a unified feel, and there are only three remodeling options to choose from.
Town decorations, feel, and theme/concept: After perusing this town customization objects page for a while, I think I’ve decided that I want to remodel my train station and town hall to the Märchen style (when I can), and therefore it makes sense to have other Märchen-themed objects around town as well. I especially like the Märchen bridge, bench, and clock. In addition, I’ll use other decorative objects/plants that won’t clash with the Märchen series, like greenery (hedges and bushes), the rose arch, the flower clock, fountain(s), hot springs/geysers, etc. When these things are all put together, in addition to organized flower gardens, trees/orchards, and paths, I think it will give off a city feel. Not a modern, urban city! (There are indeed customization objects of that theme available in AC:NL — a fire extinguisher, modern lamp post, garbage can, street signs, etc. — but stuff like that doesn’t personally appeal to me for an Animal Crossing town.) The Märchen decorations have an extravagant feel to them and a variety of intricate designs and colors, which is more fitting for an old city than a modern one with minimalistic skyscrapers and concrete. Märchen in German means “fairy-tale,” and there is definitely a fanciful element like that in the series, especially the train station that looks like a castle gate. A theme like this greatly appeals to me; I can only imagine how lovely it will feel to spend some time in my beautiful, lavish, fairytale-esque city after a long day. But it will take a long time to get to that point, of course. 😉
This leads well to my ideas for a…
In my AC:GC and early AC:WW days, I didn’t put too much thought into town names, so I ended up regretting them later on (ie. my first AC:WW town, Cutetown). For my most recent towns, Dafdilly in AC:WW and Seahaven in AC:CF, I put a fair amount of thought into the town names and still love them to this day. I tried to have each name match the feel/concept for its town. Dafdilly brings to mind “daffodil” and I often had many flower fields and flower-themed paths around town. There’s also something whimsical in the name Dafdilly that’s reflected in the pastel house styles with their checkered doors and the almost gaudy patterns I’ve used, like my CandyLand patterns and my first pastel rainbow brick path bordered by matching flowers. Seahaven’s planned concept was much different; when I hear the name, I think it sounds like a place that’s calm, peaceful, and elegant. To reflect this, I wanted a palace gate, lighthouse, fountain, white stone main paths, white pebble side paths, and neatly canalled streams, but I didn’t get that far in AC:CF.
Of course, I want my AC:NL town name to be just as fitting for its fairytale city concept (described earlier) as my previous town names were for their respective town concepts. Though none of the town names I’ve come up with so far have made me think, “that’s the one, it’s perfect!” to the extent that Dafdilly and Seahaven did when I came up with those. So hopefully I will either think of something even better between now and June 9, or (with the help of your feedback! :D) I will decide that one of the town names I’ve already come up with is the best option.
So, on to my first idea for a town name…
How I came up with it: Ys (pronounced EESS) is the name of a mythical city on the coast of Brittany that was swallowed by the ocean. I have read a book series inspired by the myth (but it was not the myth itself), and in that series Ys was a beautiful coastside city that really appealed to me, so having my AC:NL town called Ys as well should bring to mind related images, feelings, and other associations. I also like the album called Ys by harpist and singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom.
Why it could be fitting for my AC:NL town: Since Ys is a legendary, mythological city, I think it’s clear why it could possibly be a fitting name for the fairytale city concept I’m planning. According to the myth, Ys was the richest trading port in the Atlantic, so it would make sense to have the extravagant Märchen buildings and decorations I want in my AC:NL town. Another thing that’s fitting about it is that AC:NL towns have an increased coastline, and Ys was a coastside city.
Reservations about this town name: If I were playing AC:NL on my own — no blog, no WiFi — I might have less hesitations about using this name. But I hope to blog about my town and WiFi a fair amount, so what other people might think about my town name factors into my decision somewhat. (And that’s why anyone reading this post would be very helpful in providing feedback! :)) My reservations about naming my town Ys include that it’s not obvious how to pronounce it, and that the source of the name (the myth) might not be extremely well-known. So it might seem like a fitting town name to me, but it could seem strange to someone who has never heard of the mythological city of Ys.
My second idea:
Cittàgazze (+ inspired variations)
How I came up with it: As with Ys, I have drawn the name Cittàgazze from a book series. In Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, Cittàgazze is a city in a world in a parallel universe. Cittàgazze is significant because someone from the city long ago invented a special knife (called the Subtle Knife) that can cut through any material, including the material of the universe itself, to create “windows” between worlds. The main characters of the series, Lyra and Will, each eventually find their way to Cittàgazze through one of these windows from their respective worlds. (Will is from our world, but Lyra isn’t.)
The first description of Cittàgazze is given as Lyra sees it in the aurora borealis, which, according to the book, thins the barrier between the dimension in which the story takes place and the dimension of Cittàgazze, making it visible as a city in the sky:
“And as she gazed, the image of a city seemed to form itself behind the veils and streams of translucent color: towers and domes, honey-colored temples and colonnades, broad boulevards and sunlit parkland.” — The Golden Compass
A more detailed description is given when Will enters Cittàgazze for the first time through a window from his (our) world:
Will looked around carefully. Behind him the full moon shone down over a distant prospect of great green hills, and on the slopes at the foot of the hills there were houses with rich gardens, and an open parkland with groves of trees and the white gleam of a classical temple.
The air of the place had something Mediterranean or maybe Caribbean about it. Will had never been out of England, so he couldn’t compare it with anywhere he knew, but it was the kind of place where people came out late at night to eat and drink, to dance and enjoy music. Except that there was no one here, and the silence was immense.
Little grocery shops and bakeries stood between jewelers and florists and bead-curtained doors opening into private houses, where wrought-iron balconies with thick flowers overhung the narrow pavement, and where the silence, being enclosed, was even more profound.
The streets were leading downward, and before very long they opened out onto a broad avenue where palm trees reached high into the air, the underside of their leaves glowing in the streetlights.
On the other side of the avenue was the sea.
Will found himself facing a harbor enclosed from the left by a stone breakwater and from the right by a headland on which a large building with stone columns and wide steps and ornate balconies stood floodlit among flowering trees and bushes. In the harbor one or two rowboats lay still at anchor, and beyond the breakwater the starlight glittered on a calm sea.
— The Subtle Knife
I love this description, so beautiful and evocative that I feel like I’m there. I have my own vision of Cittàgazze when I read that, but here is someone else’s interpretation of what it looks like:
Why it could be fitting for my AC:NL town: First of all, I simply like the way Cittàgazze sounds. But I also like it because it brings to my imagination all the associated mental images I have with the beautiful description above. When I read that description about the ornate towers and domes in Cittàgazze and look at the fan art above, I think the Märchen decorations, especially the town hall, might be fairly fitting and evocative of the same mood. There are other bits and pieces that could be easy to emulate in my AC:NL town: “houses with rich gardens,” “an open parkland with groves of trees,” and “a broad avenue where palm trees reached high into the air.” I will also just try to capture the general feel of Cittàgazze in my AC:NL town: the mystery, wonder, and beauty of the city, and the feeling that it’s the “kind of place where people came out late at night to eat and drink, to dance and enjoy music.” The fact that Cittàgazze is a city near the sea is also fitting since Animal Crossing towns are always near the sea.
Reservations about this town name: If it weren’t for the character limit for town names, I would have no reservations at all about naming my town Cittàgazze. But as you’ve probably noticed, Cittàgazze has 10 letters, and unfortunately, the limit for Animal Crossing towns is 8. I have several options:
1) Ci’gazze is a canon shortening of the name Cittàgazze, so that could be a possibility. In dialogue throughout the books, the characters often say Ci’gazze instead of Cittàgazze. But it’s not quite the same to me without the “Citta” in front. 😦
2) I could try to come up with a name that isn’t the same as Cittàgazze, but is inspired by it and attempts to have the same feel. One that I’ve come up with is Citalune (or Citàlune… should I keep the à? :?). The idea is combining two words for “city” and “moon.” I like the idea of this town name and it stays true to my fantasy city concept. I also like the way it sounds and the way it rolls off the tongue better than something like “MoonCity” which also fits the character limit. What are your thoughts on Citalune vs. Ci’gazze? Or do you prefer Ys, or have other ideas? I really appreciate feedback and opinions in the comments section and through this poll:
General Town Name Ideas/Methods
Now that I’ve gone over my ideas for my own AC:NL town name, I thought I could go over some other methods for coming up with town names for others who might be having trouble deciding what to name their future AC:NL town. Maybe some of it will help (or maybe not…)
Method 1 — Drawing inspiration (or directly taking from) video games, movies, books, music, art, real places, mythological places, etc. Just like Ys and Cittàgazze for me, maybe there is a special location name from a book, movie, or video game that you like and that has special significance to you, so naming your Animal Crossing town after it will make your town that much more special. I know I’ve seen many people take names from Zelda, Pokemon, Twilight, The Hunger Games, and so on. I personally like many of the location names from the Lord of the Rings; TheShire (or just Shire), Hobbiton, Bywater, Lórien, Rivendel, Nimrodel, Valinor, Ithilien, Fangorn, Rohan, Númenor, Bree, and Mirkwood are all examples that fit the character limit. You can also draw inspiration from a certain source, but modify it in some way, ie. Mistwood instead of Mirkwood.
Method 2 — Stringing various syllables together: Another way to come up with a town name (and I find it pretty difficult) is to put different syllables or sounds together to create a brand new name. It doesn’t necessarily have to make sense or have a certain meaning, and maybe if you brainstorm hard enough, you’ll think of a great unique town name that doesn’t yield any google search results (ie. Jemma’s second AC:WW town, Ebatong). A town name created with this method can also hint at a certain meaning (via the syllables/roots used), but still remain somewhat abstract.
Method 3 — Using a single word: Since the 8 character limit is so restricting, sometimes just a single word isn’t a bad choice for a town name. I recommend looking for a single word that you find both beautiful to hear and appealing for your town. Examples: Luminous, Celestia, Melodia, Harmonia, Asphodel, Marigold, Rosemary, Cerulean, Amarylis, Anemone, Halcyon, Cypress, Willow, Cascades, Fantasia, Aurora, Crescent, Amethyst, Sapphire, Leisure, Tranquil
Method 4 — Putting two words together: Even if you might be unfamiliar with viewing this as a specific method, I’m sure you’ve seen many town names like this before, like all the names with a four letter word and “town” at the end. I came up with the town name Seahaven using this method. Below I’ll list some basic beginning words and ending words (though there are countless others) that you can mix and match together to produce a town name.
Things to remember when using this method:
1)To use the list below, I recommend browsing one column at a time rather than one row at a time. Picking a certain word from one of the columns, then going through the other column to see if there’s a good match, is a good way to come up with a nice town name. You can also come up with your own beginning/endings, of course.
2) It’s important to keep the 8 character limit in mind when coming up with a town name this way. To use Seahaven as an example, “haven” is five letters, so I could only use three letters for the beginning word. There are numerous three letter words you can place there: Sunhaven, Oakhaven, Skyhaven, Oldhaven, Newhaven, and so on, but I liked Seahaven best.
3) If you have enough room to do so, you can put a space in between the two words, ie. ‘Red Bank’. If there’s not enough room for a space, you can put the two words side by side with no space in between, ie. Seahaven or SeaHaven. (You can choose whether or not to capitalize the second word.)
4) The beginning words and ending words are somewhat flexible. Some words can be used for either the beginning or ending.
Ol / Ol’ / Old
St / St.
Mt / Mt.
Air / Airy
Grey / Gray
street / St.
coombe / coomb / combe / comb
bourne / bourn / burn / bern
ville / vill / vil
villa / vila
down / downs
fall / falls
town / ton
burg / burgh
road / Rd.
lane / Ln.
dell / del
Maybe I’ll try to keep the list above updated as I think of more, but that is enough to start with for now. I hope it might be helpful to someone, it can produce some nice town names: Fairview, Oakglade, Firshade, Sunshore, Goldleaf, Lilywood, etc.
For specifically coming up with a town name for AC:NL, maybe thinking about the new features in the game could stir your imagination on a name that would be fitting: the new “official tree,” the increased coastline, the cliff-side beach, the nearby city, the island, the 3D, and the new outdoor customization options. For example, if you want to use the Japanese outdoor decorations, maybe you’ll want a Japanese-inspired name.
Sorry for writing so much! >_< And thanks to any of you who got through it all. 🙂 I appreciate opinions/views on my town name debate in the comments section and votes in the poll I set up! On a side note, I'm still working on getting Dafdilly back in order so that I can catch up to the present and play in it and post on it regularly again. Hopefully in a week or two I will be about done with that or made significant progress.