There are several different methods you can use to brainstorm or choose your town name:
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.