E3 2008: Animal Crossing welcomes visitors Nov. 16

Nintendo sets arrival date for City Folk; WiiSpeak attachment to be sold separately for $29.99.

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While the biggest surprise of Nintendo's E3 Media & Business Summit press conference was the announcement of a new Grand Theft Auto game for the DS, the biggest emphasis was placed on long-awaited offerings like Wii Music, a Wii Sports follow-up, and the system debut of the Animal Crossing series.

Like its predecessors, Animal Crossing: City Folk will let gamers live in a virtual small town populated by woodland creatures. The game will keep track of time, encouraging gamers to vary their playing schedules between day and night in order to see everything the town has to offer.

City Folk introduces a number of new features to the series, including an urban area with an auction house populated by other players' possessions and a Happy Room Academy with a leaderboard of sorts. Other additions include the ability to visit friends' towns and support for Nintendo's new WiiSpeak microphone.

Sold separately for a suggested price of $29.99, the WiiSpeak peripheral is not handheld or tethered to a headset, but instead acts more like a speaker phone. The stationary microphone picks up the sounds of whoever is in the room and allows voice chat for gamers who are already Wii Friends.

Animal Crossing: City Folk is set for release November 16. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's first impressions.

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