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Nintendo Delayed ‘Animal Crossing’ to Maintain ‘Good Work-Life Balance’

Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has been delayed to March 20, 2020, but Nintendo says it had a good reason: to avoid crunch, the harmful but widespread software-industry practice of working extreme amounts of overtime near a project’s deadline.

Nintendo has a history of delaying video games, including 2017’s “Breath of the Wild,” which eventually launched to massive success and universal acclaim. In 1996, Shigeru Miyamoto, of “Mario” and “Zelda” fame, delayed the release of the N64 console by several months. A quote widely attributed to Miyamoto at the time is still in use today: “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.”

“For us, one of our key tenets is that we bring smiles to people’s faces, and we talk about that all the time. It’s our vision. Or our mission, I should say. For us, that applies to our own employees. We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance,” the aptly named Doug Bowser, president of Nintendo of America, told IGN. “We will not bring a game to market before it’s ready. We just talked about one example [with ‘Animal Crossing’]. It’s really important that we have that balance in our world. It’s actually something we’re proud of.”

The company’s stock reportedly took a $1 billion hit for the decision.

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11 to 13. As is tradition, however, things kicked off early on Saturday at 12 p.m. ET with Electronic Arts’ EA Play event, which was held at the Hollywood Palladium on June 8 and 9. Microsoft had its big Xbox E3 2019 Briefing on Sunday, June 9, at 4 p.m. ET.

E3 2019 is coming to Los Angeles on June 11 through 13, and we’ll cover all the highlights of the event here at Variety as well.

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