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Animal Crossing: New Leaf gives players new shortcut for changing their skin tone

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It’s not a perfect solution, but tanning is no longer required

Nintendo via Polygon

One of the many quietly added features in Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s Welcome amiibo update is the ability to change a player’s skin tone. Players can now alter the color of both a character’s face and extremities by using the Mii Mask item, addressing one of the most criticized aspects of the game.

When visiting the barbershop in the village shopping area, the player has the option to purchase the Mii Mask makeup item. That’s nothing new, and just as it did in the past, it will transform an Animal Crossing character into a player’s chosen Mii character. Previously, the Mii Mask stopped just below the neck; a character’s limb’s remained the pale white that all New Leaf characters have by default.

Now, however, it’s not just the face that changes skin tone. All exposed body parts will match the color of the Mii Mask, so that players can actually customize characters across a much broader spectrum of color. That’s not a perfect fix, of course, as players are forced to be Mii characters instead of the much cuter Animal Crossing characters of their design in order to preserve the skin tone. The point is, though, it’s far more than what the game offered by way of diversity previously.

Before this tweak, players had to spend hours on New Leaf’s sunny tropical island resort for their players to get a tan, which was an ephemeral workaround to the game’s limitations. Prior to the game’s launch, players were in uproar about the plethora of customization options in every area but skin tone. The game allowed players choose the particular color of their socks and design every inch of their clothing, Nintendo announced, but different skin colors were still off-limits.

Compounding players’ frustrations, Mii Masks in Animal Crossing: City Folk on Wii could be used to change Mii characters’ skin tone, including their limbs. When Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer launched last fall and let players design their characters with a bevy of skin tone options, it made the lack of a similar feature in New Leaf sting even more.

A Mii Mask is not at all comparable to a player’s natural Animal Crossing self boasting a skin tone other than “pale white,” but it’s a small addition that should still have meaning for those who have long decried New Leaf’s questionable homogeneity.