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Animal Crossing fans are saying goodbye to New Leaf, and it’s heartbreaking

It’s been a good seven years

Animal Crossing New Leaf key art featuring two villagers waving and holding up a chair, while several NPCs surround them with options Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons may be out now, but before fans jumped in, some felt they had something very important to do. A duty, if you will, given their previous life as a mayor. Over the last week in March, many Animal Crossing: New Leaf fans are booting up the 3DS game one last time to see the sights, talk to their villagers, and say a final goodbye.

It’s an emotional venture, but one that makes sense given how Animal Crossing works. Hardcore fans like to play every day, even setting in-game routines for things they like to do daily. And because the game keeps track of the date for big events and holidays, many fans end up playing in the long-term — weeks, months, sometimes even years.

That’s a lot of time to spend with a virtual town and its inhabitants. Inevitably, players get attached to their worlds. This might explain why some folks can’t just move on to a new island and forget about their old buddies. Instead, many are taking to social media to share a final New Leaf experience before moving on to the latest installment on Nintendo Switch.

On Twitter, @forestminish wrote a letter to some of her favorite New Leaf villagers to thank them for their time.

Many players, like @kikisbooknook, had one last night of fun with their pals.

Others, like @angel__crossing, are setting a final bulletin for their town.

Many, like @pokefreak2005, are just taking in the vibes.

New Leaf aficionado @rosahiime, meanwhile, booted up the game to make their town perfect, thereby saying goodbye by casting the village in amber.

“Last night when I turned on my 3DS and looked around, I realized I hadn’t really played this game in a while,” New Leaf player Matthew Brown told Polygon via email.Making any changes felt ... like a betrayal of the happy little home I once made.

“So I finally made the conscious decision to move on,” Brown said.

Here are some of the best sendoffs on social media. Before you start tearing up, however, remember — some of these friends will make a return in New Horizons!