It appears the people experiencing the forced update and lockout issue were playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf without the Welcome amiibo update. I guess Nintendo just wanted all players using the Welcome amiibo update for the least buggy online play.

Once the 3DS carried out the forced console and game updates, those with “hacked towns” received the below mentioned error and weren’t able to access their games.

Now that Homebrew, a hacking software, is working with the latest 3DS firmware version 11.3, most players are able to access their towns again. They’re doing so by injecting a backup save file of their town from before they were locked out via JK’s Save Manager, an application on Homebrew.

I’m not sure if this lockout was intentionally booting out hackers or if it was just a bug, but it seems that all is well now.

Original article:

This article is going to be quick and dirty in order to get info out quickly and hopefully get a response from Nintendo.

Here’s the gist: Update 11.3 for 3DS/ 2DS came out in the last couple of days. Some updated quickly, and some waited. Yesterday, some Animal Crossing: New Leaf players (mostly in North America) saw an available update. Many people did not want to update AC:NL or their 3DS version. Why? Because they knew they would no longer be able to “hack” their town with the game’s Save Editor, which I explained in this article. Most 3DS updates patch the current hacking method, but developers normally find a workaround within a week or two.

Now, hacking methods being patched isn’t the issue with this update. The issue is that some people are being forced to update AC:NL in order to open their game. And in order to update AC:NL, those people are being forced to update their 3DS system to 11.3 first.

After these forced updates, many players can’t get into their New Leaf towns. The screen (pictured below) loads a message that says the game needs to be updated in the eShop, even though the game and system are fully updated. This essentially renders the game unplayable.

animal crossing: new leaf

Everyone is experiencing different things with this update. For some people, it’s forced in order to play AC:NL. For some it’s optional, and they can play without updating. Some people (mostly in regions other than NA) don’t show an update at all.

Once updated, some people can play hacked and non-hacked towns normally. Some get a weird message that the game needs an update, even though it was just updated.

At first, players were worried Nintendo was banning those with hacked towns from playing. But that just doesn’t make sense. I’ve never heard of Nintendo rendering games (hacked or not) unplayable with an update. They banned players with hacked Pokemon from using online services in their game, which makes sense, but locking people out of a game is bananas.

This seems like a bug that only some people are experiencing, but the conditions around the issue are very strange. Why are only some people forced to update? Why can some people access their games and others not?

Whether it’s a bug or not, Nintendo needs to tell us something. There are no patch notes for a new AC:NL update on Nintendo’s website, and they haven’t responded to any of my tweets asking for patch notes.

Are you experiencing issues with this new 3DS/ Animal Crossing: New Leaf update? Let me know in the comments, or head to my blog mischacrossing.com where we’re all figuring this out together.


  1. It is strange that nothing happened on mine. I have hacked and my 3ds updated but I can still play. The game updated yesterday and nothing has blocked me out. I had an idea on what to do. I always choose not to share with Nintendo. So maybe that has something to do with it. It is only an idea but it might help. If you want to see my fairytale town visit blueseacrossing.weebly.com or my YouTube channel Magically Blue!

    1. The current theory is hacked towns that were pre-Welcome amiibo update are the ones having the lockout issue. Did you all already have the Welcome amiibo update before this most recent update?

  2. Where I live they don’t force it, kudos to them. I will install it once I can to be fair. But forcing an update is ridiculous. What if I wish to play acnl without internet in another country (which was the case in summer when i traveled). For now I think one of my game has a forced update in order to play, urgh.

  3. Good thing I never updated then, I’m free to play locally with anyone I want and don’t have to worry about this nonsense about having to update every SD card on every system to play it, as it saves the update data on the SD card, not the cartridge.

  4. Maybe if you choose to share progress with Nintendo they can see your towns. And if your town has strange things like trees in the pond then you get banned. Me and my friend only gave ourselves items. So they don’t know we hacked.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *