The wait for ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ hasn’t been easy for fans. Ever since the Switch debuted three years ago, people have been waiting to play their favorite life-simulation game on the console. After promising to release the title in 2019, Nintendo announced at last year’s E3 that it would actually be coming on 20th March 2020. Those months were tough, especially as they passed by with little new information about the game. However, now, just four weeks before ‘New Horizons’ arrives, we’ve finally gotten everything we’d been hoping for.
What we knew already
Going into this Direct, we weren’t completely clueless about what to expect from the game. We knew that rather than moving to a new town, players would instead establish themselves on a deserted island. The point of this was so that people would have more control than ever before in how their new virtual world was created. From where people live to how quickly development progresses, the power was finally in gamers’ hands.
What’s more, Nintendo had also teased some exciting new features too. This included the ability to craft furniture and place it outside, as well as the opportunity to dig up trees and plant them somewhere else fully-grown. Of course, this wasn’t enough to keep fans going until March, which is why we got this Direct.
The big new features
The 25-minute video was packed full of information, some of which we already knew. However, several big new features caught our eye, particularly the mystery tours. These would appear to replace the island from ‘New Leaf,’ with players able to visit unknown destinations to catch fish, collect materials, and meet new residents. The island that you visit is different every time, meaning you’ll always have a unique experience waiting for you out there. Perhaps one place has some rare bugs while another has flowers you’ve never seen before. You’ll only find out once you get on a plane and go travelling.
Something else that we were delighted about was the return of classic buildings. For months, we had no idea if you had to travel elsewhere for things like the museum, or if you’d be able to build them on your island. It turns out that Nintendo opted for the latter, which we think is for the best. Although we don’t know when the Able Sisters, Nook’s Cranny, etc. will become available, we do now that we’ll have control over where they go. As we said before, the power really is in the player’s hands this time.
Other little details
A lot of what makes Animal Crossing shine is the little stuff. These are the things that dramatically improve your quality of life in the game. Plenty of smaller features like this were highlighted in the direct, including improved inventory for clothes and tools. Now, a wheel comes up when you want to change something, making it easier than ever to find what you want. That’s super convenient if a scorpion’s chasing you down, and you need to get out your net.
Other features mentioned in the video included the ability to send postcards to residents instead of letters, and the option to jump over sections of the river without a pole. You can also now dig into a river or cliff to change its shape, as well as establish slopes for easier movement between levels. Plus, you can store things in your home straight from your inventory, and even arrange your furniture using an enhanced system from ‘Happy Home Designer.’
Connecting with the real world
Anyone with ‘Animal Crossing’ amiibo and amiibo cards is in luck too because ‘New Horizons’ will continue to support the merchandise. Like in ‘New Leaf,’ it appears that players can use the cards to invite residents to their campsite and convince them to move to the island. Moreover, you can also organize photo shoots where you can dress up the animals for some memorable snaps.
The game also intends to utilize Nintendo’s mobile app by offering players a variety of useful features. That includes the option to scan clothing QR codes from either ‘New Leaf’ or ‘Happy Home Designer’ and bring them over to ‘New Horizons.’ What’s more, you can also chat with other players via the app, either through voice or text. This is something we’ve come to expect from ‘Animal Crossing’ games, so we’re glad to see it’s making a return.
Same old, same old
For the most part, the features that were present in previous games all appear to be returning. That includes the NPCs, with Savannah, Wisp, Label, Isabelle, and Kicks all showing their faces in the video. It did appear like Joan, Nat, and Wendall had been replaced with new characters, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be in the game. Perhaps they just wanted a break from their jobs and will visit your island for some relaxation instead.
Special holidays will also be returning in ‘New Horizons,’ meaning we can expect to see Jingle, Franklin, and Zipper T. Bunny all back for their respective celebrations. These will be introduced via free updates, the first of which will be available on launch day. That’ll allow you to celebrate Bunny Day when it comes around in April.
There’s so much more that we could talk about, like Resetti’s new fast travel system or the ban on using certain tools on other people’s islands. However, we’re just going to let you soak up everything that we’ve learned about this gorgeous new game. Knowing what we do now has us even more excited for ‘New Horizons,’ and we’re just so desperate for it to be 20th March already. Thankfully, it’s only a few more weeks away.