Our favorite small town simulator is finally back on the radar with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Out this week Pocket Camp shows off a lot of what makes Animal Crossing so fantastic; including decorating a camp ground, building relationships with townsfolk, and collecting fish and bugs. As well as building hype for a game that’s been actually announced, Nintendo is sneakily encouraging more excitement for a possible Switch version of Animal Crossing.
While nothing is official, there is a lot of hope around the Nintendo community for a new Crossing title. The previous Nintendo DS and 3DS entries sold well, with both Wild World and New Leaf each hitting more than 11 million dual screened handhelds. And the core Animal Crossing team should have a new project on their plate since they finished up with Splatoon 2 earlier this year. After the fantastic Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing fans are eager to see what Nintendo brings to the home of Isabelle, K.K. Slider and the increasingly greedy Tom Nook. Here are a few things that we’d like to see in a new entry on Switch.
Completely re-do furniture sets
Decorating your humble little abode has always been at the core of quiet village living, but seeing the same sets of furniture has gotten tiring. Every game has included the same lovely, modern, and exotic furniture sets without adding a whole lot of new pieces. Even finding ways to mix and match them has worn out it’s welcome. There’s so much room for new sets and individual pieces, especially with the improved graphical capabilities. Nintendo could really expand and include more types of furniture giving players more opportunity for customization.
Expand the Mayor feature
New Leaf introduced the ability to actually be mayor (so long, Tortimer), giving players the ability to place and fund public works projects that ranged from a stylish cafe - where town folks can get a brew - to a light-up replica of the Eiffel Tower. Many took advantage of the new features to plan their town down to the tile with designs and public works projects laid from coast to coast. It added a big new layer of interactivity to the series, but fell short in a few spots. Public works projects couldn’t be placed in predesignated parts of the town around the city center, retail shops, and the beach, and new towns folk often ruined town plans by moving in in the middle of a pathway. Being mayor should give you the power to choose your town’s overall layout from the beginning of the game, place public works projects almost anywhere in town including the beach, pick designated spots for new neighbors to move in, and choose from a far bigger list of public works projects to fill your town with.
A more diverse cast of animals
It’s not called Animal Crossing for nothing. A big part of the franchise is interacting with the charming characters that occupy your little virtual slice of life. We’ve seen the cast of neighbors grow entry to entry, but things took a step back in New Leaf. Villagers lost a bit of charm they had in previous games, the variety of the interactions decreased and relationships became repetitive. A lot of this has to do with localization, New Leaf had localized Japanese text instead of full English dialogue like the earlier games. A lot of the conversations that weren’t completely kid-friendly got cut, and a lot of the charm got lost in translation. Even Rossetti, the reset-without-saving mole, got toned down for the 3DS entry.
The Switch version should give the characters more lines of dialogue, including some frustration and crankiness that adds a bit of spice to town. Combine this improvement with more species and ways to interact and then watch the new relationships blossom.
Take the neighborhood to the globe
The city aspect of New Leaf and City Folk was always a bit counterintuitive to the small town vibe of Animal Crossing. The downtown center that included Nook’s shop, the museum, and other hot spots should become an online marketplace while all those buildings should get moved back onto your town map. That downtown space should turn into an online hub for for people to join and buy exclusive items, trade and sell designs, and play various mini-games. The Tropical Island that was introduced in New Leaf scratched the surface of how an online hub could work in Animal Crossing, but never did anything too risky. A bigger hub could be more than just a place to farm valuable beetles for hours on end.
Continue the polish
Each entry of Animal Crossing has continued to improve the series, including new features that expand on the original concept and quality of life improvements. But things can get much, much better. Features that we see in Pocket Camp and Nintendo’s other spinoff, Happy Home Designer, should get implemented into the main series.
Happy Home Designer never felt like a complete game, even though it introduced a lot of cool concepts that we hadn’t seen before. Bringing the furniture placement system and ability to place items outside the house to a main series title would make decorating each room easier and more enjoyable. Fishing, bug catching, fossil collecting, and fruit are all overdue for a makeover, and the Switch’s graphical capabilities could kick Animal Crossing’s visuals into the current generation. Adding more colorful detail to these elements would make every moment spent in game much more engaging and charming.
What would you love to see in Animal Crossing on the Switch? Let us know in the comments below.