Animal Crossing: New Horizons concept art and early screenshots emerge

(Image credit: Nintendo via Famitsu)

Concept art and early screenshots of Animal Crossing: New Horizons have emerged which show how the game evolved and gives you a look at some of the original design ideas. 

The images, which have been posted along with a detailed summary on Famitsu, were shown during the CEDEC 2020 conference in Japan. The screenshots and concept art gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the early stages of the game's development, with everything from villager designs to new furniture, and the ground textures used to bring Nook's island getaway package to life.

Some truly adorable character design art was shown, including a look at early concepts for the new villagers that came to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, including the internet favourite Dom, as well as the sparkly purple and pink bear Judy, the ever so cool red elephant Cyd, the wolf villager Audie who's said to be named after an internet-famous grandma, and the ever so sweet blue goat, Sherb. 

(Image credit: Nintendo via Famitsu)

As well initial designs for characters, the conference also showed off the new character model with a look at cat villager Bob to demonstrate how the models developed from the 3DS versions in Animal Crossing: New Leaf to the fuzzy toe-bean-having friends we have now on Switch. As you can see from the shots, some of the villagers' features are slightly rounder and a lot smoother in texture, and a lot of work was done to improve facial expressions to bring the villagers to life. We also see how Bob's feet make impressions in the sand, which is a very important feature. 

The conference also went into a lot of detail about the new furniture introduced in New Horizons, with an in-depth look at the design of a fan. The talk also offers insight into how the developers approached making furniture work for both indoor and outdoor environments and how they decided to add different design variations to the same items to appeal to as many people as possible.  

Screenshots taken from the middle of development also show the early look of some of the island textures, such as grass and weeds. The grass originally had a polygonal design pattern with more of 3D texture, but it was "adjusted" to how it looks now, so seeing weeds on the ground is easier. So much was shown in the presentation that it's worth checking out Famitsu's post to catch a glimpse of more design concepts. 

In other news, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is getting Super Mario furniture next year

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.