The lead developers of Animal Crossing: New Horizons think you'll have a better time overall if you don't time travel, but they're not trying to make you feel bad about it or anything.
New Horizons game director Aya Kyogoku and producer Hisashi Nogami talked to the Washington Post about how the game takes a new approach to some issues that players had with previous Animal Crossing titles. For instance, crafting gives players who keep odd hours something to do when the shops are closed and their animal friends are asleep.
“Because the Animal Crossing series is tied to the real-time clock, there are users who want to play late at night or who want to play early in the morning,” Kyogoku said. “By giving those users an option to craft, we thought this would be a new way for them to play and to acquire [craftable] items.”
New Horizons also handles seasonal events like the upcoming Easter-inspired Bunny Day differently; while you can still travel to any time of the year by updating your Switch's system clock, the events themselves will only begin once an online update adds them to the game. Kyoguku said this "wasn’t our way to shun away time travel by any means" though it does have the effect of reducing its appeal.
“We think that in order for the players to play for a very long time, and also for players to share the experience with their friends or family, we do think that playing without traveling would probably be the ideal way,” Nogami added.
If you just like the idea of having different seasons in Animal Crossing than the ones you're experiencing in real life, don't forget that you can choose whether to live on an island in the northern or southern hemisphere!
Make the most of your island time with our list of Animal Crossing: New Horizons tips.