It's official. The new Animal Crossing Switch game is called Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and unfortunately it's not coming until March 20, 2020. Yes, that's right, although originally it was scheduled for a 2019 launch, it's been delayed into next year "to ensure the game is the best it can be". Despite that, it was still a highlight of the Nintendo E3 2019 Direct, and still counts as one of the most exciting E3 2019 games.
Here's everything we know so far about this amazing new Animal Crossing Switch game:
Animal Crossing Switch release date - When is Animal Crossing: New Horizons coming out?
Nintendo has confirmed that the Animal Crossing Switch release date is set for March 20, 2020. That's quite the change from that 2019 original pencilling, but it looks like it's going to be worth the wait.
Every Animal Crossing Switch trailer we've had so far
We've not even technically had an Animal Crossing Switch trailer yet, but we do have a teaser. All it tells us is that Tom Nook is back, and that Animal Crossing is coming to Nintendo Switch this year. Exciting, right?
All the Animal Crossing: New Horizons gameplay details we know so far
Set on a new deserted island, Animal Crossing: New Horizons will see you settling on a brand new world and working to build it out into a proper little civilisation.
"Players embark on an ultra-exclusive Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package and enjoy a peaceful existence full of creativity, charm and the freedom to roll up their sleeves and make their new life whatever they want it to be," reads the official Nintendo press release. "Players can collect resources they can craft into everything from creature comforts to handy tools as they set up a homestead they can decorate freely, both inside and out."
The focus with Animal Crossing: New Horizons is crafting. By collecting all the things you're used to in the Animal Crossing series, like wood (soft and hard), weeds, flowers, rocks and more, to craft things like furniture and tools. In the above trailer you craft a 'flimsy axe', which you can use to chop down trees. You can still buy items from Timmy nook's shop though, so there are plenty of options for you to obtain new things.
The recipes for crafting themselves are hidden away inside your brand new Nook phone, via an app. You'll be acquiring new recipes through other animals, or by discovering new items, or just directly buying them from the store. There's also a new Nook Miles programme, where you can activities earn you miles, meaning there's a much stronger sense of progression in the game.
You can also use the Nook phone to call an islander to come and help you out in your various tasks. Animal Crossing: New Islanders co-op confirmed! Up to four players can play together just by passing a Joy-Con, or via local wireless connection you can have up to eight players on a single island.
There's also an adorable new Camera app that works as a Photo Mode, with the ability to choose your expression to ensure you get the best shot.
Animal Crossing Switch wishlist - Everything we want to see
After the fantastic Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey, Animal Crossing fans (ourselves very much included) 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.
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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.