Feature

Everything We Know About Animal Crossing: New Horizons

by Emma Welch-Murphy on Jul 25, 2019 at 05:15 PM

After seven years without a mainline Animal Crossing release, fans are eagerly anticipating the next installment in the franchise, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, coming to Nintendo Switch. Although Nintendo tried to bridge the gap with spin-offs including Happy Home Designer and Pocket Camp, they never quite managed to deliver the same experience as the bigger editions such as New Leaf.

With the recent announcement to delay the release until March 20, 2020, we decided to dispense with the conspiracy theories and focus on delving into all the details we have accumulated from official trailers and developer interviews.

Tom Nook Is Still Your Fixer/Nemesis

Tom Nook gives your character his “Deserted Island Getaway” package at the beginning of New Horizons. Well, “gives” isn’t quite the correct word to use considering you’re indebted to him once again. Despite a change in setting, there won’t be a change in money troubles.

But your money problems won’t be in vain this time around. Bells (Animal Crossing’s currency) you bring to Tom Nook’s till go toward improving your island. The more you progress, the more his goods and services do as well. 

Timmy and Tommy, Tom’s nephews, also make their comeback. Whether you are looking to build or buy an item, they’re going to be your go-to guys. Their crafting table could be your key to economic success. You can avoid spending bells by gathering materials and making your own items and by sticking to Timmy and Tommy’s craft table; it’s looking like a bell fee will be set in place if you try to craft anywhere else. The tent also has an ATM, which could be and indicator that you can save up bells and chip away at your debt at their tent, too.

Your New NookPhone Is Gospel

Your new NookPhone is slated as the latest addition to the Animal Crossing experience. Five phone apps have been shown to us so far: Camera, Nook Miles, DIY Recipes, New Horizons Map, and Call an Islander. When looking at the dimensions of the interface, it could easily fit in five more apps, so more player options later in the game could be a possibility.

The camera app does exactly what you expect: You take pictures, choose a filter, and then post to social media. But get this, it’s your real social media and not something that’s in-game. So, if you’re looking for a wholesome Instagram story addition, this may be right up your alley.

With Nook Miles, you can track your accomplishments using Stamp Cards and earn rewards from Tom Nook. So far, we have seen three Stamp Cards in the demo that set you up to earn DIY Tools, First-Time Seller, and Weed Eater. We knew crafting tools and selling unwanted items would be necessities, but picking weeds is now more purposeful than just cleaning up your island!

The remaining two apps are just as self-explanatory. DIY Recipes holds all the crafting recipes you can find, while the Call an Islander app connects you and your real-world friends for co-op. Up to eight players can play on the same island simultaneously to explore or even collect materials together.

Villagers And Characters Joining The Journey

In addition to Tom Nook, Timmy, and Tommy, there are other NPCs who live alongside you in town. Your fellow villagers include Fuchsia (the deer), Eunice (the sheep), Freya (the wolf), Hamlet (the hamster), Goldie (the dog), and Olivia (the cat). Depending on your progression, it has also been confirmed that fan-favorite Isabelle makes a comeback at some point in the game to help you build up your island. In past games, she served as your secretary and assistant. It is possible that once Isabelle sees your town growing, she sees that you need a secretary and decides to work for your new character.

Similar to previous games, the characters have unique traits and virtues who interact well with specific personality types. This time around, you can choose where the villagers move. The NPCs are more in sync with the environment as well, collecting materials of their own, reacting when the main player is nearby, and even changing their clothes to match the weather.

Building From Scratch Is (Almost) Everything

Though crafting is a big focus in New Horizons, you have the freedom to either gather materials for building or save up enough bells for purchasing pre-made items. Your character is introduced to the deserted island with a modest tent. From there, you grow the infrastructure as you choose from a plethora of items. So far, we have seen chair swings, fully fleshed-out buildings, paths, farms, and intricate interior designs. New Horizons offers players variety when it comes to creating the island. The potential for diversity ensures that when you hop in co-op, you won’t be visiting islands that look exactly the same every time.

The wreaths hanging on doors and the unique patterns scattered across various objects shown in the previews could indicate more options to decorate and customize. Object placement is not as restrictive now either with the ability to move in half-square increments like in Happy Home Designer. And for the first time in Animal Crossing games, you can place furniture outside – even on the beach.

No Material Goes To Waste

The developers aimed to make all the materials have a purpose. Even if you find an item that you do not commonly use, like weeds, you should be able to sell it to Timmy and Tommy for some extra bells. Although some of the sales may not be particularly profitable, it’s a great way to free up inventory slots, which are still limited in spite of New Horizons bumping up the original 15 slots to 20.

You are going to have to craft your own tools, replacing them when they break rather than repairing them. As a consolation, switching tools is much easier since you no longer have to open up the menu each time to select a new item. Instead, you can toggle between all of your tools for a quick swap.

The Weather Evolves Even If You Don’t

Though the game takes place on a tropical island, you still experience every season, with leaves falling in autumn and snow in winter. The environment is more immersive than ever with weather impacting both your character and surroundings, and you have the option to switch between hemispheres. You can match the weather to wherever you live in the world. Varying degrees of wind trigger subtle effects like rippling water, rustling leaves, or flowing hair and clothing, which are all new improvements to the world of Animal Crossing.

What Else Will We Be Seeing?

This time around, there is a new Animal Crossing soundtrack to accompany the gameplay. You will also continually be able to change the look of your character in case you want to switch up hairstyles, skin tone, or even your entire face. The Nintendo Switch Online app supports co-op play with friends.

Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have cloud saves but it’s going to be Amiibo supported with figurines and cards. Beyond that, no information on their uses and bonus content has been revealed.