Nintendo has not yet announced much about possible releases in the coming year. After all: One of the most anticipated games for Nintendo's still young console has a release date. The life sim Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be released for Nintendo Switch on March 20, 2020. We have summarized the most important information and innovations.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out in March
At E3, Nintendo offered a first glimpse of what fans can expect from Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch. Fans have already speculated in advance that an offshoot of the Life-Sim would be developed for Nintendo's hybrid console.
However, Nintendo did not provide any official information or suggestions that confirmed the rumors. It wasn't until Isabelle was introduced as a playable character for the beat'em up Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that the Japanese company let the raccoons out of the bag: a new Animal Crossing is in development and it will be released for Nintendo Switch.
At the time, Nintendo named the year 2019 as the period for publication. However, the company did not provide any further details. Around nine months later, on E3 2019, Nintendo showed the first trailer, which also revealed the subtitle of the new Animal Crossing game: New Horizons.
What was particularly exciting was that the name of the game seemed to be the program. Instead of letting players move into a finished village, barren landscapes appeared “on the horizon” that fans themselves had to make habitable. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players build their own village from scratch.
In the meantime, the information has grown and a detailed trailer shows what will be possible on the island:
Nintendo could not keep the release date announced for "sometime in 2019". Animal Crossing: New Horizons is coming to Nintendo Switch on March 20, 2020 - worldwide. The reason for the postponement was as surprising as it was laudable. The development teams should work in an environment with a healthy work-life balance. Instead of the dreaded “crunch” there was exactly the opposite, namely sufficient time resources to complete the game.
The decision fits in with Nintendo's image as a creator of family-oriented entertainment. Starting with your own employees and showing yourself to be responsible to the outside world was not only courageous, but consistent. For these reasons, fans will probably be happy to accept the longer waiting time. The decision will hardly be to their disadvantage anyway, because Animal Crossing: New Horizons will only be released on the market when it is actually finished.
What is Animal Crossing: New Horizons doing differently than before?
Initially, Animal Crossing: New Horizons also relies on the usual playful structure of the popular Life Sim. Players take care of the citizens of their village, interact with the neighbors, spend their time fishing and catching insects, or digging for fossils. A large part of the time in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is taken up again by decorating your own home.
Players can freely decide on the appearance of their character. There will be different skin colors to choose from, as well as hairstyles or facial features. The appearance can also be changed at any time during the game.
The borrowings from the mobile offshoot Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp are particularly noticeable. So players go in search of different building materials from which new objects, such as furniture, can be created. A completely new tool will be a stick that players can use to jump across rivers.
Also new will be the “NookPhone”, a kind of database tool that players can use to search for recipes or to manage the friends list. The progress of the game - the so-called nook miles - is also recorded by the innovative “smartphone”, as are photos that can be recorded with the device. The achievable progress points that can be exchanged for recipes or in-game items are particularly interesting.
Environmentalists will be pleased that trees can now be completely dug up and replanted instead of having to chop up the trunks.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons shouldn't miss the so-called “quality-of-life improvements”, ie improvements in the user experience. This is particularly noticeable when decorating. From now on, players can no longer just place pieces of furniture in their house, but also outside of it. The new villagers also have to be “placed” at New Horizons. They don't just move in somewhere, they have to be actively assigned to a place. So players decide directly on their neighborhood. In any case, the new villagers are not satisfied with the choice of their new place of residence.
Will there be multiplayer content?
With the multiplayer mode, Animal Crossing: New Horizons behaves like its predecessors. Players can invite their friends to visit their village. In local multiplayer mode, an island world can accommodate up to four players; in online mode, up to eight players are possible at the same time. In order to be able to use the online features, an active subscription to the Nintendo Switch online service is still required, which is either EUR 3.99 per month, EUR 19.99 per year or EUR 34.99 per year as a family group.
Pretty good: Animal Crossing: New Horizons will also feature a “couch co-op” mode. With the help of the “NookPhone” players can then call other players who live in a house on the island. Then the JoyCon is simply passed on and played together. However, there is no split-screen mode, instead the inviting player is marked with a flag. The camera is then centered on this “leader”. However, whoever takes the lead can be freely decided at any time.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is unlikely to support cloud storage. So the game behaves like few other titles for Nintendo Switch. This is supposed to ensure that it is impossible to manipulate the scores.
Are popular characters returning?
Because someone finally had to develop the “NookPhone”, at least Tom Nook returns in Animal Crossing: New Horizons - as does his nephews Tommy and Timmy, who are now supposed to play more important roles. The Nook family offers various services on the island, including selling or building furniture. On the screenshots and in the videos, other popular characters are also visible, albeit briefly: including Goldie, Fuchsia or Angus - probably also Isabella.
Mr. Resetti will also have an appearance in the new offshoot, but with a different function than before, because Animal Crossing: New Horizons saves the game status automatically. So far, Mr. Resetti has saved players from losing their progress when turning off the game by saving the game status on request. Because that is no longer necessary, Mr. Resetti is unemployed on at least this point. According to game director Aya Kyogoku, Resetti will return in a new role.
However, there is no detailed information about returnees or their tasks in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There will likely be more hints as the release date of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch gets closer.
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The game can already be pre-ordered in the well-known online shops at a price of around 70 euros, but possible pre-order bonuses are not known. And that, although Animal Crossing: New Horizons should be released in around three months. Nintendo remains true to its line - based on New Horizons, that would probably be a good strategy from a purely playful perspective.
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