If you’ve been waiting for Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch, then I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little bit longer. The game has been named as Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but unfortunately it’s been delayed from its intended 2019 release date until 20th March 2020.
There’s lots of new things to pick out from the brief trailer that Nintendo showed and the Treehouse stream that followed, including the ability to grow plants, pole vault over rivers, more skin colours to create your character with, and what a much fuller version of multiplayer than we’ve seen before with up to eight players at once.
You have a deserted island setting instead of an established town in this game. You’re really forging new ground here, at the behest of Tom Nook and his development company Nook Inc., making the island into a place that others would want to live on. It’s a bit of a shift from previous games, as you start off with just a tent to sleep in.
You really have the ability to really build everything from scratch, with much more control over the environment. For the first time you can place furniture outside your home, and even the tent you start can be pitched in different places.
Part of the game’s menus are tucked in a cutesy smartphone, a Nookphone, with a DIY Recipes app where you can check the resources you need in order to craft a bunch of items, ranging from tools to furniture. To make a log bench, for example, you need some hard wood, and to get that you need to craft an axe. The Residents Service ARe lets you craft from the resources you’ve collected (for free, thankfully) but there’s always the ability to buy and sell things as well.
The game adheres to your real world time and seasons, as always, so it’ll be a summer’s night in at 10PM on a July day. What’s new in this game is a Southern Hemisphere option that lets you have your local seasons represented in game.
Nook Miles is another app on the phone, tracking all your activities in creepy Google/Facebook style and then handing out something akin to air miles or loyalty card points that you can trade for rewards. This includes just pulling up weeds, among other menial tasks.
Inviting friends into your game is also handled through the NookPhone, where you can “Call an Islander” which calls another player character who is a resident on your island and have them be controlled by a second player with another Joy–Con. Now there’s co-op on a single system and with a single copy of the game. The first player is the ‘leader’ by default, with the camera following them and the main interactions in the game being controlled by them, but you can swap who’s in charge.
You can have up to eight players living on an island with up to four players in local co-op. Local wireless and online multiplayer is also in the game, which can have eight players all playing together at once.
Animal Crossing was announced at last year’s Nintendo E3 Direct. At the time it was an untitled project, but has now been dubbed Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Hopefully we’ll see more of this game soon, but the delay does leave a few question marks over Nintendo’s game line up in the all-important Christmas shopping season. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate broke records for the company when it launched at the end of last year and spurred on the sales of the Switch in the process.
For more news from the Nintendo’s 2019 E3 Direct and all the other news from E3 this year, make sure to keep tabs on our E3 hub.