Hello all, I don’t know if you’ve realised, but here at LadiesGamers we’re big Animal Crossing fans. I myself have rewatched the E3 trailer and Treehouse footage many times over to absorb absolutely everything about the new game.
A big reason is that since Animal Crossing: New Leaf, I have thought a whole lot about what I think would make good, thoughtful and enriching additions to the well established formula. So much so that I have several slideshows of ideas on my PC that contain increasingly detailed interpretations of what an Animal Crossing game could / should be on a main console.
Despite this however, I was determined to keep an open mind with New Horizons, and though the brief footage shown faces a fair amount of criticism, I’m personally quite pleased with the bright and bold direction the game is seemingly taking. Let’s run down what we know so far…
Ah yes, courtesy of Tom Nook we’re whisked away to a deserted island to found a new paradise. Amongst the trees and weeds you gather resources from your surroundings and craft furnishings for inside and outside your new home as well as tools and various other items.
The crafting system has deepened since its inception within Pocket Camp, it is also entirely optional as the Nooklings still deal in furniture and various other items. So when you collect materials, you can simply bank them towards bells to purchase things instead. This I feel is a brilliant touch and parallels my own personal vision of how crafting could be implemented.
Pair Up Or Play Alongside Up To Eight Players
The co-op and multiplayer features were also showcased both in the trailer and during the Treehouse gameplay. Co-operatively you can hand another player a controller and together interact with your town in various ways. I believe this must be done with human players who exist in the same town, but it allows you to work together. In the Treehouse demo, the presenters gathered materials, shared them between each characters personal inventories and crafted a piece of furniture for the town. It was a neat little presentation that incentivises perhaps opening up your own save file to a friend or relative who can help accelerate your development of your new island.
The 8 player support that was teased during the trailer has only been briefly elaborated. Every town supports up to eight friends in what I can only assume is local wireless or online. The possibility of joining 4 pairs of players has yet to be confirmed but would be a welcome addition. How elaborate the multiplayer options are has yet to be expressed, hopefully the in-game smartphone will play a larger role in keeping players connected.
A quick look at the game and you can see how pretty it looks. Critics may say it’s a little simple, but I like how bright and vibrant it all is. The game has received its own unique style and I really respect that. There are new details in the trees and on the ground. Seeing twigs, wood and stones around the game world makes it feel more alive. Even the weeds have a redesign! You can dig paths rather than rely on designs, there’s a neat little montage in the trailer of the player leaving her tent and developing a little garden then moving on to fences, paths and more intricate layouts.
There’s still a lot of odd little things from the existing footage and dripping through about the game due to journalists getting their chances to chat to the developers. The game now has a minimap that allows you to track your location within your island. Close inspection of the map suggest that multiple land elevations have returned. There are divisions on the map that may point to the game retaining acres as a measurement of game world size, which if so makes this map slightly larger than New Leafs 5×6 with 6×6. That’s if the acres themselves are the same 16×16 tile size, I’m personally hoping for as much space as possible.
Villager houses are placed quite close together which implies getting to choose where your neighbours live, this may have been corroborated by the developers too which is awesome if true. Lastly, if you recall seeing the character vaulting over the river, this may be an initial requirement because the map had no bridges.
Other Little Details
There’s still lots to learn about the game, for instance they’re adding in a hemisphere option so our neighbours both north and south of the equator can experience the correct seasons relative to where they live (or don’t if you fancied a change). Nook Miles are in-game incentives asimilar to Pocket Camps Lifetime Goals which are little milestones that gift various rewards. A camera mode with various filters allow you to take posed photos that save directly to the Switch like any other screenshot. Hopefully video capture makes it in too! There’s still so much to find out though!
What about designs? What about all the other regular characters from past games? Can we still swim? The game is seemingly cutting back to basics but I feel this is a way of easing us into a potentially very deep and diverse new life on our islands. I eagerly await more details in the painstaking 9 months before it’s due to release.
This is the game that is going to finally make me buy a Switch…starting putting a little money away each pay period. Hopefully they’ll be a special edition Animal Crossing Switch!