Animal Crossing New Horizons Nintendo Direct: everything you need to know

Animal Crossing super fan Sophie Hicks discusses what's on the horizon for the new Animal Crossing game

Sophie Hicks
21st February 2020
About six months ago, Nintendo said that there would be further updates on New Horizons and the Animal Crossing fanbase patiently waited, and waited, until finally, a month before it's release, we finally got what we wanted and it was so much more than we could have ever dreamed of.

Where to even begin? There were so many announcements that it was unbelievably overwhelming because every two seconds I was screaming in joy at the screen (and maybe even a little teary-eyed). I think the newest information that excited fans the most was the addition of terraforming, the ability to customise the island itself - want a smaller river? Sure! Want a cliff? Go for it! The choice is in your hands, meaning that you've been promoted from a lowly mayor into a near-god.

Nintendo will be launching a New Horizons app.

This is super exciting because it feels like Nintendo are actually listening to the fans; previously, custom design slots were used to create the illusion of paths and water, but now we can finally have the real thing and clean up our custom designs for, well, actual designs (which they seem to have added more spaces for). Speaking of design slots, it also seems like you can customise items way more in New Horizons, as the Direct showed custom pillows and mugs.

Alongside more design slots, Nintendo will be launching a New Horizons app which has a sharing platform for QR codes of designs and where we can scan them into our game, which is really exciting because it makes it feel more like a community, rather than having to frantically find dress QR codes on Pinterest.

On the app, it was also announced that you would be able to use voice chat in the game, so that'll be fun for streamers or if you're in a large group of friends. It would appear as though Nintendo did actually factor in streamers when making this game because now you don't have to be friends with someone to visit their island; you can have a temporary code for people to log in with which honestly will make for some amazing Youtube content.

However, terraforming won't come until after you have progressed in the game, but the Direct did show that you can pick a basic layout for your island initially, so at least you have some sort of say at first. You can also finally build houses exactly where you want them, instead of villagers destroying your perfect arrangement and path dreams and if you're super lazy, it seems that there will be a rescue service to fast travel across your island. This seems quite unnecessary but also I am very excited to see this in action because Resetti's music was eerily playing, so perhaps the mole man has gone to the sky this time.

Credit: @ACPocketNews - Twitter

Another fun addition seems to be a Nook Mileage Programme where you can earn miles to get credit for exclusive rewards, which might be fun. It looked kinda like the Island medal quests on New Leaf, so I can't wait to see how they've altered it for New Horizons. It also looks like you can buy something called Nook Mile Tickets, where you can visit mystery islands and harvest their resources (I have already seen plenty of jokes about New Horizons colonialism because of this, and frankly, I can't refuse a good chuckle about it). I can't wait to take out my anger on random islands where I can cut down all their trees and take every inch of resource possible, the way Nintendo intended.

Some other fun changes worth mentioning that I highly appreciated:

  • The cherry blossoms look fantastic (wow, actual flowers rather than just pink leaves).
  • The fact that in autumn the leaves will change gradually in colour, rather than suddenly.
  • Northern and southern hemisphere options. Congrats Australia, you're finally recognised.
  • The museum looks incredible - I can't wait to get frustrated trying to complete it.
  • The fact that there are limited edition letter designs for the seasons! That's so cute. Oh, and seasonal activities sound really fun too.
  • Orville the dodo. I already adore him to pieces, that is all.
  • You can buy items in bulk! Nintendo heard my prayers!
  • The new layout for clothing selection looks really cool and more easily accessible, and kinda Pokemon-esque.

Those were the main focuses of the Direct! I am sad that it seems like a lot of old characters will not be visiting the island as, for instance, it seems like Joan might have retired/died because there's Daisy Mae but honestly she is adorable and I am literally obsessed with her design so I'm not even sad. It looks like they're still going to use some things from New Leaf such as the campsite, so not everything will be new, but I love that they're incorporating other aspects of older games that worked because, in previous installments, they tended scrapped parts of older games (anyone miss the Acorn Festival?)

A downside is that you can only have one island per Nintendo Switch, which seems really odd. I really wish that Nintendo made the option for different save accounts, because a lot of people I know have multiple cartridges of New Leaf so they could have two different towns, so this feels like a complete step in the wrong direction. But, perhaps this will come in future games. It also isn't supported on the cloud currently.

They're going to update the game for every holiday.

Overall, I am super excited for New Horizons, and this Direct is only a snippet of the game so I literally cannot wait. If you get the game near release, then there will be an immediate update for the season so you can start to celebrate Bunny Day in time for Easter!

I love the idea that they're going to update the game for every holiday because hopefully, it'll be more personalised, rather than having the same rewards every single year. And with Pocket Camp compatibility, who knows what else will be available? Either way, Tom Nook will be very excited about the money that I have already spent in his legacy, and the many, many hours I will spend enjoying the game.

Featured image credit: @mayorjersca & @Admiral_Schwal (Twitter)
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AUTHOR: Sophie Hicks
Former TV Sub-Editor for The Courier and BA Media Communication and Cultural Studies graduate

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