Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch)
June 11, 2019 10:21 AM   Subscribe

The next true installment in the Nintendo franchise is (now) slated for a March 2020 release (previously: 2019). Video on twitter (alternative). As usual, you attempt to build an idyllic life from within a capitalist economic system controlled by Tom Nook, with crafting being a significant activity. Features a flimsy axe, sunsets, camp sites, fireflies, and crippling debt.
posted by Wordshore (27 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Animal Crossing is easily my most anticipated game for the Switch but I'm happy that Nintendo seems to be preferring to delay games instead of forcing crunch time on their developers (since they delayed Metroid Prime 4 too.)
posted by Memo at 10:45 AM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

You never know. It might have been because they needed to extend crunch time an extra year.
posted by at by at 10:52 AM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

oh no
posted by Memo at 11:00 AM on June 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

posted by brook horse at 11:04 AM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

My one hope for the game is that it doesn't up being Pocket Camp 2 in regards to paid content.
posted by Memo at 11:07 AM on June 11, 2019 [7 favorites]

Just watched the 20-30 minutes of live gameplay @ the E3 Treehouse and OH ME OH MY. It looks like its taking the best bits of the Animal Crossing things I have found less satisfying/totally sucky (Happy Home Designer, Pocket Camp) and folding those into all the good stuff from New Leaf, etc.

Personal highlights: recipes and crafting! furniture that moves in 1/2 units (one of the nice things in HHD)! wind!

I cannot even be mad at them for taking more time with this.
posted by cocotine at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2019

I'm interested in seeing how they mesh the fandoms between Pocket Camp and the console games. We got a used copy of City Folk for the Wii (the only console we have) because I've enjoyed playing Pocket Camp, but I guess they expect you to log in every day and noodle around, collecting items and eventually paying off your debt. I'm much more likely to do that with my phone than turning on the tv, switching to the Wii, navigating through, etc etc. Finding fossils and updating the museum was fun, but endlessly running around, waiting for a spot to dig wasn't. I know that this type of game has come a long way since the wii, and maybe my issues are already solved in the intermediate games, but I can't imagine spending hours and hours building flimsy axes and retracing my steps in a huge map. Which is fine if I'm not the target demographic (male 18-30), but I'd be interested to see if they try to capture the Pocket Camp fans.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 11:22 AM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

We all know the real reason it got delayed. Tom Nook, that sinister land baron and capitalist magnate, has someone over Nintendo and is clearly extorting them for more money.
posted by Fizz at 11:34 AM on June 11, 2019 [9 favorites]

My one hope for the game is that it doesn't up being Pocket Camp 2

Indeed, I was a little bit worried because the gameplay they showed had a lot of "camping" and that's not what I'm about. I'm here to build/design my home and grow a fruit empire.
posted by Fizz at 11:35 AM on June 11, 2019 [4 favorites]

I know that this type of game has come a long way since the wii, and maybe my issues are already solved in the intermediate games, but I can't imagine spending hours and hours building flimsy axes and retracing my steps in a huge map.

Animal Crossing works much better in a handheld format. I have vivid memories of rolling over in bed every morning to grab my 2DS and turn it on (AC:NL was almost always already up). I carried it with me and checked in periodically throughout the day when I had downtime. I expect on the Switch will be, if not quite the same (it's bulkier and doesn't fit into even the most generous of pockets), a similar experience. I don't feel like it was ever designed to be played for hours and hours at a time--it's always been a 20-30 minute experience in the morning, check in a couple times in the afternoon, another 20-30 minutes in the evening sort of thing. But maybe that's just me.
posted by brook horse at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

Pocket Camp suffers a lot from the free-to-play model, IMO. I tried it, it's literally my only experience with any Animal Crossing game, and I thought it was pretty terrible. But I'm actually considering picking up a Switch by early next year, now. I was watching the Polygon stream of the Nintendo presentation earlier and a lot of people in the chat were immediately going "Animal Crossing Minecraft" and... well, I love Minecraft, especially in that sense of the early stage stuff where you make a place for your home and build a home and so on. I could go for some of those elements, here.

Any good mechanic intended to be monetized F2P will result in something that I will find infuriating, I'm realizing. If they're charging for the game, even if there's some additional paid elements, the core mechanics will probably be less terrible than Pocket Camp.
posted by Sequence at 11:42 AM on June 11, 2019


If you like building/sim type of games, then the Switch has a lot to offer. Not only does it have Minecraft, but we're also getting Dragon Quest Builders 2 which is a combination Minecraft/Stardew Valley/Dragon Quest.

I'm pretty pumped for all the solid building games we're getting in the next couple of months: Mario Maker 2 & Dragon Quest Builders 2. They both look amazing and satisfy that itch of building blocks and adventuring. I think Terraria is also being ported over to the Switch later this year, so that's also in the same vein.
posted by Fizz at 11:47 AM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

One of the nice thing about the original Animal Crossing was the relaxed sense of pace. You could do whatever you wanted, there was no time limit—there was a calendar.

I think that important distinction is why I liked it so much. They broke it it with just so many things to do: write letters to animals, dig holes, shake trees, go fishing, look for weird fossils, find strange visitors, wash cars, chase after dragonflies with a net, etc.

Haven't played it for years but to this day, my first instinct when seeing a dragonfly is to chase after it with a net because you only have the one chance as they move very quickly...
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:52 AM on June 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

I still feel guilty about my Animal Crossing Town that is in my old 3DS. It's just sitting there abandoned, collecting weeds, covered in rotting fruit.

posted by Fizz at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2019 [5 favorites]

I played so much of the original Animal Crossing, in a house I lived in with friends so we had many players in one town, and to this day it's one of my favorite game experiences. Later, my wife and I played it and enjoyed it as well, but the DS version was never quite as good, and Pocket Camp ... I was so excited but ultimately it didn't have staying power. Fundamentally, Pocket Camp is so focused on being a microtransaction-based mobile game that you can't help but seem the basic loop you're forced into, and all the charm in the world can't save it. Plus, the actual "camp building" mechanic just isn't as interesting as the old house building stuff.

I guess ... I'm hoping this new one is good? Maybe? I'm trying not to get my hopes too high, but at least maybe it not being pure F2P will mean it avoids the grind.
posted by tocts at 12:02 PM on June 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I actually have been loving Pocket Camp, it's the one game I've consistently played for the longest time in... my whole life? Bizarre to think about. But the pay to play component has been ramping up steadily over time and I refuse to spend any real money so it's getting harder and harder to not be annoyed. I assume that it will increase in annoyance until March 2020 and then I'll lay down my chunk of cash for an AC that doesn't have ten thousand gotchapon fortune cookies of hell.

It appears that I am maybe an atypical AC player, because the thing I really want that isn't in Pocket Camp is a museum. I want all my different fish and bug and stuff acquisitions presented in a pleasant curative format! It doesn't make sense to have a natural history museum in the middle of the woods, alas.
posted by Mizu at 2:10 PM on June 11, 2019 [6 favorites]

We'll be able to decorate our yards?! Finally a use for all of that cute outdoor furniture.

I'm also nervous that Pocket Camp features will be introduced. Pocket Camp is stressful and real money expensive, not what I want AC to be.
posted by Feminazgul at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Ian Bogost: "It’s always hard to know how you feel about a new Animal Crossing. I think that’s because what you ultimately wants from AC is not novelty but sameness—like revisiting a childhood vacation spot—but sameness is anathema to the consumer video-game market."
posted by Wordshore at 5:01 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

brook horse, the trick to pocket Switch is to take the joy-cons off the side, put the screen in one pocket and the controllers in the other. Really only doable in pants with decent pockets, though. (I really wish the mini Switch rumors are true!)

I'm excited for this! I never really engaged with the GameCube/DS ones and Pocket Camp was very microtransaction focused. Console AC always looked so relaxing.
posted by Anonymous Function at 5:28 PM on June 11, 2019

I kind of love how Tom Nook has moved from mortgage extortion from property sales to what the current generation can truly (sort of) afford: travel.

/snarky comment over
posted by vespertinism at 5:52 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm just surprised that Tom Nook (still) has the tanuki-sized balls to charge you 49,800 Bells for an airplane flight and a tent.
posted by Quackles at 6:17 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks to living in Japan, I understood 49,800 bells as yen at first glance, which does come to a modest $460. Reminder this also includes utilities and internet, from what I remember of the trailer.

I love crafting games where you start from zero, but so many of them (Stardew Valley, Harvest Moon) focus too much on the relationships, when I just want to build and grow things and decorate my house. If I end up getting a Switch, I'll pick this one up, too.
posted by lesser weasel at 6:51 PM on June 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

> Thanks to living in Japan, I understood 49,800 bells as yen at first glance, which does come to a modest $460.

OK, that's not so bad.
posted by Quackles at 6:52 PM on June 11, 2019

My opinion on Tom Nook has completely reversed now that I've learned a little more about how actual capitalists work.

  • Charges no interest
  • Offers loans to everyone, regardless of credit rating
  • Has no annual fees, minimum repayments or hidden catches
Like, he's getting something out of it, sure, but given the ways that actual capitalists would try and screw you he's downright chummy

But yeah, Animal Crossing works so much better on a portable format it's not funny.
posted by Merus at 11:38 PM on June 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'm with Mizu, I also like Pocket Camp, although the current pay to play content is dissatisfying - there's something that I like about its simplicity.

I don't have a switch (yet) but I will consider getting one.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 6:02 AM on June 12, 2019

For all those considering getting a Switch Console primarily to play the new Animal Crossing I'd say wait, the leaks and rumours of new hardware may very well become true before the game is released next year: 2020.

If there is no new hardware, then the current hardware may well have a (natural) price drop and / or special Animal crossing bundles.

If there is new hardware AND it's backwards compatible with existing Switch games then the original Hardware should drop in price if not new then definantly second hand as all the early adopters will be selling their old Switch to make way for the new shiny.

Replacement batteries for the switch are currently relatively cheap and replacing them seems fiddly but again (relatively) easy.

I know not everyone is comfortable dismantling smaller electronics but as long as you have the correct tools
and patience this does initially appear to be a low to medium skill disassembly/assembly from the ifixit guide.
posted by Faintdreams at 8:50 AM on June 12, 2019 [3 favorites]

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