Animal Crossing: New Horizons Island Customization, Holiday Updates, and More Detailed
The release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is only a month away, and the latest Nintendo Direct just provided an information blowout on the game. After months of meager updates, Nintendo has finally detailed what really makes New Horizons unique – first off, you’ll have much more control over your surroundings than in the past, as you’ll be able to choose your island layout beforehand, fully terraform anything you want to change, and decide where new villagers’ homes will go.
Oh, and don’t worry, most of the classic locations, like the museum and various stores, will show up on your island eventually. Tom Nook will still be breathing down your neck, as you may find yourself paying off two different loans to the furry leg-breaker – completing certain challenges will earn you “Nook Points,” which you can use to pay off the cost of your flight to the island, and you can also opt to buy a house with the attached mortgage.
Nintendo also revealed Animal Crossing: New Horizons will launch with a mobile app, NookLink, which will let you import designs from earlier AC games and chat with friends. Post-launch support is also coming, as the series’ traditional holidays are being transformed into full events. If you’ve got about half an hour to spare, you can check out the full Animal Crossing Direct, below.
Here’s a rundown of all the fresh Animal Crossing: New Horizons details:
Features new to Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Life on the Island: Nook Inc. confidently recommends a trip to a remote deserted island. And that’s not just because it’s the only company that offers this type of package! On the island, life is as peaceful and relaxing as it gets. Since the island is deserted, you can create your new life from the very beginning – just like a pioneer! Time flows as naturally as in the real world, including seasons and day and night cycles that mirror real time.
- Choose Your Island: Before boarding your flight to the island, you will choose the island from a range of options. Choosing to live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, for example, will affect the timing of the seasons, so select the location that suits you best. When the seasons change on the island, so do the activities. For Northern Hemisphere residents, spring will just be starting when the game launches on March 20, so expect blooming cherry blossoms to show up soon!
- DIY: By collecting specific materials around the island, you can craft a wide variety of things, including tools and furniture. DIY workshops teach you how to enrich your life by crafting DIY recipes. As you become more familiar with DIY, you can even learn special skills like changing the color of your DIY furniture or decorating them with custom designs.
- NookPhone: Nook Inc. will provide some basic necessities and services, including your very own NookPhone. It has standard apps, like a camera and map, but over time, new applications will be added to support your island needs. The camera can be used to take in-game photos all over the island – you can even add fancy filters like all the cool kids are doing!
- Nook Miles: For players looking for more concrete goals, and to help offer guidance and inspiration on the island, you can take advantage of the Nook Mileage program. As you fulfill certain challenges and experiences, you will earn miles to pay off the cost of the getaway package or, eventually, to exchange for in-game rewards. Rewards range from in-game Nook Inc. merchandise and helpful items that can enrich your time on the island, to tickets that you can use to visit distant islands.
- Island Tours: These “mystery island tours” are at the whim of the pilot, so you never know where you will end up! Once on these smaller islands, feel free to gather as many items as you want – like DIY materials and creatures – and take them back with you to your island.
- Party Play: With the Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway package, up to eight people can live on one island. In Party Play, you can call up to three other players to explore the island at the same time. Whoever calls the others will be the Leader, making the others the Followers. It’s easy to change out the Leader, letting others quickly take charge. Any creatures or items found by Followers will be stored in a recycle box at the Resident Services building!
- Land Development: While you can cross rivers on your island by pole-vaulting and climb elevated land using ladders, you can also change the landscape by adding bridges and slopes. Once your island is fully decked out, you’ll receive a permit to freely pave your own paths, as well as perform major construction like changing the paths of rivers or building and demolishing cliffs. With your own maintenance and construction permits, you can flex your creative muscles on the land itself, not just the stuff on it.
- NookLink: Yes, Tom Nook likes to put his name on everything. But when it’s a Nook product or service, you know you are getting something that’s high quality. With NookLink, which is part of the Nintendo Switch Online app, you can scan a Custom Design QR Code pattern from previous games Animal Crossing: New Leaf or Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer with your real-life smartphone and then download them to Animal Crossing: New Horizons. When connected online, you can talk with friends who also have the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game with the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app using your smartphone as a keyboard or for voice chat. NookLink will launch in March, soon after the selected departure included in your Deserted Island Getaway Package.
Updated Returning Features
- Orientation: After landing on the island, you will receive a helpful orientation session from the Nook Inc. staff. At this time, you’ll be provided with the tent that’s included with your getaway package. You can chat with other island residents about where you want to set up your new home, and help them choose their home locations as well.
- Resident Services: The Resident Services facility is available to support your daily needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They provide you with services such as the sale of everyday goods, the purchase of unwanted items and helpful advice.
- Become a Home Owner: The tent provided to you by Nook Inc. is great, but have you considered a house? Home loans have no deadlines, interest or assessment, and you can pay your loan back at your own pace. A house offers much more space than a tent and also includes storage space for any extra furniture and baggage. Once you own a home, you can channel your inner interior designer, setting up the walls, flooring and furniture however you like. You can also use extension and remodeling services to expand and customize your home even more.
- Customization Deluxe: Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers more customization options than ever before, from personalizing the look of your character all the way down to skin tone, hairstyle and clothing, to placing buildings and items wherever you want on the island. You can even decorate the inside and outside of your home! Turn that island into a MY land!
- Airport: This is the first place you will land on the island. (It is an airport, after all.) It’s also available to use 24 hours a day, beginning on the day after your arrival. At the airport, you can invite residents of other islands to your own island via the internet or local wireless. You can also travel and visit other islands yourself! Up to eight people can play on a given island at one time, so feel free to get a good group together and make some fantastic memories.
- Island-wide Broadcasts: At the start of each day, Mr. Nook, CEO of Nook Inc., will make a broadcast to all residents, updating them with the latest on important island events and advice about how to best enjoy island living.
- New Residents: When you first land on the island you will only have a few animal residents living there with you. But as you develop your island from the ground up, more neighbors will visit and choose to move in. You can even invite some of the new residents to live there yourself! There’s nothing better than a welcoming neighbor.
- Free Updates: Free updates will be added after the game launches, with seasonal events continually added throughout the year. The first free update will be on launch day, March 20. By installing this update, you can celebrate Bunny Day with a special event in April. If you own both Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp for mobile devices and Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll receive special items in each game. Details will be announced at a later date on the official Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Twitter account.
- Additional Facilities: As you grow your island, more facilities will be built. This includes a museum showcasing the rich ecosystem of the island, a shop full of ready-made furniture and goods you can’t craft yourself, a tailor offering clothing and fashion items, and a campsite where you can invite guests for recreational purposes.
- Tourists & Events: Your island will not only be home to new residents, but also tourists as well! These temporary visitors are always welcome and can offer up items that cannot be crafted on the island. Visitors can also participate in fun events like Fishing Tourneys and Bug-Offs, which will pop up throughout the year. Through free updates to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, new special events and seasonal guests will be introduced.
- amiibo Support: Animal Crossing: New Horizons supports amiibo figures and amiibo cards from the Animal Crossing series. You can also invite these familiar faces to Photopia, an island that exists in the game, where you can place models in creative photo shoots.
Phew! That’s a lot of new stuff! What do you think? Has Nintendo added enough to New Horizons to get you excited? Will Animal Crossing be taking over your life all over again? By the way, you can still grab the limited-edition Animal-Crossing-themed Nintendo Switch at some retailers.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons sails onto Nintendo Switch on March 20.
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