The Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct is now live, and host Tom Nook is here to show us plenty of new things about the upcoming island adventure. He’s split the information into two informational sections, and the Direct finishes off his with an FAQ, all presented by our favorite entrepreneurial tanuki. All of it is covered here, just in case you’d rather not listen to his chirps.
If you’re looking for more information on what we’ve learned about New Horizons already, be sure to visit the IGN Animal Crossing: New Horizons wiki for more information on NookPhone Apps, all confirmed villagers (prior to the Direct), and more. We also recently learned more about how saves will work on the Switch.
The Direct kicks off with a very important part of Animal Crossing: seasons. For the first time, Animal Crossing: New Horizons allows you to choose either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere so that your season matches your local season. This was revealed back during Nintendo Treehouse’s E3 Live event, but rather than just being a comment in a stream, we got a nice preview of what we’ll see in New Horizons’ seasons. As always, there will be seasonal events and activities, like collecting seeds, leaves, and mushrooms. The furniture placed outdoors seems coordinated with each season too.
The features tour continues with details on spots we’ve seen previously. The Resident Services tent is available 24/7 for crafting, tips, a shop, and a place to sell items. Then, the day after you arrive on the island, you’ll have access to the airport that also houses the post office and online portal that allows you to visit others.
NookPhone and Nook Miles
Also seen previously, the NookPhone is a new menu with several useful apps that are acquired over time. There’s a camera, map, DIY app, and plenty more. This smartphone also gives Nook a direct line to you. At the start of each day Nook will put on an island-wide broadcast about… something. Nook didn’t elaborate in the Nintendo Direct. Nook Miles were discussed again, though. Points earned through this acheivement-style system can be used to pay off the initial getaway package then used to purchase special rewards only available through Nook’s shop. You can also spend Nook Miles on a special ticket for a trip to a random deserted island. They’ll be filled with resources for crafting, fruit, and animals you can invite to visit your island.
Wasps are, unfortunately, back, as are scorpions. Though scorpions used to be a rare find only on summer nights in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, it looks like they might be more common in New Horizons. A few short scenes also confirmed the return of special characters like Wisp and Gulliver. If you happen to end up in a bad spot, though, the Rescue Service app can instantly teleport you home. That home, by the way, is still upgradable like past games.
Home upgrades still cost a heavy chunk of change — 98,000 bells, we saw on the screen — but this time around they come with their own hidden storage. The Nintendo Direct didn’t reveal the size of this storage, though we did see that multiple items can be selected and moved all together.
Crafting is as simple as learning a new DIY recipe, collecting the materials, and pressing a button to make it. We’ve seen this in previous New Horizon videos, but we learned that you’ll also be able to customize furniture too. You’ll also be able to learn new skills through workshops held at the Resident Services center.
If you’ve got multiple Joy-Con handy, you can have up to four people play New Horizons on one Switch at a time (or up to eight in online multiplayer). This was revealed back at E3 2019, but the Nintendo Direct showed off more of the leader and followers feature and explained that any items found by followers will be stored in the recycling box. They can also have their own homes.
There isn’t an actual in-game voice chat for New Horizons. Instead, Nook Link is available through the Nintendo app that will instead facilitate voice and text chat along. More importantly, though, you can use Nook Like to read QR code designs from Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Nook Link will be available after launch, but still some time in March 2020.
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Customizing the island
New Horizons is set on a deserted island, so it’s only fitting that when you’re building a community from scratch that you’d have a say in its development. This starts with choosing where your first new islanders live. Eventually, as shown in a montage, your island will grow into a reliable Animal Crossing town we’ve come accustomed to, complete with a museum, a full Nook shop, the Able Sisters shop, and eventually a campground for guests to visit. You can ask a guest that stays here to move onto the island. Upgrading Resident Services enough brings back Isabelle. It looks like she’ll help you proceed with an island evaluation, customize the island flag, and more.
In addition to Isabelle the Direct showed off plenty of returning specialty characters like Celeste, Sahara, and plenty of others. The Direct also confirmed that things like fishing tourneys and bug offs return to New Horizons. There will be free updates with seasonal events, too.
We’ve seen new tools that make traversal a bit easier, like a way to pole-vault over rivers rather than walking over to an out of the way bridge. There’s also a ladder for scaling ledges and cliffs. As you progress more you’ll be able to build bridges and staircases, but after that, you’ll earn construction permits that’ll allow you to alter the terrain altogether. The Nintendo Direct showed how you’ll be able to expand or remove rivers, pave paths, modify cliffs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
- The Direct also answered several frequently asked questions from fans, starting with an explainer for how multiple players on a single console will work. Only eight profiles can be made to use a Switch’s single island, but all eight of those profiles will get their own home.
- Amiibo and Ambiibo cards are supported by New Horizons. These characters can visit your island’s campgrounds, but not quite all of them yet. The Nintendo Direct showed K.K. as one of the ones who were unable to visit. However, you can use these visitors in a new photoshoot mode called on the island of Photopia.
- Visitors to your island can’t use axes and shovels to redesign the landscape unless you designate them as a “best friend.” This is a nice feature that should successfully prevent griefing.
- There is no cloud backup support for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but Nintendo is planning to offer backups from its own servers in select cases, such as if a Switch is stolen or broken. This service will be available sometime after launch.
- Free seasonal event updates will be available through the year. The first of these updates will be available on launch day, with an event for Bunny Day coming in April.
- There will also be some special in-game collaboration for Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, but specific details won’t be announced until later. It was confirmed that the collaboration will provide special items for both games.
For more, be sure to take a look at our hands-on preview of the first 30 minutes of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. We’ve also got all the news we have on Animal Crossing: New Horizons multiplayer, every villager we’ve seen so far, and all the big and small changes this entry is making to the series.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer. You can follow him on Twitter. Miranda Sanchez is an executive editor at IGN. She’s really excited to make a nice island and hope she’ll see Roscoe and Bones there. You can chat with Miranda about video games and anime on Twitter.