It’s hard to believe that Animal Crossing has been around for nearly 20 years. The original game was released for the Nintendo 64 in Japan on April 14th, 2001. Can anyone say “Animal Crossing Day?” The game was enhanced and re-released for the GameCube in December 2001 and was later released in North America on September 15th, 2002.
With Nintendo’s planned Nintendo Direct scheduled for tomorrow, there are bound to be new game announcements for the back half of 2018. Nintendo has already confirmed that tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct will include information on upcoming Switch titles. Could an announcement for a new Animal Crossing or Pokémon game be on the way?
With that thought in mind I thought I’d list up some of the things that I’d like to see in a Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing title.
Lots of Amiibo support
We got a little taste of what amiibo can do in an Animal Crossing game when Nintendo surprised everyone with a free update to New Leaf, but amiibo support for a new Switch title is a foregone conclusion. With more than a dozen amiibo figures and literally hundreds of amiibo cards already available, Nintendo would be nuts not to make them an integral part of a switch title.
But I don’t want just a one tap a day thing like New Leaf. Amiibo should be a part of playing the game.
In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild you could tap virtually every amiibo out there to get useful items in the game. Imagine something similar in Animal Crossing where tapping an amiibo card could yield you items. Or could help you when doing a task for a villager.
Nintendo started this with the mobile game Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. As you interact with the campers you raise your friendship level, unlocking new items and options. I think something along these lines but less defined would be great for a new mainline title.
As you interact with villagers more in the new game there should be some visual representation of your friendship. Whether that’s in the form of a colour, a smiley face icon in your villager list, or something more direct, it would be great to know just where you stand with your animal friends. The way the animals greet you could be different depending on how close you are. There were some very subtle things in New Leaf that gave you an idea of how close you were to your neighbours, like getting letters in the mail, being asked to come for a visit, or having them drop by your house unexpectedly, but it was never clear just where you stood.
Are you just pals or are you best buds? Have you ignored that one villager for a while and now they’re feeling sour towards you?
Part time jobs
Unless you’re the mayor again in the new game – and even if you are – it would be great to have an added variety of things to do. Sure picking fruit, fishing, collecting bugs, and digging for fossils is fun, but very little has changed since the original games way back when. Let’s have a part-time job at the Nook Brother’s store where you have to keep the store stocked or perhaps a throwback where you have to run deliveries. Maybe you’re working at the Mable Sisters and you’re in charge of the spring line where you have to design some killer threads. Perhaps you’re working for the town and have to keep litter cleaned up or weeds pulled. Maybe you’re in charge of preparing for the upcoming fishing tournament and there is a list of things that need to be done before the big Saturday?
There are surely a ton of varied things that could be added in as new (optional of course) tasks.
Look, I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf for my Nintendo 3DS since 2013 and I don’t have any desire to put into mothballs. While it’s clear that there would be no way to be able to travel from my 3DS into my new town on the Switch, there certainly shouldn’t be any reason that I can’t go the other way. Everything from the catalogue in the 3DS title should be included in the new Switch title so it would be amazing to be able to hop a train and venture into my 3DS town and back. Perhaps take a few souvenirs back with me to the Switch.
The connectivity could be treated the same way the Island is in New Leaf. Before you board the train all of your items are stowed away and you come to town empty handed. When you return to the Switch you’ll get all your gear back. That way there’s no way you’ll bring an item that doesn’t exist in New Leaf to the 3DS and cause all sorts of chaos. And bringing items back could work the same way as the island with a little “one way” box that you can fill in the 3DS town and obtain back on Switch.
A small update to the 3DS title would allow for the compatibility coinciding with the Switch game’s release to bring the games together. Nintendo proved that they can update New Leaf when they added amiibo functionality four years in. Let’s do the same here.
Even more animal characters (and amiibo cards)
Animal Crossing is starting to feel like Pokémon when a new game is on the horizon. The game will be more of the same but will feature new animals. Like each new Pokémon invariably has new Pokémon, the new Animal Crossing game should have a selection of new and unique animals who haven’t been in a previous title. The introduction of another animal species would be nice to see as well. And with new animal villagers comes (hopefully) new amiibo cards as well.