Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct Recap: Living the Island Life

The Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct helps you get to grips with all aspects of island life.

The Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct helps you get to grips with all aspects of island life.

Today’s focused Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Direct was packed full of information about the upcoming island getaway, from events and tourists to crafting and island re-designs. There’s a lot to cover, including how Nintendo will continue supporting New Horizons, but we’ve got it broken down for you here. Let’s get started.

Island Orientation

The presentation was divided into three parts, the first being a general overview of what to expect in New Horizons. Like New Leaf, you’ll be able to choose your map layout and, as was mentioned before, pick your desired hemisphere. We got a glimpse at the seasons too, the gorgeous lushness of spring and summer, the aurora in winter, and everything in between. In a sentence, it’s freaking gorgeous.

You’ll also get the usual orientation to how life works in Animal Crossing, this time given by the Nook Inc. staff (no Isabelle yet folks). You can discuss where everyone’s tents should go and even set up where the other denizens place theirs.

Resident Services

Resident Services is where you’ll buy daily necessities, craft things and learn crafting recipes, sell your junk, and get advice, should you need it. It’s open 24/7, too.

Crafting was shown off a bit more as well, namely the customization options available to you once you reach an advanced crafting level. Color, cushions, and design are all open to customization, though these are still pre-set designs.

Resident Services can expand into a town hall, but there’s no word yet how this development will take place. Isabelle herself will be handling all development needs.

Resident Services is also where you’ll be building things like stairs, bridges, and more. You’ll need to develop the island more fully before you can get access to some of these, though, including the path-building feature.

After you get to that point, you can even modify the town’s very layout, building or destroying cliffs, making new rivers and waterfalls, and really making the island your own.

The Airport

The airport is the second major facility on the arrival, staffed by Orville the Dodo. It’s like the train station from the original Animal Crossing; it’s where you’ll welcome others to your island to set off for another. In case you forgot, you can have up to eight people playing on an island at one time. You can also use the airport like a post office, sending letters and gifts to others on the island.

You can also take mystery tours to deserted islands by redeeming your Nook Miles for a ticket. The destination is never the same, depending on the pilot’s mood, and you’ll find all kinds of crafting materials, plants, and even villagers on your travels.

Special Services

Nook Inc. starts you out with some basic furniture, just like always, only you get the Nook Phone this time. It’s your inventory, where you store recipes, check your map, and more.

Nook Miles are meant to guide your daily activities, should you feel a bit lost with all the freedom. These range from things like catching certain fish to other essentials of daily life. Once you rack up enough Nook Miles, you can redeem them for rewards like clothes and other helpful items. A new part of the UI, a quick swap between tools, was briefly shown as well.

Island Life

Wasps and scorpions make their return, as expected on a deserted island. Medicine cures your ills, should you get stung or are otherwise incapacitated.

It’s also recommended you mind yourself when wandering around. At night, ghosts (Wisp!!) might make themselves known, and you’ll likely come across the hapless traveler Gulliver at some point.

It’s actually possible to get lost in New Horizons, apparently. Your Nook Phone offers a Rescue Service to transport you back to your house immediately.

You’ll want a house eventually, and that involves taking out a loan from Nook. On the other hand, you’ll get storage space and a much bigger living area. As always, the loan is stress-free, letting you pay it back whenever — or never. But you’ll want to pay it off if you plan on remodeling in the future.

Happy Home Designer‘s streamlined decoration style makes a return, letting you move furniture around without having to push it by hand. Rotate the camera 360 degrees to make sure everything’s how you want it, and then plunk it down and enjoy.

Other Residents and Tourists

Like usual, you aren’t stuck with just the handful of animals who start life with you. You’ll be picking where the newcomers live and can even invite new residents.

You’ll also have to develop the island for classic facilities, like the Able Sisters, the Museum, and even Nook’s Cranny. The campsite makes a return as well, letting you invite residents for a visit and maybe get them to stay forever (not in a creepy way).

Tourists like Label might pass through from time to time and offer their special services while teaching you about the lands they came from, making it a true cultural exchange. This is how you’ll meet special characters like Jack and Jingle, but apparently, they’ll only be added through free updates later on. The first is available when the game launches and lets you celebrate Bunny Day.

Animal Crossing FAQs and Miscellaneous

The FAQs section was pretty basic, but it did introduce a new feature called Photopia. It’s an island you’ll eventually discover in the world where you can dress up animals, create a tableau, and, obviously, snap pictures of your creations.

Nook Link is an app for real smartphones that lets you scan QR codes from custom designs in the 3DS Animal Crossing titles. Download them through Nook Link, and you get them in your New Horizons game.

As we reported before, it will also offer voice chat or, if you don’t want that, you can just use the phone’s keyboard for chat. Nook Link is set to launch shortly after New Horizons in late March.

And that’s it! Everything that was announced in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Direct. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on the upcoming sim game as it develops.

Until then, be sure to check out some of our other Animal Crossing articles and lists, such as the furniture options we really want to see in the game

About the author

Josh Broadwell

Josh Broadwell started gaming in the early '90s. But it wasn't until 2017 he started writing about them, after finishing two history degrees and deciding a career in academia just wasn't the best way forward. You'll usually find him playing RPGs, strategy games, or platformers, but he's up for almost anything that seems interesting.