Animal Crossing: New Horizons Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Animal Crossing: New Horizons RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network New Horizons is The Best — and Only — Direction for Animal Crossing https://www.gameskinny.com/gu8v3/new-horizons-is-the-best-and-only-direction-for-animal-crossing https://www.gameskinny.com/gu8v3/new-horizons-is-the-best-and-only-direction-for-animal-crossing Tue, 18 Jun 2019 11:02:56 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

E3 finally gave people their first glimpse at the upcoming Animal Crossing Switch game, titled Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The good news is it looks amazing. The bad news is we can't get our hands on it until next year.

That's okay, really. Not only does it mean the dev team gets to be real humans with a work-life balance, but it also means they have the time they need to really make this a stand-out game. And it looks like it's going to be a stand-out game.

Past titles have played it safe with innovations and doing new things, striking a balance between innovation and safety that sometimes leans a bit too far towards the latter than the former. However, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is making a big step forward for the series, even bigger than New Leaf, and it's exactly what Animal Crossing needs to keep it fresh and appealing for years to come.

Tried and True

Animal Crossing's debut was much like Harvest Moon's: it was a completely different kind of game that shattered all traditional notions of gameplay. You were completely free to do whatever you wanted, interact with townsfolk as much or as little as possible, and even live in a dingy 4x4 house for your entire game if you felt like Tom Nook needed to find other sources of revenue.

Yet that innovation and its popularity put the series in a bit of a difficult place. On the one hand, changing things up too much could potentially alienate players who loved the formula first used; on the other, making future entries too similar to previous installments means there's little incentive to play.

It's a position Animal Crossing grappled with for a while and not always with successful results. The developers focused more on the multiplayer aspects when making changes for Wild World and City Folk, taking advantage of wireless communication and trying to implement more activities people could enjoy in their friends' towns.

Changes for single player mode were conservative at best and regressive at worst. WW ditched the major holidays in favor of drawn-out affairs the player couldn't participate in. However, it did expand villager conversation variety and add new request types, along with new furniture. The world became rounder, but smaller as well.

Other major changes included Celeste's observatory and the ability to see the sky; the latter might sound mundane, but it adds a special sense of wholeness to the town.

Rather than being a big step forward, it was more like a refinement that tried to recapture the same sense of of the original, but for new audiences. With a goal like that, it's understandable the team would be careful how much they changed.

Urban Stagnation

City Folk suffered from that approach, only with the Wii as the platform — and by exactly the same approach, to a fault. It's still a charming game, but apart from having all the special characters in one place and an upgraded aesthetic, there isn't much new in a positive way.

What it did do was severely pare down villager interactions . No longer could you shoot the breeze with your favorite animals or pester them for requests until at last they remembered that video tape they loaned out. Instead, you had no communication options and had to deal with a few responses on repeat for an hour.

The disappearing grass function was a strange innovation as well. Presumably meant to create paths in the town, it resulted in a lot of brown instead and some very thin grass. That might not seem like a big deal, but in a game where the goal is making your town as beautiful, or as whatever, as you want, punishing you for walking around said town doesn't seem very beneficial. (It's worth noting the New Horizons trailer shows you making paths specifically, so huzzah; your grass is safe forevermore.)

Overall, none of these negatives are really all that bad, though. The games are still incredibly fun, and it's easy to sink a ton of time into them. The problem comes when you look at them and realize you could get largely the same experience regardless of which title you chose.

Election Time

New Leaf came and changed all of that with a simple mechanics change. Making the player the mayor initially came off as a gimmick, but it opened up a vital aspect of living in an AC town: making it completely your own.

The Town Ordinances addressed a long-standing problem for fans who didn't have a school-based schedule by letting stores open earlier or close later. The sheer convenience of making villagers focus on town beautification can't be overstated either and saved those poor flowers from neglect.

More important was the introduction of Public Works Projects. These special, sometimes wacky, items could be placed anywhere — well, almost — in any combination, and there were a ton to unlock. They also gave players something to work towards other than repaying a home loan, which goes far in providing incentive to keep playing.

It also introduced the start of something new with furniture: customization and new placement options. The series has always been about living your fictional life your way, and New Leaf finally started to make that possible.

It couldn't really be replicated, though. Many fans and critics lamented City Folk's recycling of Wild World. There's no way Animal Crossing could have directly continued what New Leaf started without repeating that situation, getting stuck by just adding new Public Works Projects, some new furniture and ultimately displeasing consumers.

Communal Island Paradise

So it doesn't try to. New Horizons makes a clean break from previous Animal Crossing concepts, taking the major, most enjoyable features from the series and doing something new with them.

Moving the game out of a traditional town and into an exotic new location is, like many positive changes in the series' history, minor on the surface. After all, E3 interviews with the game's director confirmed most of the town building aspects will remain recognizable. However, it creates an atmosphere of new beginnings (hence the game's name) that, recognizable progression or not, does make even familiar tasks seem fresh.

The main feature of populating an island greatly contributes to that as well. With New Leaf, the focus was firmly on you. Even though you can determine where your neighbors live, it seems like this is meant to be a more cooperative outing.

You're all in the same boat, held under Tom Nook's merciless iron thumb until you pay back your loans and can move out of your tents. Plus, unhappy villagers will leave the island, and it looks like fellow islanders will contribute a lot more to the community's well-being, if their gardening activities in the trailer are anything to go by.

In other words, not only are you taking part in village/island life per usual; you're all working together to make that life. It's basically the fully realized fulfillment of the original Animal Crossing's promise all those years ago.

New Horizons borrows from Happy Home Designer and Pocket Camp in what looks like highly effective ways as well. The half-grid placement makes a return from HHD, and it seems as if you can use it to plant tightly knit garden projects, among other things.

But the more exciting feature is placing furniture and items outside.

Your Island, Your Way

This time, your town really can be your own, and you can change it however you want, whenever you want. Public Works Projects are great, but they're specialty items mostly, like the Jungle Gym, or classic buildings like the Lighthouse. New Horizons lets you create a temporary campsite, as we've seen, but assuming there are no limits to what you can place outdoors, the possibilities will be limitless.

One thing I'm most excited about, though, is the item crafting. Pocket Camp introduced us to it in a sense, and New Horizons is taking it to greater heights. Nook Miles rewards are sort of like the Meow Coupons add-on in New Leaf, tasking you to complete certain quests to get rewards. But not having every item or piece of furniture you want available immediately provides an even more compelling reason to keep playing.

You're trying to earn or find recipes, or items to make something new. Sure, you're probably going to get stuck trying to find a certain recipe, just like waiting for years on that one piece of furniture Nook never seemed to stock. However, searching them out, finding the ones you want, and making your island community into something unique puts the focus more firmly on players than even New Leaf's mayor feature did.

Multiplayer was never Animal Crossing's strong point. There just wasn't enough to do, and the chat functions weren't quite up to snuff, unless you liked playing right up against your TV thanks to the Wii Speak's obnoxiously short cord.

Yet it seems like New Horizons will be a step in the right direction for multiplayer as well. Obviously, most of its multiplayer features are still under wraps, but we did get a glimpse at something the series has needed for so long: playing with friends and family at the same time.

Because Animal Crossing's multiplayer offerings were so limited, it never made sense you couldn't at least play with the other people living in your own town and work together. Well, okay, I'm sure it does make sense from a technological standpoint, but it was a huge bummer nonetheless.

---

New Horizons is an appropriate name not just because the game takes place on a new island over the horizon.

This looks like this is the first time Animal Crossing will really give you the reins in your town and finally add greater purpose to all that item and furniture hoarding... er, collecting. It's a completely new outlook for the series, even while it retains its beloved roots — and it's hopefully setting a pattern of innovation for future entries as well.

]]>
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Delay Leads to Big Nintendo Stock Drop https://www.gameskinny.com/wkwrk/animal-crossing-new-horizons-delay-leads-to-big-nintendo-stock-drop https://www.gameskinny.com/wkwrk/animal-crossing-new-horizons-delay-leads-to-big-nintendo-stock-drop Thu, 13 Jun 2019 12:10:29 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Nintendo apparently saw a massive drop in its stock value following the news that Animal Crossing: New Horizons was delayed until March 2020.

The news comes from a Financial Times report; the original is locked behind a paywall, but the folks at Nintendo Life shared all the major content.

At the close of the day on Wednesday, Nintendo's stock had fallen by 3.53%. That might not seem like a significant number, but the report states the drop took over $1 billion off of Nintendo's stock value.

Investors aren't quite so willing to wait patiently for Animal Crossing on Switch.

Chief among the causes for concern investors listed was Animal Crossing's delay. However, it wasn't the only problem. Nintendo made no mention of cloud-streaming technology or services during E3, unlike its competitors, didn't announce the rumored new Switch models, and didn't unveil any sort of big collaborations.

David Gibson, an Astris Advisory Japan analyst, mentioned in the report that it was surprising Breath of the Wild 2's announcement didn't provide any encouragement to investors. It seems news that the game was delayed to provide higher quality of life for employees didn't encourage investors either.

However, these reasons highlight an important difference between what investors and consumers expect. Nintendo already said there would be no Switch upgrade announcements during E3, it's only just started implemented cloud-based saves, and collaborations with Microsoft have been only rumors — nothing concrete.

Switch owners have generally been pleased with Nintendo's E3 2019 showing, which provided substantially more information and games than last year's Direct. According to entertainment marketing research firm Fizziology, not only did Animal Crossing: New Horizons receive the most mentions on Twitter, but only 2% of those mentions were negative reactions about the delay.

Of course, this isn't the first time investors have reacted strongly to E3. Last year's Smash Ultimate-centric presentation produced yet another drop in stock prices before Pokemon Let's GO launched later that year.

How this significant drop will affect Nintendo, if at all, remains uncertain. Yet with more Pokemon on the way this year, plus more rumblings about new Switch models, it seems likely stock prices will do what they do best: fluctuate.

]]>
Nintendo E3 2019 Recap: Surprises, Sequels, and Remakes https://www.gameskinny.com/p2w4z/nintendo-e3-2019-recap-surprises-sequels-and-remakes https://www.gameskinny.com/p2w4z/nintendo-e3-2019-recap-surprises-sequels-and-remakes Tue, 11 Jun 2019 14:35:48 -0400 Joshua Broadwell

Nintendo got in on the name pub fun introducing new NOA president Doug Bowser after a slight mixup where the other Bowser tried to take the stage first. Poor big guy.

Order was restored, and things really kicked off from there. The company's E3 2019 Direct wasn't as long as some others, but there was a lot of information to be had. 

Smash Ultimate Fighter Pass DLC Characters

The E3 2019 Nintendo Direct opened with a look at the next Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC fighter: the Luminary, aka Hero, from Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. Not quite Erdrick, but not too far off. The Hero will use a sword for melee attacks, but they also have access to magic spells like Zoom for recover and Zap for ranged attacks.

But they're not alone. The heroes from Dragon Quest IV and Dragon Quest VIII, plus Erdrick himself, are making their way to Smash Bros Ultimate as well. Each has access to a similar skill set, including Zap, Kamikaze, and Zoom. While we didn't get a firm release date, fans can expect them in the game this summer sometime.

Speaking of Dragon Quest XI, the Definitive Edition coming to Switch got a new trailer, showing off a special speed-up feature, previous worlds from the Dragon Quest universe, and that lovely 2D sprite-work as well. Look for it on September 27.

Luigi's Mansion 3

Luigi's Mansion 3 was up next, with a brand-new trailer showcasing some of the game's overarching story. Luigi, Mario, Toad, and Peach are invited to a luxurious hotel, but things soon go awry when Luigi finds himself alone, at night, in a storm.

Luigi's new Poltergust G-00 sports lots of new features, like the Slam. While Luigi attacks a ghost, he can use Slam to inflict extra damage, including on other ghosts.

The Suction Shot lets Luigi destroy furniture, take on specific ghost types, and deal extra damage.

When Luigi faces a swarm of ghosts, he can use Burst, a powerful, well, burst of air that evens the field a bit.

Then there's Prof. E Gadd's new Gooigi. Gooigi can slip through metal fences, walk on spikes, and overcome many other obstacles regular Luigi can't handle. He can also be controlled by another character in co-op mode.

The ScareScraper makes its return as well, challenging players to defeat as many ghosts as possible in a set time in local and online multiplayer.

No firm release date for this one either, but it is set for a 2019 release still, with plenty of gameplay coming up during Treehouse Live.

Dark Crystal Tactics

The next game shown off was The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics, a tactical RPG featuring medieval style combat and lots of Jim Henson style. It's based on the Netflix show of the same name, only the game will delve further into the world's lore and the Gelfling clans. Players can choose from 15 different job classes, each with customizable equipment and abilities that lend themselves to high replay value.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Switch

Link's Awakening's remake got a lot of love in a new trailer showing off the game's gorgeous visual upgrades and an excellent soundtrack to boot. From the looks of it, there are going to be new areas players can explore on Koholint Island and some new puzzles to tackle as well.

Players can earn special chambers over the course of the game and arrange them to create their own Chamber Dungeons for near-endless exploration — and lots of rewards. All this and more is coming September 20.

Collection of Mana and Trials of Mana

Square Enix's recent trademark filing for the Mana Collection is paying off in form of Trials of Mana and the release of the Collection of Mana. The first game is getting a global release on Nintendo Switch and is a remake of Seiken Densetsu 3. It'll be shown off more this week, but it's expected to launch in early 2020.

The Collection, featuring the Game Boy Adventure of ManaSecret of Mana, and Secret of Mana 2 will be available in the Nintendo eShop starting...now. And yes, this is the original Trails of Mana, aka Seiken Densetsu 2, which means we're getting it twice now. When it rains and all...

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt Switch

Rumors of The Witcher III making its way to the Switch turned out to be true as well, with Wild Hunt: Complete Edition coming sometime later this year. It will bring all of the game's currently-released content. It's worth noting all of this content is on one game card too, and the visuals don't seem to be taking much of a direct hit from the required compression.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Fire Emblem: Three Houses got a meaty new trailer giving players a glimpse at the game's story. It's one of truly epic proportions and emphasizes the three main heroes' missions to bring order and justice to their lands. And voice acting — lots of voice acting.

Byleth's role in all this still isn't completely clear, but it seems like it's going to be a tragic one. The possibility of time travel is there too, with the three heroes looking back on their school days before engaging in a new battle. Expect more soon, and don't forget the game launches July 26.

Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6

Those who forgot Resident Evil, Resident Evil 0, and Resident Evil 4 are on the Switch now got a friendly, creepy reminder in a new trailer that really served as a way to lead into this announcement: Resident Evil 5 and Resident Evil 6 are coming this fall to Nintendo Switch.

No More Heroes III

Next up was an irreverent pop-culture based game with plenty of mech action, a smooth anime style, and lots of self-referential humor. Yep, it's Travis Touchdown, in No More Heroes III. The latest entry in the franchise is set for a 2020 release date.

Contra: Rogue Corps

The storied Contra franchise is getting a new release too: Contra: Rogue Corps, coming September 29. It's a hectic, mad mix of third-person action, destruction, aliens, bugs, and more destruction.

The Contra Collection is available today in the eShop for those who can't wait for more alien-shooting action.

Daemon X Machina

After a long silence, we got to see more of Daemon X Machina today. A short cinematic trailer showed off some of the game's characters and vast environments, along with on-foot combat, huge enemy ships, and lots of cel-shaded explosions. Expect it on the Switch September 13.

Panzer Dragoon

Missing Panzer Dragoon? Nintendo was, too. That's why it's getting a reboot on the Switch this winter, plus this new trailer.

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield

As promised, Pokemon Sword and Shield got a short update as well, following on from the big June 5 Pokemon Direct.

There wasn't really anything new except showing off the water Gym and leader Nessa, as well as the announcement that the Pokemon Plus accessory is compatible with Sword and Shield. It's like the Pokewalker and lets players take their favorite 'mon out for a walk. It doesn't work as a controller, though.

Astral Chain

Astral Chain, first revealed during the February Direct, got a story trailer, too.

Evil creatures called Chimeras are trying to pull humanity into another dimension, and a team of researchers banded together to create an anti-Chimera weapon merging humans with The Legions. Those Legions are the player character, but the special power has some negative drawbacks that cause some kind of havoc in the host body.

Look forward to more when the game launches August 20.

Empire of Sin

If you like guns, gangsters, and death, then Empire of Sin, a new game also set for a 2020 launch, might be one to check out. For now, make do with the trailer below.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance III: The Black Order

The Switch's exclusive Marvel game got some love during the Direct with an intense new story trailer showing off villains and heroes and announcing some new DLC content players can get now. The game itself will be available July 19.

Cadence of Hyrule Gets a Release Date

After a month of speculation and several of waiting, Cadence of Hyrule got another new trailer showcasing enemies players will take on as Link or Zelda — and a release date: July 13. Check out the trailer below.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games 2020

It wouldn't be the year before an Olympics year without a new Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, and this year is no exception. The game will feature the usual mashup of Mario and Sonic characters doing Olympic sports like fencing, tennis, and the long-jump.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

It's here! The first Animal Crossing Switch news, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, was shown off in an adorable new trailer. The game centers on populating a deserted island and crafting tools after flying there as part of the Nook Inc Getaway Package. Nook apparently wields great influence here, as not only will the player purchase homes from him, but furniture and other items will be crafted using the special Nook Crafting Bench.

There will be plenty of new ways to interact with the environment and neighbors, including pole jumping and, of course, paying Tom Nook for everything, even your tent. It is his island getaway package after all.

The bad news? It's delayed to March 20, 2020, to help ensure the game is the best it can be. On the bright side, it's gorgeous, with a bright, yet muted color palette that reeks of coziness, a chilled out soundtrack with tones of New Leaf, and a sense of unity that only comes from trying to survive together in a lonely island.

Upcoming Games Highlight Reel

It's tough to follow an act like that, but Nintendo managed to with a sizzle reel highlighting the year's upcoming releases, including Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, Ni No Kuni, Minecraft Dungeons,  Dauntless, The Sinking City, and  a lot more.

Banjo-Kazooie Coming to Smash Ultimate

One final Smash Bros. announcement was the long-awaited and much-hoped-for addition of Banjo-Kazooie to Smash Bros Ultimate, with plenty of character footage and what looked like a glimpse at the duo's special stage, Gruntilda included.

These are the next, next Fighter Pass DLC characters and will be added to the game in Fall this year.

Breath of the Wild Sequel

The Direct ended with the usual surprise announcement, and this one was a pretty big surprise. It's a Breath of the Wild sequel set in what looks like a post-Calamity world.

Link and Zelda approach the skeleton of Ganondorf who gets revived by the creeping purple darkness associated with the Calamity. It's only in development as of now.

That's it. Looking for more E3 2019 coverage? Be sure to head over to the other recaps below: 

]]>