Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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New Horizons NA boxart.png
Main Theme
Developer(s) Nintendo EPD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Release date(s) Worldwide March 20, 2020
Genre(s) Life simulation
Ratings ACB: G
ClassInd: L
GSRR: P(6+)
NMC: 3
RARS: 0+
USK: 0
Media Nintendo Switch Game Card and eShop download
Input methods Joy-Con, Pro Controller, USB keyboard

Guide at StrategyWiki

Animal Crossing: New Horizons[nb 1] is a main installment in the Animal Crossing series for the Nintendo Switch that released on March 20, 2020. It's the first new installment in the main Animal Crossing series since 2012's Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and the first for a home console since 2008's Animal Crossing: City Folk.

In a departure from previous titles in the series, the player lives on a deserted island rather than in a town (referred to as the "Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package").[1] Crafting from Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has also returned in this installment, in the form of the DIY system.

Development and unveiling[edit]

Development on the game began shortly after the Japanese release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf prior to the development team being aware of the Nintendo Switch.[2] As with the previous title, Aya Kyogoku was chosen as the director of the game, with Hisashi Nogami in charge as producer.

Kyogoku notes in an interview that the team chose to be ambitious even despite not knowing anything about the hardware that they would eventually release the game on. The team intended for the game to be welcoming for veteran players and accessible for new players by keeping much of the core gameplay from previous titles while still adding in many new elements.[2] The theme of developing a town on a deserted island was chosen because the developers believed that breaking away from the tradition of players moving into a village would be a fresh and interesting concept for old players. Kyogoku noted that some players of previous entries would have difficulty finding goals or objectives. As a response to this feedback, a sense of purpose was purposely developed by having players develop the village from scratch. The developers felt that as players constructed their village from the ground up, they would grow a more personal relationship with their town.[3]

As a result of choosing a deserted island theme, crafting was added into the game. This was done so that players would have a higher level of interactivity with the deserted island. This would give players a different perspective of the environment that used to be just a visual aspect.[3] Crafting was also developed with the intention of keeping players from running out of things to do during the hours that their shops are closed.[2] Another of these new features, terraforming, was added in response to unexpected behavior from players in previous games such as resetting towns in order to receive a desirable town layout. With the introduction of crafting and terraforming, players are able to be more in control of their island.[2] This flexibility in design extends further onto player design. Unlike previous games which involved players having to answer a series of questions to determine their appearance, players are now able to freely change their appearance whenever they'd like to through the use of mirrors or vanities. In addition to this, several new hair and facial features were added that were not present in previous entries. A gender option is still present, but does not impact the game or the player's appearance in any way other than certain dialogue differences. Kyogoku states in an interview that this level of player customization is not just about gender, but rather more about individuality, which the development team believed was a growing belief within society. Players aren't forced into thinking too much about gender, but the option is still there should they decide to.[2]

The addition of the NookPhone was inspired by the belief that phones are essential tools in everyday life. Kyogoku has stated that the NookPhone serves as a source of familiarity between the real world and the game.[3]

In another shift, the effects of time traveling were made less impactful. This is in part due to the fact that seasonal events and holidays are not coded into the game from launch and are instead going to be added through future updates. Kyogoku notes that this method of adding events was not intended to shun time traveling, but rather as a form of creating unity amongst players. Nevertheless, time traveling is still discouraged, though Kyogoku and Nogami do not consider it to be a form of cheating.[2]

Development for future updates is still going steady, though shifts may have to be made due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.[2][3] The development team hopes that updates will continue even two or three years after launch.[3]

Unveiling and release[edit]

The game was teased during a Nintendo Direct on September 13, 2018, and was originally slated to be released in 2019.[4]

During E3 2019 on June 11, 2019, the gameplay (from trailer and Treehouse interview) and title were shown. It was revealed that the game had been delayed to March 20, 2020; it was stated that "to ensure the game is the best it can be, we must ask that you wait a little longer than we thought."[5] Later, President of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser, said the following: "The crunch point is an interesting one, for us, one of our key tenets is that we bring smiles to people's faces, and we talk about that all the time. It's our vision. Or our mission, I should say. For us, that applies to our own employees. We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance. One of those examples is, we will not bring a game to market before it's ready. We just talked about one example. It's really important that we have that balance in our world. It's actually something we're proud of."[6]

An Animal Crossing Nintendo Direct took place on February 20, 2020, announcing the final release date of March 20th, 2020. [7] It showcased multiple new features of the game, such as terrain editing, additional house customization, and more.

This title supports more languages than all previous entries in the series, being the first to support the Chinese language since Doubutsu no Mori,[8] which was ported to the iQue Player with simplified Chinese support exclusively for mainland China in 2006. This is also the first main series title since Animal Crossing: City Folk to have two separate localizations for Spanish and French; one for Europe and the other for the Americas, although it has been erroneously reported to be the first title, in general, to do so in the case of Spanish[9]. It is the first title to include all localizations collectively regardless of regional release, and the first main series title to ever include Dutch and Russian languages.

New Horizons is also the first title in the series to launch worldwide on the same date.

Update history[edit]

For detailed changelogs see Animal Crossing: New Horizons/Update History
This article or section contains information about game updates.
The last updates to this article may not reflect the most current or accurate information about the game.
This article or section contains information about game updates.
The last updates to this article may not reflect the most current or accurate information about the game.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be regularly updated with new content and special events. Unlike previous games, most events do not exist in the game's data until they are added through an update. These events are not available to experience in the game until the first real-world date on which it occurs, therefore time traveling cannot be exploited until the update has been installed. An online date verification is required to experience the event for the first time, at which point they will reoccur offline indefinitely.

Online multiplayer can only be participated in if the most recent update is installed. The version number is displayed on the title screen and when talking to Orville about multiplayer functions.

The first major update for the game added multiple items as part of a cross-promotion with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. It also added Zipper T. Bunny, the Bunny Day event, and a matching series of furniture and clothing. The game's second major update will add Leif to the game, who will host the Earth Day event.


Tom Nook has a new business venture: selling the Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package, which is sold to the player. The game begins on a nearly deserted island where the player can explore, collect resources, and craft various items (including tools and furniture). The only starting buildings on the island are the player’s tent, two villager tents (after the player places them), and the Resident Services tent. Donating 5 unique fish and insects to Tom Nook will unlock the ability to place Blathers’ tent. Once Blathers’ tent is unlocked, he will give the player a Vaulting Pole to find more creatures. Donating 15 more unique creatures to Blathers will unlock the ability to place his museum, at which the player can donate and assess multiple things at a time. To unlock more tools, the player will need to pay off their tent, help Tom Nook build Nook's Cranny, build one bridge, and start the housing plots for animal villagers. Once the Resident Services tent is upgraded into a building, Isabelle returns as Nook’s assistant. The Plaza in front of the upgraded building will feature events and visitors.

In addition to earning bells, the player can also earn Nook Miles, which is a new form of currency that can be exchanged for furniture, plane tickets to mystery islands, upgrades, and recipes.

As in Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, the game features the ability to place furniture outside. A new Vaulting Pole tool can be created, giving the ability to vault over rivers, as well as a ladder, allowing the player to climb up cliffs.

The player can earn the Island Designer app if K.K. performs a song on their island. Once the proper terraforming tools are unlocked with Nook Miles, it allows them to pave roads (instead of having to place patterns on the ground), as well as modify or add rivers and cliffs.

Up to eight players can live in the player's island, but only one island can be made per Nintendo Switch. [10] Additionally, there is a maximum of 10 animal villagers on the island.


Resources can be collected through various methods, such as chopping at trees with an axe for several types of wood (including wood, softwood and hardwood), or hitting rocks with a shovel for clay, stone, and ores. Several different types of weeds appear, which can also be used as materials once plucked. Crafting is done through either Tom Nook's workbench, or a bench crafted by the player. With these mechanics, the player is able to build and develop the island over time. Players are also able to dig up clams in the sand, which can then be used as fishing bait or as crafting materials. Additionally, trees and flowers can be shoveled up to be stored in the pocket, flowers can be used as crafting material, and picking them will also leave the stems in the ground.


Players can fully customize their characters at the beginning and during the game without having to answer questions, similar to Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Pocket Camp. This includes skin tones, gender-neutral hairstyles, and nose shapes.[11] The player characters' overall design is slightly more detailed than in previous titles, featuring a more subdued color scheme and clear hair physics and shaders. The players also appear more expressive, showing a thoughtful expression when selecting items in their pocket, and moving their eyes around to look at nearby villagers and bugs.

The player also possesses a new item called the NookPhone, which features multiple different applications that the player can use such as Nook Miles, Rescue Service, Local Play, and more.

The player can purchase a variety of clothes from the Able Sisters shop and presumably other shops that will appear after doing certain tasks. The Able sisters will set up their shop after to buy a fair amount in bells from them. Able Sisters now includes a fitting room, allowing the player to try on clothes before purchasing.


An island can support up to eight players. For the first time in the series, four players can play at the same time on a single system, and up to eight can play together through online multiplayer or local wireless.[12] Online play requires a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

In local multiplayer, the screen boundaries will follow player 1; however, they may transfer their "leadership" to another player at any time. The lead player is the only player able to see notifications after catching bugs or fish. In online play, all players have equal abilities, as in previous games.

This marks the first game where a player's friend cannot modify the island unless they are marked as a best friend.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons includes 24 special characters, 5 of which are new to the series:

New Horizons has 391 villagers, which includes 8 that are new to the series(one for each personality):


Players that have Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp linked on the same My Nintendo account can redeem rewards via the My Nintendo screen in the mobile app. The rewards are 50 Leaf Tickets to use in Pocket Camp and a 16-digit download code for Nintendo eShop used to access special furniture and clothing items orders in New Horizons.

Differences between Animal Crossing Games[edit]

Please note: this list is a work in progress. It only reflects the current version of the game and may change as updates release.

  • New bugs have been added; the Atlas Moth, Blue Weevil Beetle, Common Bluebottle, Damselfly, Earth-Boring Dung Beetle, Giant Water Bug, Giraffe Stag, Madagascan Sunset Moth, Man-Faced Stink Bug, Paper Kite Butterfly, Rosalia Batesi Beetle and Wasp made their series debut in this game. The Wasp and Atlas Moth replace the Bee and Oak Silk Moth from previous games and serve the same respective roles.
  • New fish have also been added: the Anchovy, Barreleye, Betta, Golden Trout, Mahi-Mahi, Rainbowfish, Ranchu Goldfish, Snapping Turtle, Sturgeon, Suckerfish, and Tilapia debut in this game.
  • Some fish and bugs have their seasonal appearances changed.
  • The wet suit, swimming, and deep sea creature mechanics introduced in Animal Crossing: New Leaf no longer appear.
  • The glowing spot from the first Animal Crossing returns and is another way to grow money trees (the other being the golden shovel).
  • The message in a bottle returns, allowing players to learn new DIY recipes from random villagers that do not live on their island.
  • As in when Crafting was introduced in Pocket Camp, Tools are now required to be crafted. With the exceptions of the vaulting pole and ladder, all tools (including golden ones) will break after a certain amount of uses.
    • Consequently, this is the first game in which the golden axe has limited durability.
    • The golden slingshot now shoots one pellet instead of three.
  • Stone, clay, iron nuggets and (rarely) gold nuggets can now be randomly extracted daily from each of the island's material rocks.
    • While Bell rocks remain, gemstones have been removed from rocks.
  • Players can now hop over holes and over rivers within a 1 or 2 gap space.
  • Eating fruit now fills up a portion of the player's stomach, and upon filling it they will no longer be able to eat. Sitting on a toilet furniture item allows the player to empty their stomach, presumably through defecation.
    • Players can now break large rocks and move entire trees after eating fruit.
    • Lemons, Mangos, Lychees, Bananas, Durians, Persimmons, and perfect fruit are absent in this game.
  • Items like fruit and medicine now stack up to 10 instead of 9.
    • Most stacking now occurs immediately upon the player picking up stackable items.
    • Most bells picked up from the ground are now immediately added to the player's wallet rather than their inventory.
  • Blathers once again gives lectures on donated items, a feature previously dropped in New Leaf, though unlike previous instances, players have the option to opt out of them per donation. Consequently, the informative blurbs found on museum plaques in New Leaf are no longer present, returning to the pre-New Leaf standard of simply listing the item and donor.
  • Art and forgeries are no longer obtainable as furniture; consequently, the art exhibit is omitted from the museum, streamlining the latter to just the fish, bug, and fossil exhibits (which themselves are made much more elaborate in design).
  • Players and Villagers no longer sit on rocks, but they can sit on any solid ground.
  • Players now start with twenty pocket slots, compared to previous games' fifteen. There are also two upgrades for the pockets, each increasing the holding capacity by ten. They can be purchased with Nook Miles.
    • Tools no longer free up space when held by the player.
  • House Loans can now be paid by the players' savings in the ABD.
  • Gyroids (other than Lloid) are not currently present in the game, but are referenced within the game's files.
  • Balloon presents now yield random furniture from the start rather than initially offering only Balloon Series furniture. They can also contain Bells, DIY recipes, or crafting materials.
    • The color of a balloon now indicates its contents.
  • Saharah now sells carpets in small, medium, and large. She also now sells wallpaper and flooring individually for 3,000 Bells.
    • After a carpet purchase, players now receive Saharah tickets to redeem for a free wallpaper or flooring.
    • She also no longer asks players to take her to their house in order to place wallpaper and flooring.


New Horizons received positive reviews from critics, with many praising the new entry for retaining the soul of other titles in the series while also providing enhanced visuals and new mechanics.

Ratings include:

In Japan, the game sold over 2.60 million physical copies in the first ten days of the release.[15]


Menu Camera NH Icon.png



Teaser from Nintendo Direct on September 13, 2018
E3 Nintendo Direct Trailer 2019
Nintendo Direct (September 05, 2019) Trailer
Nintendo Direct (February 20, 2020)


E3 Nintendo Treehouse gameplay featuring Aya Kyogoku and Hisashi Nogami


Deserted Island Getaway Package Primer
Nintendo Switch My Way commercial
Your Island Escape, Your Way
Island Life Awaits!
Island Decorating
春 (spring)
Your Personal Island Paradise
Your style, your way!
Create your own paradise!
Your island, your life!
So many new friends!

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Korean 모여봐요 동물의 숲
Moyeobwayo Dongmul-Ui Sup
Animal Forest: Let's Meet
Chinese 集合啦!動物森友會 (Traditional)
集合啦!动物森友会 (Simplified)
Jíhé la! Dòngwù sēnyǒu huì
Let's gather! Animal Forest Friend Hub

External links[edit]


  1. Japanese: あつまれ どうぶつの森 Hepburn: Atsumare Dōbutsu no MoriAnimal Forest: Gather