- 1 In Animal Crossing
- 2 In Animal Crossing: Wild World
- 3 In Animal Crossing: City Folk
- 4 In Animal Crossing: New Leaf
- 5 In Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- 6 Trivia
In Animal Crossing
Each Animal Crossing town starts with six villagers. Over time, more move in until the maximum of 15 is reached. Once this occurs, the game will cycle out the 14th or 15th villager every ten days or so while keeping the initial 13 villagers intact. A villager may mention moving in a random conversation and ask the player for an opinion, but the player's response does not affect villager movement. A moving villager will not pack up prior to leaving; their home will simply be removed from the map upon game load and a goodbye letter is sent to the player's mailbox. Unlike subsequent Animal Crossing titles, once a villager has moved out, another replaces them immediately.
Movement across Memory Cards
Players are able to move their villagers to other Animal Crossing towns by speaking to Porter at the Train Station. Each time a player goes to visit another town, one of the traveling player's villagers is chosen at random to move out, and any time a town is visited by another player, that town will receive the resident from the visiting player's town. This is the only way to cycle out one of the 13 original villagers.
Controlling villager movement
By taking advantage of the way villagers move across memory cards, the player can manipulate which villagers come and go. In order to do this, three memory cards are required: one with the primary town's Animal Crossing data, a second with space for travel data, and a third with a secondary town that will be used as a repository for unwanted villagers.
Removing unwanted villagers
Because villagers are selected at random to move when visiting another town, moving out a specific villager is a matter of trial and error. The steps are as follows. To begin the process, the player must have three memory cards and seven or more villagers.
- Load up the town with the unwanted villager. This will be the "primary town."
- Talk to Porter and create travel data on a second memory card.
- Remove the memory card with the travel data from the slot.
- Load up the primary town again using a secondary character (not the character used to create the travel data).
- Check the map to see which villager has moved out. Regardless of which one has moved, save and quit the game. If it was the correct villager, skip to the next set of steps. Otherwise, continue to step 6.
- Reinsert the memory card with travel data and then load the primary town. The player's character will return, along with the villager that had moved out.
- Repeat steps 2-6 until the desired villager moves out.
Once the desired villager has moved out, the player must successfully move them into the secondary town:
- Remove the memory card containing the primary town's data and insert the card containing a secondary town into slot A.
- Place the memory card with the travel data into slot B and load the town. The visiting player will arrive and the unwanted villager will move into the secondary town.
- Have the player speak with Porter to save travel data onto the memory card in slot B.
- Remove the secondary town from slot A and insert the primary town's memory card in slot A.
- Load the primary town. The traveling player's character will return and the unwanted villager has been successfully removed.
This same process can be used in order to move in a desired villager from one town to another.
The E-Reader features of Animal Crossing are expanded upon in Doubutsu no Mori e+ with the addition of 60 new villager cards as well as 18 new islanders. In addition to providing the player with items, scanning these cards will move the character featured on the card into the player's town. This feature is backwards compatible with the E-Reader cards released for Doubutsu no Mori+, giving the player an additional 273 villagers to choose from.
The game also includes an island for each playable character—however, unlike in Animal Crossing, each island does not come with an islander by default. Instead, the player must scan one of the islander e-cards and the islander will wash up on the island's shore (like Gulliver) the next day.
In Animal Crossing: Wild World
In Animal Crossing: Wild World, villagers attempt to move by packing their furniture up in boxes. While the villager is packing, the player can convince them to stay, although it may take several tries. If the villager is not convinced to stay, they will move away, leaving a signpost behind and sending a goodbye letter to the player's mailbox. Another villager (usually of the same gender) will move in to replace that villager within a week. The game will attempt move a villager out every two days. Additionally, convincing a villager to stay will cause them to forget their current hobby and switch to a different one.
Due to Animal Crossing: Wild World's small town size, there are only three villagers present at the start of the game. Over time, more villagers will move in until the town reaches its maximum of eight villagers.
Within the game's code exists a space used to store incoming villager data received from other Wild World towns via WiFi or DS-to-DS local play; this is referred to by players as the 'ninth slot-in'. It can be compared to a waiting room where a villager received from another town will sit until there is space for them to move in. This villager will remain in the game's saved data indefinitely until it can move in, or is replaced by another villager. To override the villager in the ninth slot-in, the player must visit or host another player over WiFi or local play that has a villager waiting in their ninth slot-out. The villager in the other player's ninth slot-out will transfer to the player's ninth slot-in.
Once a town reaches its maximum villager limit, the game will choose a random latent villager to move out of town. A latent villager is one who is in-between Hobbies. The player can use this fact to their advantage and keep the unwanted villager in latency as often as possible by completing their requests, e.g. catching a bug, getting them a specific piece of furniture etc.
When a villager leaves town, their data is not immediately erased. Instead, it is stored in what is called the 'ninth slot-out', another space in the game's memory used to store villager data beyond the eighth villager. This data can then be exchanged with other players over WiFi or local multiplayer. In a case where two villagers move out one after another, the first villager's slot-out data would not be overridden. Some players theorize the second villager's data is deleted, while others believe it is stored in what might be called a 'tenth slot-out'—a backup slot used if the data from the ninth slot-out cannot be transferred to the receiving player. For example, if Player A's ninth slot-out is Bob, but Player B already has Bob in their town, the game gives Player B the data from Player A's tenth slot-out, Olivia.
It's also important to note that when interacting with other players, slot-out data always replaces slot-in data; it is not possible for players to exchange slot-out data for slot-out data or slot-in data for slot-in data. In cases where both players have slot-in and slot-out data, data is not exchanged at the same time, meaning that one player's slot-out data may override the other's slot-in data before a mutual exchange can occur.
Moving specific villagers
In order to move in a specific villager, three requirements must be met:
- The villager must not be a current resident.
- The villager must not in the player's ninth slot-out.
- The villager must be in another player's ninth slot-out.
Even if the player does not have room in their town for an additional visitor, they can still receive the villager's data; it will simply override any existing data in their ninth slot-in. To receive the data, they must host or visit a player whose town contains ninth slot-out data for the villager the player wishes to receive.
It is not known how the game handles data when interacting with more than one other player at a time.
Clearing slot-out data
As previously noted, a player's slot-out data is not overridden when another villager moves out. It can be removed in one of two ways: by being deleted, or by being transferred to another player.
To delete the data, simply enter Tag Mode with no other DS in range. This is useful when you want to assure that no one else will,receive your character data, if, for example. it contains a glitched villager or a villager with an inappropriate catchphrase. It is not known whether data in the tenth move-out slot is deleted via the Tag Mode method (if a tenth slot exists at all).
To transfer data to another player, simply visit or host another player over WiFi or local play. The only time data will not be transferred is if the villager already lives in the other player's town or if the data for that villager is in that player's move-out slot.
In Animal Crossing: City Folk
In Animal Crossing: City Folk, moving works similarly to Animal Crossing: Wild World, but rather than immediately packing their furniture in boxes, moving villagers will approach the player while outside and ask them whether they should move out or not. They can be convinced to stay, although it can take multiple tries. If five days have passed and the villager is not convinced to stay, they will pack their belongings. Once this happens, they cannot be convinced to stay; they will move out after two days and will send the player their departure letter.
Note that villagers cannot confess the player that they are planning to move out during most special events, or when they lost their key. Because of this, if the player has any villagers they would like to keep, it is recommended that they come back to the game in the next five days after the event and walk in front of all ten villagers outside to possibly stop any of their favorite villagers from moving out.
As in Animal Crossing, there are six villagers present at the start of the game, one of each personality. One villager will move in each day for the next three days. The villager maximum is ten, and the final villager can take up to a week to move in.
When a villager moves out, their data is not immediately deleted. Instead, it is moved to a portion of the game's save data used to store villager data beyond the tenth villager. This is known as a frozen villager. Frozen villagers can be exchanged with other players through Wi-Fi, allowing past villagers from the player's town to move in to a friend's town, and vice versa.
While the process for moving villagers in and out is identical to Wild World, it is complicated by the ability of villager data to be sent to other players via WiiConnect24. This feature allowed players to receive villager data from a town they had never visited, similar to the SpotPass feature in New Leaf. In order to maximize the chances of delivering or receiving villager data, it was recommended that the player turned off WiiConnect24 and removed all players from their friend list except the one they intended to trade villagers with. WiiConnect24 was discontinued on June, 2013, with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection terminating in May of the following year. As the Wii does not allow for local multiplayer play, players are no longer able to exchange villager data without using replacement services such as Wiimmfi and RiiConnect24.
Moving in specific villagers
It is possible to move in specific villagers by doing what is known as the villager reset trick.
In order to do this trick, the following requirements must be met:
- The town must have less than four human residents.
- The town must not have a frozen villager from another town.
- The town must not have two or more villagers of the same personality as the desired villager.
- The town must not have six or more villagers of the same gender as the desired villager.
The game always tries to keep a balance of personality types, so when a new villager moves in, it will be of a personality that the town currently lacks or has the least of. Because of this, in order to have the best chance of getting a specific villager, it is recommended to let go all villagers of the same personality as the desired villager. The player can also let go a villager of another personality, as long as that villager is not the only of that personality type, but it will not be as effective.
The day after a villager moves out:
- Start up the game as usual, but instead of selecting an existing resident, create a new one. (If the player accidentally selected an existing resident but still has not reached the "Preparing data" screen, simply reset and try again.)
- After the player responds to all of Rover's questions, he will show them the town map. Continue if there is a new house on the map, otherwise reset and try again.
- Once the player arrives in town, check the map and see which villager it is. If they are not the desired villager, reset and try again.
- Once the player gets the desired villager, go to the Town Hall, choose a house for the new resident and save the game. The new resident can then be deleted and normal gameplay can be resumed.
The reason why it is so important to create a new resident rather than using an existing one is because of the way the game saves town data. When a town is loaded with an existing resident, the game prepares the town and then saves the data automatically. This means that if a villager moves in, the player will be stuck with that villager, even if they quit without saving. On the contrary, when a new resident is created, data is not saved until the player gets a house and saves the game. This allows the player to keep reloadng the town until they get the villager they want.
In order to have more chances of getting a villager on each reset, it is recommended that the player waits at least four days after a villager moves out before doing this trick. If the player wants to wait but at the same time wants to keep playing without the risk of getting an undesired villager in the process, repeat steps 1 and 2 until there is not a new house on the map and then follow step 4. Note that by following this process the player will be unable to look for the desired villager until the next day.
If the player keeps getting the same villager every time, it is safe to say that the town has a frozen villager from another town. The only solution to this is let the villager move in and put off the trick until the town is back at nine villagers.
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, towns no longer feature permanent signposts marking possible villager plots. Instead, new villagers may move in anywhere there is space. Additionally, villagers will now tell the player the date that they will pack up their furniture and after leaving, and may send their picture along with their goodbye letter if the player has befriended them.
Every town starts with just five villagers; their personalities will vary, but will never be smug or big sister. The day after a town is created, a new villager will begin the move-in process: a roped area of land will appear with a signpost noting the future villager's name. The following day, the villager's house will be constructed, and they will be unpacking their boxes. Isabelle will make a note on the startup screen that someone has moved in.
On the fourth day, a new area will be roped off, ready for another villager to move in. This constant move-in process will continue until nine villagers are reached, at which time no more villagers will move in without player intervention.
A town with eight villagers or less is considered to be in a 'moving-in period'. During this time, no villagers will move out and the game will move in new residents at a constant pace. Once a town reaches nine villagers, it will naturally want to reduce the count back to eight. It will be at least three days, if not longer, before a villager decides to move. If desired, one last villager can be added to the town to bring the total to ten. This can be done in one of four ways:
- Invite a camper to stay. If the campsite public works project has been built, villagers will come and camp out from time to time. To get them to stay, the player must win a game of rock, paper, scissors, or charades. The player can keep trying until they win. However, it is impossible to invite villagers who are camping in other towns into one's own, nor can the player convince a camper to stay if they already have ten villagers in their town.
- Invite a villager who is moving out of another town. If a villager in someone else's town has packed up their boxes and is about to move out, that villager can be invited to come and stay in the player's own town. The player must travel to the friend's town through WiFi or local play. Once they talk to the villager, that villager will initiate a conversation in which the player can ask them to move to their town.
- Pick up voided villagers. Villagers become 'voided' if they leave town without another player inviting them to their town. If a the player connects over WiFi with someone who has recently voided a villager of theirs, that villager can end up in the player's town if space is available.
- Pick up a villager from StreetPass. If the player passes another New Leaf player who has StreetPass enabled, it is also possible for the player to receive one of their voided villagers.
Moving in specific villagers
Players seeking out a specific villager have a few options.
- Create a new town through deleting the current town or acquiring a second copy of the game. A randomized selection of five different residents will be generated each time a new town is created. This method will probably take the longest, as there are 333 different villagers total for the game to choose from.
- Cycle through villagers with the Campsite. The campsite will generate a new villager daily. However, this also is based on luck, since any villager in the game may appear.
- Resetting by personality type. The game tries to maintain a balance of personality types, so when a new villager is generated, it will be of a type that the town currently lacks or has the least of. This can be used to one's advantage; the player can reset their game until it produces a desired villager of the personality type it is currently generating. (e.g. if the player is looking for a specific sisterly villager and the game is currently generating that personality type, there is a 1/21 chance of getting the player's preferred villager, which is a better chance than 1/333). The following section covers this method.
This method allows the player to cycle through possible move-in scenarios and pick the villager or house location that best suits their needs. In order to use this trick, the town must have less than four human characters created. Note that, to start this method, a villager must be moving in, meaning there are less than 9 villagers or a 10th villager method has been used.
On a day when a new villager will (or is suspected to) put down a house plot, begin the game by creating a new human character. After getting off the train, look around town with the new character to see if a new villager has set up a plot.
If there is no house plot, quit the game without saving and create another new character. After going through this process about three times with no luck, a villager will most likely not move in that day. To be safe, the player should choose a home location for the newly created human character, then save and quit. The new character can then be deleted (if they are unwanted/unneeded). It's recommended that the player always place a newly created character's home in the same spot, as the area where their home used to be will turn to dirt once the character has been deleted.
If there is a house plot, look and see who it is. If it is a desired villager, and/or if the villager's home is properly placed, choose a home location for the new human character, save, and quit. Otherwise, do not save, and keep creating a new character until a suitable villager and/or location is found. Take note of the personality of the villagers the town is generating—this will let the player know whether it is in their best interest to continue resetting, or if the personality generated will not result in the desired villager. Also of note is that, if a villager of a given personality type just left town, the next villager generated will never be of the same type (unless they are invited in or are received from the void).
The reason the player must create a new character rather than loading an existing character is due to how the game saves town data. When an existing character is selected, the game loads the town data, then it saves the game without any notification. That means that any villager plot seen while walking around town with a pre-existing character is permanently placed. Even if one were to quit without saving, the plot would remain and that villager will move in the next day. On the contrary, when a new character is created, the game loads the town, but does not save it until that new character has established a home and has finished registering with Isabelle. This allows the player to keep reloading the town data until an agreeable villager plot is generated.
Villager home placement
New villagers seem to want to move in close to where other villager and human character homes are placed. If there is an area the player wants villagers to move into, they should try placing all human homes in that area. In addition to this, new villagers like to set up their homes near the spot where the most recent (and sometimes second most recent) move-out was living. It should also be noted that they can and will move in on top of trees, bushes, flowers, and even dropped items. If the town has a police station these items will show up in the lost & found, otherwise they are gone for good.
With the Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo update, villagers no longer move in on top of placed patterns.
A villager's home will never brush up against another permanent, immovable object (including the river). They require a buffer of one space to their left, right, and back, and a buffer of two spaces in front. Their home may be placed as close as two spaces away from the ledge separating the town from the beach and as close as one space away from the ledges on the Eastern and Western sides of town. Two homes can be as close as two spaces apart on the left and right sides and as close as three spaces apart on the top and bottom sides. They may be as close as one space apart from rocks, ponds, rivers or public works projects, but will never touch them diagonally. A villager's home will never block access to a ramp or bridge.
Once a town has reached nine or more villagers, it will be in a 'moving-out period'. During this time, the game will continually try to move villagers out—no villagers will move in unless they are acquired from any of the 10th villager methods.
The mechanics behind how the game chooses the next villager to boot are relatively random, with a few exceptions. The most recent villager to move in will never be the next villager to move out; it seems that villagers who have been in town the longest are more likely to leave than those who have recently moved into town. Ignoring villagers is not a surefire way to get them out, either; talking to unwanted villagers may work better. Because of this, a player will most likely have to deny moving requests from villagers they want to keep before the one they want gone will leave.
The moving out process works like this:
- Days 1-5: The villager will 'ping' and inform the player that they is leaving, and will tell them the date that they is leaving on. The player will have the choice of selecting not to leave, or to let the villager leave.
- Day 6: When the player loads the save data, the villager is packing up inside their house and will leave the next day. Even setting the internal clock back one day will count as going forward one day, so this state is permanent.
- Day 7: The villager's house disappears from town, but is still stored in the game's save data if the villager is voided.
A villager will decide to leave up to five days (ten days in Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo) before they actually pack up. During this time, the player can convince them to stay or tell them that they may leave. There are two ways to determine who is thinking of moving:
- The gossip method. If a player talks to a villager enough, they might fill them in on who is thinking of leaving. One way of obtaining gossip is to keep talking to three villagers until they refuse to talk anymore. When this happens, they will show a constant 'thinking' emotion. If a villager in town is thinking of leaving, one of these three will let the player know who. If they don't mention anyone, then no one has decided on a moving date yet.
- The self-confessing method. Using this method, the villager will tell the player if and when they are moving. This information is not relayed through normal conversation, however; if a villager is thinking of moving, they will 'ping' the player (display a surprised emote and walk up to them). Press A to engage them in conversation, and they may mention moving. If they talk about anything else (e.g. change my catchphrase, etc.), then they are not interested in moving at this time.
A villager will only ping if the player is on 'speaking terms' with that villager, which can be determined by walking up to them and speaking to them. If they start off with a phrase like "I haven't talked to you in a while!", the player is not on speaking terms with them. After getting back onto speaking terms with a villager, the player can save/quit and reload the game and walk in front of them to see if they will ping.
Once a villager pings and informs the player they are moving, they will ask whether or not they should stay. However, even telling a villager to stay or leave may result in the opposite effect, as, occasionally, a villager will choose to move when a player tells them not to, or vice versa. There is no way to predict this, and it is rare that the moving conversation will occur again after the first ping, so if the villager is wanted, the player must reset. It is recommended to remain on speaking terms with the villager to prevent moving most efficiently; if the gossip method was used to figure out who was leaving, the ping method must still be used to possibly convince the villager to stay. Convincing a villager not to move also does not mean that they will never decide to move again sometime in the future.
The easiest way to make sure that nobody moves is to never allow the date to change. Prior to loading the game, set the system's internal clock back to the last date played. No villagers will ever leave. If a player is going to use this method, they have to remember that the game recognizes the start of a new day at 6 AM, not midnight, so they need to make sure the game is not powered on and loaded up when 6 AM rolls around.
In the case of wanting a villager to move, using the gossip method and ignoring pings is the best way to ensure that the unwanted villager will not change their mind. However, there is still a chance that the villager moving out may change their mind later on and decide to stay. They might reveal their change of heart sometime during conversation or even without telling anyone. To avoid this, the player can time travel to the villager's move-out date, thus ensuring that they will move out on time.
Villager cycling is a term used to describe a fast and efficient method of generating move-out requests in order to remove a specific villager from town in the shortest amount of time. There are multiple methods used to cycle villagers, all of which involve time travel. As such, all of the normal time travel strategies and warnings apply. The town must also be in a move-out period (more than nine villagers).
- Make sure the player is on speaking terms with the villagers. Start off by loading up the game during a time when all villagers will be awake, then talk to all of them. If they are not outside or they can't be found, save, quit, then reload; the villagers that are wandering about outside will be cycled. Once the player has talked to all of the villagers once, save and quit the game. If a villager is sick or celebrating their birthday, TT until this is not so.
- Walk in front of all the villagers. Reload the game and walk in front of all the villagers wandering about outside. Save & quit and reload to cycle villagers outside until the player has walked in front of everyone once. If none of them ping and ask to leave, then no one is thinking about moving just yet. TT one day ahead using the 3DS system settings and repeat this step until someone pings requesting to leave.
- Approve or deny the request to leave. If it is a villager the player wants to keep, deny their request to move, save and quit, then TT forward one month (yes one month). Load the game, then save and quit. TT back to the present date and then and go back to step three. If it is a villager the player wants to move, tell them to leave and go to step five.
- Time travel to their move-out date. Once an unwanted villager provides their move-out date, TT to that date immediately before they change their mind! (Remember that a villager is told to move but they change their mind the player can quit without saving and TT to their move-out date anyways.) Load the game on their move-out date, save, and quit. Then TT one day forward so that their house will disappear, load the game, save, and quit.
- Repeat the process as needed. Now that one villager has been moved out, the player can keep moving out villagers, but remember that the town must be in a move-out period to do so, so a villager may need to be moved in at this point. If the player doesn't care who moves in, TT forward 10 days and someone will likely move in. Remember that the villager reset trick can be used to choose their home's location.
- Getting back to the present. Once all villager cycling is done, the player will find themselves somewhere far in the future. To get back, repeat step three until someone asks to leave and deny their request. Then, save, quit, and TT back to the present.
The 16-villager cycle
After a villager leaves town (whether they are taken by another player or voided), their data is still stored in the game's memory to allow them to visit the town to shop on Main Street. The player will be unable to reacquire that villager until this data has been overridden. Once the data has been overwritten, it will be possible for the moved villager to move in again.
Once a villager has been sent off to a friend for safe keeping, the player should start keeping track of how many villagers have moved out of town. The villager cycling method outlined above can be used to move villagers out as quickly as possible. After 16 or more villagers have left town, the player will be able to go and pick their villager up again.
In Animal Crossing: New Leaf - Welcome amiibo, if the player scans a villager's amiibo card and convinces the villager to move in, the 16-villager cycle does not apply. This is the only way that the cycle can be skipped entirely.
Going on hiatus
If the player has gone on hiatus and wants none of the previous villagers to move, they must follow these steps:
Before going on hiatus
If the player knows they are not going to play for a while, the town should be set to the beautiful town ordinance. The process used to return involves a bit of time traveling and enacting this now will save flowers. Second, make a note of the date the player last saved/quit the game; this will be needed later. (If there is no paper/pen handy, go to the 3DS' home screen and then click the pencil icon at the top to write it in the game notes.)
Coming back from hiatus - The following must be done before loading the game!
- Change "Today's Date" in the 3DS' system settings so that it matches the last date played. If the player cannot remember the last date played they can look in the activity log and check their software library. When New Leaf is selected it will note the last play date.
Note: If the player time travels often the activity log may not accurately reflect their play history. If the player is unsure of what to do, set the 3DS back to a date that is known to be BEFORE the last date played. It is better to choose an older date than it is to choose a date that is sometime after the last date played.
- Make sure the time is set to a time that all the player's villagers will be awake. If not, change it and then load the game.
If the game was loaded on the SAME DAY that the player last played, no villager loss should be experienced. If the game was loaded to anytime BEFORE that day, it is possible for a villager to move if they had already planned on moving.
Getting back to the present
To get back to the present day without having to time travel day by day, follow these steps:
- Talk to each villager one time to make sure the player is on speaking terms with them. The player and villager are on speaking terms if when spoken to the villager greets the player and then they are given the standard dialogue box (which is something like "What's new?" and "Nevermind.")
- Once this is done, save and quit the game. Then, reload the game (same day, don't change the time at all yet).
- Walk in front of the villagers that are strolling outside in town. There are usually 5 of these guys out and about. The player is looking for one of them to ‘ping'. That is, make a surprised emote and then run up to the player.
- If someone does run up, talk to them and see what they say. If they want to move, deny their request.
- If none of the five villagers that are outside run up to the player, then save and quit and reload the game to cycle the villagers that are in their homes.
- If the player has walked in front of all the villagers in town at least once, and none of them ping- save and quit, then time travel ONE DAY FORWARD and repeat the process of walking in front of all the villagers until they ping and one of them asks to move. Once this happens, deny the request.
Once the player has denied a request to move they are free to time travel forward as far as they'd like. So, after saving and quitting the game, go back to system settings and correct the date/time. Then, load the game and the player will be back to the present.
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the island is initially deserted and lacks houses. Two villagers, one big sister and one jock, join the player on the island and will set up tents with the player's help. The player can choose where these tents go, and will be rewarded regardless of whether the player manually chooses a location or they tell the villager that the location they chose is adequate. These tents will upgrade into houses along with the player's when certain conditions are met.
Unlike with previous games, housing plots do not appear at random on the player's island in New Horizons, allowing the player to remain with as many villagers as they choose. Instead, the Resident Representative must purchase housing kits from Tom Nook and set up plots of land for villagers to occupy.
The first three plots are given to the Resident Representative for free by Tom Nook, after a few days. Once the plots are placed, the player(s) must craft specific furniture for each house. Before a villager can move in, they must place the exterior furniture around each house and place the interior furniture in a submission box at the front of the plot. Each housing plot is numbered 1 to 3.
During this time, villagers will begin to appear on Mystery Island Tours for the player to invite to live on their island, with one villager guaranteed to appear on each Mystery Island. During this quest, only Lazy, Normal, and Peppy villagers will be generated, and once an invite is made, no more villagers of that personality will be generated. If the player hasn't invited one villager of each of these personalities before providing the necessary furniture, each remaining house will each be sold to a random villager of the corresponding personality on that day. This is the only time that more than one villager can be invited at once per day, though they will move in one day at a time (in order of invitation, or in order of house number when assigned randomly).
House 1 will always be claimed by a lazy villager, House 2 a peppy villager, and House 3 a normal villager. Each of these houses will have a generic interior making use of the furniture crafted after plot placement (with possible color customizations based on the character), not the more personalized interiors that subsequent villagers will have.
Building the campsite
Once the Resident Services center is upgraded from a tent into a building, the option to craft a Campsite will become available. The Campsite requires building materials, and is the only project that does not cost any Bells. Once crafted, a plot will be given to the player and may be placed nearly anywhere the player wants. The campsite will be completed the following day. The day after the completion of its construction, a villager will begin to camp in the tent, and Tom Nook will ask the Resident Representative to convince the villager to move in. This villager is typically a Smug villager. Once a new plot is placed and the villager moves in, the option to sell plots of land with a 10,000 Bell processing fee becomes available to the Resident Representative. Neither this house nor any future houses will require the player to provide furniture, as they will already be furnished.
Once the first camping villager moves in, players have the ability to place plots of land manually for a maximum of ten villagers. After this, the ability to set up further plots will be unavailable. If the player does not invite a specific villager, the housing plot will be claimed by a random villager the next day, though if the player doesn't have one of each personality, the game will choose a personality the player doesn't have on their island in order to create a balance between personalities. Each move-in will reward the Resident Representative with 1,000 Nook Miles, however it should be noted that once all ten plots are placed, even if a plot becomes available and is filled, the player will not receive 1,000 Nook Miles for replacing a villager. From this point onwards, Cranky and Snooty villagers will be available.
There are three options for inviting specific villagers to live on the player's island:
Option 1: The campsite
The Campsite may be occupied by a villager on random days, or immediately occupied by scanning the desired Animal Crossing series amiibo. A villager will camp there for the whole day and disappear the next, though they can be made to camp on consecutive days with amiibo cards.
If the player has ten villagers already living on their island, Resident Services tells the camper that there is no more space for them. The camper may choose to convince one of the current villagers to leave so that they may move in, but the player may deny this option. In this case, the chosen villager will move out that day, and the camper will "buy" their plot the day after. The manner in which the camper appears will affect their interactions with the player and the method in which villagers can be made to leave:
- If the camper is a random camper that has not been invited by amiibo, they may be invited to move in on the same day as their visit. However, the player may need to either play a game with them and win, or lose multiple consecutive games until the camper feels bad for them before doing so. The camper will also pick a random villager to swap out with (if the town is already full). To change which villager is selected, the player must quit out before the game auto-saves, and they will have to play the villager's game again in order to get a new selection.
- If the camper is invited via amiibo, a single visit is no longer sufficient for convincing a villager to move in, unlike with New Leaf. Three visits are required; on each visit, the camper will ask the Resident Representative to craft them something in exchange for a reward. This request will be for a random item, though if the player does not have the requested item's DIY recipe, the camper will give them the recipe upon accepting. After the third item is given to the camper, they will call Tom Nook and ask to move to the island. The player should not set up a housing plot until the third visit, as it may be claimed by an unwanted random villager before the camper moves to the player's island. However, if a villager has already moved into the plot, the amiibo villager will allow the player to choose which villager they will replace, so this may not be a problem.
Option 2: Mystery Island Tours
Villagers will only appear on Mystery Island Tours once an empty housing plot is placed. Talking to them twice is sufficient enough for an invitation. The player may choose to keep going on Mystery Island Tours to generate new villagers each time, provided they have the Nook Miles Tickets to do so. However, the villager which appears is randomly chosen, sometimes leading to the same villager appearing more than once on one day. Only one villager may be invited at a time, after which no more villagers generate on these islands for the whole day.
Option 3: Inviting from another player's island
Much like with New Leaf, a player may convince a villager on another player's island to move to their own by talking to them while they're moving out. After the third conversation with another island's moving villager, they will call up the player's Resident Services and purchase an empty plot on the player's island. As such, the proposal will only be accepted if the player has any empty housing plots before their visit. The villager will move to the player's island the next day. This method will not work with another island's campsite villager.
Housing placement is no longer random, as the player decides where each housing plot should go. If the player decides they don't like where a villager's house is placed, they can request a relocation for that villager for a fee of 50,000 Bells. The villager in question is notified of the Resident Representative's decision, and the Resident Representative will be given a move kit to decide on a new spot for the house. The plot follows the same spacing rules as other building kits, meaning it cannot be too close to a ledge, water source, or building (including the original location of the house being moved). When the plot is placed, it will be occupied by the chosen house the next day, and the previous spot will be empty. The villager is not affected by this change in any way; they will simply appear in the new location the next day. Only one villager's house may be moved at a time, and empty plots or villagers in boxes (whether moving in or out) cannot be moved at all.
As it is in New Leaf, a villager wanting to move out in New Horizons is entirely random. However, rather than pinging the player, the villager wanting to move out will be displaying the "thinking" emote. If the villager has the low friendship with the player, it is very likely that said villager is planning to leave, though not a guarantee. Also, unlike the previous games, no villager will leave the island even if time travel is involved, unless permission is granted among the player. If the player suggests to the villager that they should leave, they will be packed up the next day and gone the day after. Isabelle will announce the villager's intention to leave on the day that the villager is boxing up. At this point, the player can no longer use Time Travel to prevent them from moving.
If another player invites the villager to their island, once the online session ends, the villager will no longer be on the player's island or in their house, the latter of which will now be locked with an "I've moved out!" note on the door, as the villager will be in transit to the island of their future residence.
The house will disappear once it hits 5 AM the next day. Rather than the house leaving behind empty space as in New Leaf, an empty housing plot will be left where the house was, much like in Wild World and City Folk. If a new villager isn't invited through one of the methods previously described, a random villager will "buy" the plot and move in the day after, unless the villager that left were replaced by a villager in the campsite, to which that villager immediately buys the plot after the house disappears. This plot of land cannot be demolished at all, nor can it be relocated while empty or during move-out or move-in, so if the player wants a certain number of villagers on their island, they must decide before making more than the six required plots.
There's a 15 days timeout after villager freed the plot when no one will ask about moving out. Same goes after the player persuades the villager to stay on the island after they ask about moving out, though it'll take 5 days.
Villagers will not want to move out if their birthday is in 7 days or their house is being moved.
- The moving boxes are marked with a Tom Nook leaf, suggesting that Tom Nook also moves villagers in and out, not just the player.
- From Animal Crossing: Wild World onwards, moving villagers may move to another player's town provided there has been some form of contact between the two towns previously, even if the player visiting hadn't talked to them.
- In Animal Crossing: Wild World, the player can also move out by going at the Civic center and selecting "Moving".
- From Animal Crossing: Wild World onwards, when an animal is moving in, then they are under "house arrest" until they unpack. The first time the player talks to them, they will introduce themselves and will be very pleased to meet them. The second time they talk to them, they will tell them to come back the following day as they are too busy unpacking.
- Prior to the 1.2.0 update of New Horizons, a glitch that happened when adopting villagers meant that the "I've moved out!" house would appear on the island of the player receiving the villager instead of that of the player giving the villager away, and due to the villager having never lived on the receiver's island before, it appeared that the house could not be removed; however, there were conflicting reports on how to remove this glitched house. This glitch would also happen if another player's voided villager overwrote a villager that the player attempted to move to their island.
- In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it is possible for two villagers to simultaneously move out. This can be done when the town has 10 residents and one of the villagers randomly decides to move out of town, and then the following day, a villager camps at the Campsite and chooses a random villager to move out.