Gaming is blessed to having the presence of two of the best simulators of life it could hope for. One is the EA-owned behemoth The Sims from industry legends Maxis, which is more of a serious affair, managing almost all aspects of life.
The other is Nintendo’s much more relaxed affair, Animal Crossing. As part of the residence of a small town occupied by talking animals going about their daily life, Animal Crossing lets you live in harmony with the town’s folk, having near limitless interactions while relaxing with a spot of archaeology, fishing and house decorating until your abode is as cute as you feel.
It has a charm about it that is difficult to describe in writing. While the levels of customisation may not be up to the levels of its Maxis counterpart, Animal Crossing makes up for it in spade with its personality and characters and is part of the reason that the mainline series has sold close to 20 million copies worldwide over just four games despite being exclusively on Nintendo consoles.
Speaking of mainline games, the series hasn’t seen a new one since 2012, when Reggie Fils-Aimé’s favourite game Animal Crossing: New Leaf launched on 3DS. Spin-offs in the form of a party game and a mobile offering. While the new game, announced in a teaser trailer during the September 2018 Nintendo Direct where Isabelle was introduced as a new Smash character, implied it would be a mainline game via Tom Nook stating he needed to work to get the new places ready, it was never explicitly said. However, with the title has been under wraps for so long, we expect it will be. E3 2019 should tell us more.
Features We Want To See In Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch
With that said, here’s what we want to see in the new Animal Crossing game.
More Customisation Options
Animal Crossing is loved by its fans for the oozing of charm that it emanates, and the customisation is a big part of that. Being able to dress your character in the style that you want is what helps make each experience unique, while housing decoration expresses your style better in a way that only Animal Crossing can.
So naturally, we would love to see more options where customisation is concerned. A bigger variety of character design options from hair, facial features, height and build, accessories including jewellery and hats would be great additions. More options for house customisations would be great too, including new wallpaper designs and even themed decoration, such as a neon/cyber feel, more pieces that you can add to the room, and even gardening options so you can create the flower bed of your dreams.
Online Meeting Hubs
New Leaf introduced an online multiplayer element for the first time, where you were able to visit the towns and houses of the friends that you have added to your friend’s list. Once both online, you can visit and interact with each other’s worlds. It was basic, but it did allow players to show off their cool gear and house decor.
With the Switch employing a paid element to the multiplayer, an expanded set of online multiplayer options should be high on the list of features to introduce. Being able to interact with other players more easily, perhaps through the use of an online meeting hub, would be a great way of finding new friends in-game and performing activities and having fun more accessible. With this, you are not limiting the experience to only direct contacts in your friend’s list and bringing a bigger community feel to the experience. Being able to also create a separate house for online interactions and in friend’s towns would also add an extra layer of creative space for every player.
While this ties in mostly with allowing for more players to play with each other (as above), expanding the options to interact with other characters in both multiplayer and solo experiences will allow you to shape your relationship with the other characters much more to your personality.
As an example, more interactions with townsfolk could help to establish the type of character that you are, such as more dramatic or fiery responses which will then elicit more emotional or energetic responses from the townsfolk. This would inject a healthy amount of personality into your character, allowing uniqueness in the adventure.
The expanded options would also make sense if the community aspect is expanded to online, with more ways to communicate with your fellow gamers. Not everyone will be able to use voice chat, so dialogue options and interaction options would make communication with the people playing online more accessible.
More minigames (and co-op specific ones!)
Animal Crossing is a game that’s all about the little things. While you stroll along the stream, finding a cool spot to fish, or discovering a fossil in the ground are great little side interactions that demonstrate just why the franchise is greater than the sum of its parts. New Leaf took that a step further and allowed friends to join you in these activities. However, there were no minigames that specifically had a partner in mind.
A new game is a great opportunity to introduce no long a collection of new and exciting activities and games, but also integrate the co-op element of the game into it more. For example, using the existing fishing minigame, incorporating elements that interact with both plays would make for cool interactions, such a catching a fish so big that it requires both players to time reeling it in. A minigame along the lines of Overcooked, where you have to prepare food, or building a go-kart from scratch with taking turns assembling parts would also bring about some cool and fun interactions with friends.
We would also love to see a release date so we know when we can see our next adventure with Isabelle and the rest of the town!