Animal Crossing: New Horizons development started without “knowning about Nintendo Switch”

Work started shortly after New Leaf’s Japanese launch in 2012.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

In an interview with The Washington Post, director Aya Kyogoku revealed that the development team behind Animal Crossing: New Horizons didn’t even know about Nintendo Switch when they started to develop the game.

The title, a life sim from Nintendo, has had a strong launch worldwide, and particularly in the United Kingdom, it was able to beat Doom Eternal in its first week.

Kyogoku revealed that he and his team began to work on New Horizons even before “thinking or knowing about Nintendo Switch hardware.”

New Leaf, the previous game in the franchise, was shipped in 2012, and shortly after the Japanese release, early development was kicked off on the latest iteration.

This is a curious circumstance since, in the middle of this timeline, New Leaf Welcome Amiibo was also produced and released in 2016, even though it served more like an upgraded version of the existing Animal Crossing rather than a brand new chapter.

One of the new mechanics the team instantly decided to apply was crafting, something radically different in approach compared to the previous games.

“Because the Animal Crossing series is tied to the real-time clock, there are users who want to play late at night or who want to play early in the morning,” Kyogoku commented.

“By giving those users an option to craft, we thought this would be a new way for them to play and to acquire [craftable] items,” he added.

The other new addition to the series is the ability to custom items’ design with new colors depending on the rest of the players’ furniture, something that also took some time to elaborate and introduce to the game.

The mixture of new elements and the old charm of the series made it possible that, in our review, we claimed Animal Crossing: New Horizons was well “worth the eight-year wait.”