Nintendo dropped lots of huge news about Animal Crossing: New Horizons today, and one of the biggest announcements was the inclusion of local multiplayer. For the first time in the Animal Crossing series, New Horizons will let you team up with your friends to develop your island.
According to Nintendo, up to eight players will be able to join together on the same island. Both local and online multiplayer will be supported. Up to eight other players are able to build their own homes on your island, which will also allow you to play with them in multiplayer. Playing locally, up to four people can play together using the same Switch. Playing online allows all eight players who live on the same island to come together. As we saw in Nintendo’s presentation from the show floor, players can share items and work together to craft and place furniture.
That’s very different from the light multiplayer options offered in previous Animal Crossing games. Starting with Animal Crossing: Wild World, the series has allowed very limited forms of multiplayer, with players able to visit each other’s islands, if invited and engage in some very light activities light fishing, but New Horizons takes that feature much further than it’s ever gone before.
The Animal Crossing: New Horizons footage shown during the Nintendo Direct ended with a shot of a bunch of different Animal Crossing characters walking across the beach together to look out at the ocean. There was no comment about that shot or what it might mean during the presentation, but it immediately made Animal Crossing fans suspect that a real multiplayer mode might finally come to the series.
This year’s E3 may signal a shift toward better multiplayer efforts from Nintendo. Along with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Luigi’s Mansion 3 will also support local and online co-op for up to eight players at a time.
Unfortunately, Nintendo announced that Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been delayed until March 2020. On the bright side, it looks like they’ll be using that extra time to add features that fans have wanted for quite a while.