Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing: New Horizons release date, Switch special edition, more

by Meg Bethany Koepp
Nintendo

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After almost seven years of waiting, Animal Crossing fans are finally being treated to another mainline entry in the series – New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch.

The last core Animal Crossing title was New Leaf which came out on the 3DS in the West in 2013. Since then, spinoffs such as Happy Home Designer and the mobile game Pocket Camp have been released, but nothing for the main series has surfaced – until now.

In September 2018, Nintendo confirmed a new entry to the life simulation franchise was on the way in a Direct, and later revealed it was called New Horizons in June 2019. Taking place on a desert island, it's gearing up to be the perfect way to relax after a long day by catching fish and bugs, planting flowers and trees, talking to villagers, and more.

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Everyone's ready to leap into New Horizons.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons release date

When first announced in 2018, the company promised a 2019 drop for the game, though later delayed it until 2020. A reveal trailer at E3 announced that New Horizons had been rescheduled for a March 20 release.

Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser cited wanting to avoid “crunch” as being a reason for the postponement, and explained how balance was important.

“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,” he told IGN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRWjpjNVOCM

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Limited edition New Horizons Switch console

Nintendo is notorious for creating special, limited designs for its consoles, and they’ve been doing it forever. Older fans of the gaming giant will remember the Pikachu N64, and more recent players will recognize the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3DS edition, just as an example.

In January, an Animal Crossing edition Switch was announced, and caused fans to go wild. Its Joy-Con controllers are pastel green, blue, and white, and the charging dock features raccoons Tom, Tommy, and Timmy Nook on a small island surrounded by the ocean.

The console retails for $299.99 in the USA and releases on March 13 without the game, whereas in the UK it’s £329.99 and comes out on March 20 with a download code for New Horizons. A themed case is also on the way.

Animal Crossing New Horizons Nintendo Switch console
Nintendo
The new console has a color scheme that fits the game's themes perfectly.

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Animal Crossing amiibo support

Amiibo has been a huge part of the Animal Crossing series ever since Happy Home Designer came out on the 3DS and New Leaf received its “Welcome amiibo” update in 2016 which allowed figures and cards to be scanned in.

New Horizons has been confirmed to also have support for the peripherals, and in the February 20 Nintendo Direct, fans were given a closer look at what they do. In NL, players could use them to bring certain villagers to their town or to receive exclusive items and clothing and it follows a similar format, though, characters can be brought in to do photoshoots called Photopia in NH.

Support for the mobile app Pocket Camp isn’t included, though there will be “collaboration items” between the two, with NH getting items from PC and vice versa.

Isabelle Animal Crossing amiibo
Nintendo
New Horizons will have amiibo support, but it's not clear how yet.

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Despite not being released for another month at the time of writing, the game is available to preload digitally onto Nintendo Switch consoles through the eShop, though obviously it can’t be played until release day.

It’s a 6.2GB file size download, so players will need to make sure they’ve got enough space on their system or on their MicroSD card in order to start their island life without delay on March 20.