Nintendo is killing Animal Crossing: New Horizons by stopping support way too early

Meg Bethany Koepp
tom nook in animal crossing new horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons just got its biggest patch to date with the 2.0 update and Happy Home Paradise on November 5, 2021. But unfortunately, it’s the Nintendo Switch title’s last DLC in a surprising move that is way too soon and will send the game into an early grave.

New Horizons arrived at the perfect time in March 2020. The world had just entered a global lockdown and people were stuck at home. The Nintendo Switch game was a light in the darkness for many, a beacon shining down from the heavens. Now they could escape real life to a deserted island where the only stress was making sure your turnips didn’t spoil. Pure bliss.

The game was missing many beloved Animal Crossing elements on release, though, such as characters like Reese & Cyrus and Katrina, diving (which they later added), and Brewster and his café. Nintendo promised regular content updates but that didn’t happen for long and the player base plummeted as cries for new features rose. Finally, the developer revealed a huge patch for November 5, 2021, but stated it is the last one.

Nintendo is retiring support for Animal Crossing: New Horizons prematurely

On October 15, Nintendo released a Direct that showcased the new 2.0 patch and the paid Happy Home Paradise DLC, a sequel to Happy Home Designer on the 3DS.

Players were ecstatic about the new content, with many planning to return to the game and reset or flatten their islands in preparation to start again. But then it was revealed that there are no more “major” updates on the way, both free and paid.

For a game that was released with so much missing, it just feels as though the developer is missing the boat. Fans waited months for a substantial content update only to be told “Here you go, don’t expect anything else. See you in seven years for the next Animal Crossing!”

animal crossing happy home paradise
Happy Home Paradise is the game’s first and only paid DLC.

The thing is, New Horizons’ very core is based on real-time. It’s not like other life simulation titles where each ‘day’ only lasts for 20 minutes; you can celebrate Christmas with your villagers on actual Christmas Day, and go trick-or-treating on October 31.

That’s the magic of Animal Crossing. And life doesn’t stop just because Nintendo isn’t adding any more “major” updates.

There are countless holidays that the game doesn’t acknowledge like Labor Day, Weeding Day, and April Fools Day, all of which will probably never be. And it’s a real shame because this is where previous entries in the series such as New Leaf and Wild World oozed charm and felt special.

Where are the collaborations?

The idea of no more content updates is depressing as someone who grew up with the series, playing the first Animal Crossing on GameCube at seven years old. New Horizons just doesn’t feel the same as the others I’ve spent thousands of hours playing. With it being the most modern, fresh entry out of them all, you would expect regular updates, even if it’s just to add in some new items or cosmetics every now and again.

There’s so much untapped potential with collaborations too. Where’s the Pokemon collab? Kirby? Granted, we got Super Mario which was amazing, but then we also got Sanrio which is locked behind amiibo cards no one can get their hands on unless they pay a scalper double the price on eBay because Nintendo thought it was a great idea to make packs Target exclusive (in the US). It’s not good enough.

It is also sad that Pocket Camp, a mobile game, has more support, collaborations, and updates than New Horizons. And this fact has sealed the game’s fate. Yes, update 2.0 is fresh and exciting but what about when it gets boring and everyone’s unlocked everything? Fans will have to wait years for the next installment and it’s not 2002 anymore. The internet exists and there’s no excuse for a year-old game to be abandoned this early on.

animal crossing pocket camp pokemon collaboration
Pocket Camp had a Pokemon crossover… Where is this support for New Horizons?

It’s not like the demand isn’t there. You don’t have to spend ages combing the internet to find countless Facebook posts, Twitter threads, and forum boards asking for quality-of-life changes, certain furniture sets, or specific elements to return from other games. Players are literally telling Nintendo what they want and they completely refuse to listen.

And not that I agree with it, but I am willing to bet that some fans would even pay real money to unlock certain features like hairstyle and furniture packs: that’s how much people want more. Just look at the hype surrounding Happy Home Paradise, players are HAPPY splashing out $24.99 for it and would probably pay more if the price was higher.

But it is a huge missed opportunity that will never happen and it is, simply put, tragic.