It’s been five years since the last main series Animal Crossing game, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, was released. Since then, fans have been trying to sate their hunger for a new, true Animal Crossing installment. Happy Home Designer, Amiibo Festival and Pocket Camp wet our whistles, but nothing compares to a real version of our favorite life simulator; and with E3 just weeks away, it’s hard not to want to speculate about what could be in the pipeline.
Nintendo has been tight-lipped regarding the next Animal Crossing game, but we know it’s coming — and we know where it’s coming: the Switch. After all, it’s Nintendo’s current mainline console and it’s the perfect piece of hardware for Animal Crossing, given its portability. But while Nintendo’s been silent on what the future holds for the series, there have been a few signs pointing to an Animal Crossing for Switch announcement coming soon, as well as what we can expect in such a game. Here’s a round-up of everything we know so far.
A hint — or rather, several hints — of what we can expect from an Animal Crossing game for Switch was delivered in one of the most unexpected ways: through Splatoon 2. That’s right: Nintendo’s fresh, young shooter IP may have given us a first-look at in-game assets set to appear in Animal Crossing: Switch Edition.
The Splatoon series is no stranger to free DLC. In fact, it’s pretty much a defining feature of the franchise. In January, a new stage — Shellendorf Institute — was released, bringing with it a few hints of intrigue. The map includes a wall of insects as part of its decor — a wall of insects that bear striking resemblances to catchable bugs featured in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Now, you might be thinking it’s a bit of a stretch to assume these assets may come from a potential Switch version of Animal Crossing. After all, New Leaf bugs are based on real-life bugs — as are Shellendorf Institute’s. Therefore, it makes absolute sense they would look similar.
However, it’s hard to not see the similarities, especially when it comes to art style. To add some whipping cream to the top of this fascinating sundae, several fossils can also be found within Shellendorf Institute, which also draw similarities with existing Animal Crossing series assets.
Would it be too much of a stretch to think these creative assets were lifted from AC for Switch to save Splatoon 2’s developers some time?
Animal Crossing website update
Our second hint towards an imminent Animal Crossing for Switch announcement is much more solid… and suspicious. In early April, Twitter user Pixelpar discovered the official Animal Crossing news site received a major revamp, with news article and video placeholders added to the “News” and “Videos” pages, respectively.
Rumour about Nintendo prepping their website for an Animal Crossing announcement goes here. pic.twitter.com/eoUXLvJh2x
— Pixelpar (@pixelpar) April 4, 2018
Nothing of substance could be found in these sections — just placeholder headlines, images and text. Funnily enough, all videos were actually from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, while placeholder copy for every article was a translation of Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.”
Try checking the site now and you’ll find things have been fixed, but it was an odd situation (and you can check out how it looked by referring to the handy-dandy Wayback Machine). Did Nintendo push a future version of the site live by accident? A future version of the site better suited to host content in a post-Animal-Crossing-for-Switch announcement world?
Interestingly, any mentions of the Wii U and 3DS Animal Crossing games were removed from the site, perhaps signaling a new start for the series — or, at least, a moving forward. Additionally, a third link within the navigation menu — “About” — was present. While it didn’t link to any page like the “News” and “Videos” links did, it does beg a compelling question: What about Animal Crossing needs explaining? Is it the series itself, which might need to be adequately introduced to new players? Or is it because an entirely new entry in the franchise would, obviously, need some explanation?
As an excited Animal Crossing fan myself, I’m banking on the latter.
So what does this all mean? To me, a humble observer, it means an Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch announcement is imminent — and E3 is just around the corner. Whether we’ll finally get a reveal then is anybody’s guess, but I’d say there’s a pretty good chance.
E3 2018 will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center June 12th through the 14th. Keep your eyes peeled to Crossing Station for any news announcements as they come through!