Everything we want from Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch

E3 2018 has come and gone without any announcements of a next-gen Animal Crossing game — despite our expectations. We detailed the latest Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch rumors and hints that led us to believe a reveal was close at hand, but, unfortunately, we seem to have been wrong. However, that doesn’t mean we still can’t speculate, and a new Animal Crossing game could very well be just around the corner! After all… who knows what could be revealed in the next Nintendo Direct? What would we’d like to see in this could-be game? There’s a lot — trust us.

It’s been five years since the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, with plenty of spin-offs released in the meantime, including Happy Home Designer, Amiibo Festival and, of course, Pocket Camp. Each of these titles brought with them small improvements we’d like to see carry over to the next mainline Animal Crossing game, but there’re a ton more fresh ideas we’d love for Nintendo to introduce, as well. Let’s get started with our wishlist for Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch.

A new point of view

Mario Kart 8 was released for the Wii U in 2014, and following its launch, received a load of paid downloadable content — including a male and female villager character and an entire Animal Crossing course. Upon seeing this course for the first time, our minds began rolling with ideas for the next Animal Crossing game; specifically, we imagined what a next-gen AC would look like with the more “down-to-earth” perspective of the Mario Kart map.

Mario Kart 8 "Animal Crossing" track

The very first Animal Crossing game for the Nintendo 64 and GameCube used a “top-down” perspective. Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS introduced a “rolling-log” perspective, which has been the series standard ever since. We’re hoping Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch/Animal Crossing 5/whatever the next-game title will be will shake things up a bit, giving us a perspective that’s a little closer to the ground.

We’d love a freely-controllable camera, allowing us to move around our villager while it follows behind. While the “rolling log” POV of past games might not work here, it would also be cool to have an option to switch to the OG Animal Crossing’s “top-down” perspective, if desired.

Pocket Camp integration

When Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was announced in early 2016, integration with the main series was one of its touted features. But, like any well-worn Pocket Camp player can tell you, no connectivity to any other Animal Crossing title can be found within the game. At first, it was speculated that this “connectivity” could be to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but given that it’s been almost a year since Pocket Camp’s launch and there’s still no sign of New Leaf integration, we’d imagine this feature is dead in the water.

“Nintendo will design [POCKET CAMP] so that it will be connected with the world of Animal Crossing for dedicated gaming systems. By playing both Animal Crossing games, users will find increased enjoyment.”

However, that doesn’t mean there’s no hope for connectivity in the future! Perhaps Nintendo is saving that specific item for its next mainline title? It would make sense to incorporate that with Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch, which would, presumably, have that connectivity built right-in, whereas New Leaf would require an update and (possibly) several content additions to accommodate Pocket Camp.

So what kind of integration would we like to see between Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp? For one: carrying over your character and items from the mobile game. Why not give players the option when starting a new game in Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch to simply pack up their RV in Pocket Camp and move it into town? Using this option, players would be able to pick right back up where they left off in Pocket Camp, with their full catalog of furniture, clothing, collectibles (including bugs and fish) and more all available to them from the start.

This would, of course, require Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch’s content to always stay up-to-date with what’s being offered in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. So, for every event that takes place in Pocket Camp, players on the Switch should expect those same items to be available in the console game. We don’t expect events themselves to carry over onto Switch, but Pocket Camp players could simply transfer over anything they get on mobile (meaning those exclusive “Rover’s Garden Safari” items or that stuff you got from Julian’s stardust cookie could find a nice, cozy place in your house on the Switch). Perhaps there would also be an alternative means of obtaining these items for those who don’t play both Pocket Camp and Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch — via Redd, Harvey (who, similarly, sold Happy Home Designer items in New Leaf) or a brand-new character entirely.

What about on the Pocket Camp end, though? Given how comparatively massive Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch’s starting catalog will be, it’s unrealistic to think every single one of its items will be made available in Pocket Camp from the get-go. More likely, we think, is that connecting the mobile game with the Switch game will simply unlock a few exclusive items for players to use in their campsites, with more possibly becoming available over time.

Lastly, we think it’d be cool if players could invite visitors at their campsite to move into their Switch town permanently, making it very easy to get your hands on your dreamies — should they be available in Pocket Camp. Everything would transfer over, like Friendship Level and clothing (should those features make a return on the Switch).

There’s one last thing we think would be cool if it could transfer over — and could make a pretty cool overall addition to the Nintendo Switch game…

Customizable RVs

Campers! The biggest borrowed feature from Pocket Camp, we’d like to imagine (please, don’t be microtransactions), will be customizable RVs. Much like in Pocket Camp, players would be able to paint the outside (with the help of brothers Giovanni, Carlo and Beppe, who’d take up shop somewhere on Main Street) and design the inside, decorating it however they like. RVs would then be used to travel to towns of your friends, replacing Kapp’n’s taxi, the town gates and the train stations from past games (as sad as we’d be losing the train station again — after all, it did give us our name!).

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp OK Motors Giovanni Carlo and Beppe

The camper would act as a sort of home-away-from-home when visiting other towns, allowing your pals to check out (and envy) your RV while you’re visiting. Additionally, you may sometimes find other campers in your town downloaded through the internet, either around the main village or in a designated area like the Campground from the “Welcome amiibo” update for New Leaf.

Downloadable content, no microtransactions

If there’s one thing Nintendo Switch games have done well when compared to games on past systems, it’s offering free downloadable content. Splatoon 2, ARMS, Super Mario Odyssey and others have offered players DLC and new gameplay options at no charge, long after the release of the game. It’s a great method for extending player interest in a title, and would work wonders for a game like Animal Crossing, where interest can dwindle as time goes on. New furniture, villagers, clothing and even bugs, fish and other collectibles could be added periodically over time to keep momentum going.

We recognize this could, potentially, be stepping into dangerous territory, though. After all, we know how, erm… overzealous Nintendo’s been getting with events and microtransactions in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. That’s why we do not, at all, want to see a model like Pocket Camp’s return on the Switch. Which should be a safe bet, after all — that game model works well on mobile, and this is a AAA main console title we’re talking about.

That isn’t to say we haven’t seen insane microtransactions in other AAA titles, but we’re hoping Nintendo doesn’t get greedy. Animal Crossing has, for the most part, remained a casual, chill, relaxing series, and we’d definitely like to see it remain this way.

More robust relationships

In mainline Animal Crossing games, relationships with your villagers have always been very surface-level, with no real way to gauge how close you are with them. You could talk to your neighbor, fetch them fruit, send them letters… but your relationship with them never really grew. That all changed with Pocket Camp, which introduced Friendship Levels, allowing players to improve their relationships with their animals to unlock new rewards. For Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch, we’d like to see an expansion (and revision) of the system that Pocket Camp implemented.

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp 2017 Direct Friendship Level

Friendship Levels in the Switch game would be somewhat different, as the system wouldn’t involve unlocking craftable rewards (we don’t see a reason for crafting to return). There wouldn’t be any heart-filling-up animations every time you did something for your villagers, you wouldn’t see a little splash screen showing your relationship improving… It’d all happen quietly in the background via a separate menu you could check.

Each time you complete a task for a villager, send them a letter, visit their home or otherwise do something nice for them, your Friendship Level increases, unlocking more dialogue and causing them to act friendlier with you — meaning more gifts, of course. Conversely, ignoring them, hitting them with your net, failing to complete their favors, pushing them into pitfalls and other forms of Animal Crossing-style bullying will lower your Friendship Level with them, making them colder towards you and less open to giving you gifts. Do enough damage to your friendship and your Level will turn to the negative, making it so there’re actual consequences to not treating your neighbors right.

Animal Crossing: City Folk doing a favor for Drake

We wouldn’t want to see any specific rewards handed out for hitting specific levels, like we see in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (aside from, of course, animals’ pictures, which you’d get from reaching the highest Friendship Level). We’d like to get the Switch version as far removed from mobile gaming-style systems as possible. Instead, the Switch version would do away with numbering Friendship Levels — you’d just have one “heart,” which would fill up gradually until full.

Music options

The music in the Animal Crossing series has always been one of my favorite elements. As a fan of the franchise since its Western debut on the GameCube, I have an enormous amount of fondness for the original game’s soundtrack. Hearing any of the hourly songs fills me with intense nostalgia, and I’m of the opinion that the music of Animal Crossing games that followed haven’t quite been up to par with the GameCube version’s. A completely-new feature I’d kill to see is the addition of a “music player” item of sorts — like the “GB Sounds” item from Nintendo DS games Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver, which allowed players to replace the games’ soundtracks with that of the original games they were remakes of.

With the music player item, players could switch the game’s music to be that of the GameCube version’s, Wild World, City Folk or New Leaf, if they wanted. That way, when 9:00 a.m. rolled around, you could listen to your favorite music from any installment in the series. Perhaps you could even combine soundtracks, if you wanted. Was 10:00 a.m. from the GameCube game your favorite version of the song, but your favorite version of 11:00 a.m. from New Leaf? No problem — just pick and choose which songs you want to play! This could even extend to other pieces of the soundtrack, as well. I know my favorite museum theme was from the GameCube version — there was just something about how hollow and mysterious the song made the museum that no succeeding theme has been able to do. I’d love to be able to listen to it again when entering the museum in Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch.

 

That isn’t to say the soundtrack for the Switch version won’t be amazing — we’re sure it will be — and it’d be a shame if it didn’t get appreciated in its own right. That’s why we envision the ability to switch out the soundtrack to be tied to the music player item, which could be a reward given to players who’ve reached some sort of in-game achievement, or only available to purchase once the final upgrade to Timmy and Tommy’s store is complete or something. Maybe it doesn’t even have to be an item… What about a record store that can be built on Main Street, where players can go to change up the soundtrack? If Celeste doesn’t return as master of the observatory, could she work as shopkeeper of the record store? Or what about Lottie, whose role in the series is tenuous, at best? I kinda really wanna see a grunged-out, ’90s-styled Lottie working behind the counter now. After all, she’s been no stranger to different clothing styles…

More character customization

Animal Crossing: New Leaf introduced a ton of new features to the series in the way of character customization, with the revamp of playable character models and the addition of changeable pants, socks and shoes. While we can’t imagine Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch adding in too many new types of wearables (aside from maybe accessories like watches, bracelets or earrings), there is one glaring omission from the main series that has been implemented in both Happy Home Designer and Pocket Camp: Free customization of your character.

In main Animal Crossing titles, players have been limited to answering a series of unrelated questions at the beginning of the game to shape their character’s looks. What your character ultimately looked like was always a toss up, since, without a guide, a player wouldn’t be certain what answers would result in what appearance. We think it’s high time this system was put to bed, and players should be able to freely pick what their character looks like from the outset. This includes skin tone and eye color; after all, gamers with non-fair skin tones shouldn’t feel like they can’t easily be represented within the game. In every main series title, the only way to get a skin tone that isn’t the default white is by tanning for hours — either during the summer or on-island (should the game have an island). This seems a bit ridiculous to us.

Toolbox and more inventory space

Over the course of the Animal Crossing series’s lifetime, a few improvements have been made to the inventory system — stackable fruit, for one — but overall, it’s still muchly the same as it was when the first Animal Crossing launched almost 20 years ago. Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch desperately needs to include more inventory space to hold all those fruit, bugs, fish, furniture and clothing you might be holding on to. Even if a few more inventory slots aren’t added, the game should at least introduce something akin to a toolbox in which players can hold all their tools. In New Leaf, carrying all available tools (fishing rod, net, timer, ax…) eats up pretty much half of players’ inventory space by themselves. A simple “toolbox” item would be a very welcome quality-of-life change, and would certainly save players a lot of trips back and forth to Re-Tail.

While we’re on the topic of the toolbox, though…

New collectibles, expanded gardening

Why not add a few more collectibles to the game? We already have fish, bugs and, as of New Leaf, deep sea creatures (a nice addition, for sure!). What about gem or mineral collecting as an expansion of the simple break-a-rock-to-find-gold system currently in place? With a new pickax tool, players could go around, mining rocks for rubies, sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, topaz, opal, amethyst, garnet and any other variety of precious or semi-precious gems. Additionally, players could also mine granite, quartz, basalt, sandstone and other types of rocks. Seasonality wouldn’t affect which gems and minerals could be collected throughout the year, but it would affect selling prices. Plus, new material types means more crafting options from Cyrus; who wouldn’t want a mansion decked-out in pink gold or diamond? Overall, we think this could be a neat addition to the game, all cataloged in the same way fish, bugs and deep sea creatures are.

Flora would be another set of collectibles we’d like to see, along with an upgrade of the current gardening system. On top of the ability to plant and harvest fruit (as has always existed in the games), we think it’d be cool if players could tend their own gardens and grow vegetables, new types of flowers and maybe even create some typical Animal Crossing oddities through crossbreeding. Like the rocks and gems, plants grown and harvested would be cataloged. Players could run an entire Bell-making operation by growing and selling flowers and veggies, give the fruits of their labor to villagers and friends or even use them as crafting materials to customize furniture. Maybe, just maybe, they could even be used in some sort of cooking/baking system, although we may be getting ahead of ourselves. Being able to bake a carrot cake to give to our rabbit villagers would be pretty cute, though…

More village customization

Animal Crossing: New Leaf did a wonderful thing in adding in public works projects and town ordinances, but we’d love to see some enhancements made to this system. For one, the removal of randomized project requests. Nothing was more frustrating than trying over and over again to force villagers to request certain projects to be built (I still haven’t gotten the windmill in my New Leaf town I’ve been so desperate for). Instead, either all public works projects should be available from the start, or they should be locked behind gates tied to playtime or other milestones.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf windmill

Of course, we’d also like to see brand-new projects added, as well! More types of benches, lights, sculptures… maybe even a native way to build paths? What about a select bunch of amenities from Pocket Camp, like the merry-go-round, pool set, canvas hammock, half-pipe and bouncy cake, for instance? A less clumsy way of placing projects would also be greatly appreciated. Players could lead Isabelle to the general area they’d like to build in, and the camera could pull out a bit (similar to when rearranging a room in Animal Crossing: New Leaf – Welcome amiibo and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer) to allow easy placement. While we’re at it, can we get a bit more liberal with the placement grid? This was a feature added to Happy Home Designer and carried over into Pocket Camp, but didn’t see it in New Leaf’s “Welcome amiibo” update.

We’d also like it if players could design the general layout of their town from the beginning instead of it being randomized. When speaking to Rover on the train (or when he’s driving you in his RV or something, if RVs do indeed return — like we’re hoping for), after you’ve designed your character, he could show you a map of the town and ask if that’s the place you’re moving to. Answer “no,” and he’ll ask you to redraw the map so he gets a better idea of where you’ll be living. Want your town’s river on the left side? Just move it! Want three tiers instead of two? No problem. Want your neighbors’ houses all bundled up by the cliff? You can do that.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf Rover on train

Lastly, while we’re on the topic of villagers’ houses, we’d love if we could have a direct say in where animals move in — and if they can move out. Does a new animal want to move to your quiet, little town? Isabelle (assuming players still have the role of mayor in Animal Crossing for Switch) will alert you with a move-in request. View the request, and you can tell Isabelle exactly where the aspiring villager’s house will go. No more dealing with animals deciding to move three tiles in front of your house, or on top of your flower patch or in the middle of your pattern paths.

Move-outs would work generally the same as they do in New Leaf, with animals telling you ahead of time and you having the option to tell them not to go, but it’d be great if Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch also introduced a new town ordinance that didn’t permit any animals from leaving town, no matter how long you haven’t played for. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time to check my town each day to ensure my precious Bones or Bob or Tangy don’t look for greener pastures.

The return of forgotten features

The history of the Animal Crossing series is long, and with handfuls of main titles and spin-offs, there’ve been numerous features that’ve been introduced… and later abandoned. Animal Crossing for the Switch would be perfect if it reintroduced some of our favorite features that were lost to time.

Celeste’s observatory, for one, was great fun in Wild World and City Folk, only to disappear when New Leaf was released. Making constellations in the sky was awesome, and being able to view them at night added a fantastic touch of personalization to each town. We wouldn’t say no to the idea of this returning in the Switch game, albeit with some improvements (more stars in the sky, please!).

Animal Crossing: City Folk Celeste in observatory

One major difference between the GameCube version of Animal Crossing and the games that followed was the amount of villagers that could live in your town. While New Leaf and City Folk only allow 10 villagers to call your town their home (and Wild World only eight), the original Animal Crossing allowed 15! 15 villagers! We were definitely spoiled back then, but with town sizes in the GameCube game generally being bigger, it makes sense that the amount of animals was reduced. That being said, it’d be amazing if the Switch version not only increased the size of towns, but also the amount of residents. That isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

The GameCube release of Animal Crossing also included some tinier features, like sports balls that appeared around town you could kick around, special events like summer morning aerobics and treasure hunts posted by villagers on the town bulletin board. Not every one of these features is vital, but they added a little something special to the original game, and we wouldn’t mind seeing their return in Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch.

Whew! Well, that’s our list! What’d you think? Is there anything you would’ve added, or disagree with? Let us know in the comments, or start a discussion on the Animal Crossing for Nintendo Switch forum!

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