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The biggest announcements from the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Direct

So much customization!

a brown-haired woman in a blue-and-white striped shirt and blue jeans stands on a stone platform on a beach in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
Julia Lee (she/her) is a guides producer, writing guides for games like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Genshin Impact. She helped launch the Rift Herald in 2016.

Nintendo aired a new Animal Crossing: New Horizons Nintendo Direct presentation today, featuring new information about the game, including what it’s like to start out on a new island and what you can do.

It was chock-full of new features for the game, so here’s some of the biggest announcements from the stream:

Choose your island layout and your hemisphere

You’ll be able to choose from four island options to find your desired layout, meaning you won’t have to start completely over to get a layout you like. You can also select what hemisphere you want your island to be in, so it’ll experience different seasons during different times of the year.

Place where your villagers’ homes will go

New villagers will no longer just plop their homes down wherever, ruining your landscaping. You’ll decide where they go yourself. You can even place a spot for a future resident before they move in.

A villager places down a plot for a future home to go in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Image: Nintendo

Up to 8 people can be on one island via multiplayer

You’ll be able to visit other islands using a service called Dodo Airlines at the airport, with up to eight people being able to play together at once. You can also have up to eight residents on one island, playing on one copy of the game, though only four can play on local multiplayer at once.

Complete achievements to earn Nook Miles

Nook Miles can be used to buy items or to pay off some of your dreadful loan. After all, going on a fancy vacation isn’t free. Achievements will have you catching fish or bugs.

a brown-skinned villager with a teal hat fishing in a stream in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

A rescue service will take you home if you get lost on your island

If you get caught in a tough place while decorating, or maybe you’re just too lazy to walk back to your house, you can call a rescue service. Though the rescue operator wasn’t named, their tone of voice and the music playing implied that it was ... Mr. Resetti with a new job.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Happy Home Designer designs will be importable

Using the Nintendo Switch app, players can read the QR codes from old games’ designs and import them to New Horizons. If you had a jacket design you really liked in the old game, you won’t have to remake it!

Decorate your homes from an overhead view

Just like in Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, you won’t have to stand around where you want to place furniture. You’ll be able to decorate freely without your character in the way.

A hand picks up and drags a cream-colored sofa across a room Image: Nintendo

You’ll be able to terraform your entire island

After receiving a permit, you can not only make paths, but extend or remove rivers, and even out some of the land. This cranks up the island customization to 11 in this game, as you can truly make your island into whatever you want.

A villager in a hard hat forms up land to create an extended cliff Image: Nintendo

Randoms won’t be able to mess up your town

You’ll be able to choose who can chop down trees or edit your island, so while your friends will be able to help you out, random people won’t be able to ruin your home.

Free updates will add holidays

The game will continue to update, adding holiday events throughout the year. The first event will be for Bunny Day in April, and it’ll be a day-one update on March 20.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons sends players on an island vacation as part of the Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package. Transported to a deserted island, players will establish a new life, craft and build custom items, and interact with newcomers as they arrive at the island destination. The Nintendo Switch sequel will add brand-new villager customization options and support for up to eight players in local and online multiplayer. Features from previous games, like a museum that can be filled with flora, fossils, and other items, will return in New Horizons.

Nintendo will release Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Switch on March 20. Nintendo will also release a special Animal Crossing-themed edition of the Nintendo Switch on March 13. It’s available for pre-order now.

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