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Forced-out villagers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are glitching their new islands

There’s a complex workaround, and Nintendo supposedly knows

Multiple villagers hang out on a beach in a screenshot from Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has a serious glitch involving the game’s adoption feature — whereby players may take in villagers that leave others’ islands — that can potentially ruin your experience.

This post on The Bell Tree Forums describes a potential workaround to resolve the glitch, and others say Nintendo is even aware of the bug, but for now the best defense to be vigilant and inspect villagers before taking them in.

That’s because, according to this Reddit thread, if the villager in question has been forced out of another player’s island, the plot of land on your island that is meant to become their new home will be bugged, and there’s apparently no fix. The glitched plot will simply read “’s new home,” with the building supplies awaiting their arrival. Players cannot place any more plots for new villagers, and the evicted villager in question never moves in.

With only 10 plots for your island, plus the fact this involves a form of amiibo trading among players, it’s easy to see why this bug is being treated with such alarm by the Animal Crossing community.

The PSA making the rounds describes the problem in detail. The key detail is that a villager who leaves another player’s island of their own accord is entirely safe and won’t glitch their new island. Only ones that have been forced out by another player (and with villagers capped at 10 per island, many have good reasons for doing so) will bring this glitch to someone else’s island.

So, if you’re doing a trade with another player, ask for (or kindly provide) a screenshot showing the dialogue portion where it says the villager is “thinking of leaving,” which ensures they weren’t forced out through the campsite.

Otherwise, Bell Tree Forums has a very complicated workaround that might fix the glitched plot, involving removing the plot of land. But it doesn’t work all the time. In any event, players are asked to report this bug to Nintendo.

A player in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons subreddit said they informed Nintendo about the problem, and were told that “they’re in the process of fixing but can’t fix the bug without messing up other bugs right now, so this could take a few days if not, maybe a week.”

Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched March 20 and so far has gotten two patches, one to address an item-duplication glitch that threatened to wreck the game’s economy. That came in just a few days after players sent out word about it on the internet.

Update (April 2): A new bug-fixing patch for Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released for the game Thursday morning. According to a translation of the Japanese patch notes, any bugged housing plot will open again. The villagers that were set to move in will not move in, however; players will have to find them and invite them again.

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