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E3 2021: Nintendo needs a big Animal Crossing: New Horizons update

Animal Crossings New Horizons Waiting
Animal Crossings New Horizons Waiting (Image credit: iMore)

Animal Crossing New Horizons Shock

Animal Crossing New Horizons Shock (Image credit: iMore)

It's been over a year since Animal Crossing: New Horizons made us all island-designers on the Nintendo Switch. From Bunny Day to New Year dancing, this fun and relaxing sim has seen plenty of events, updates, and changing seasons. Truly, the game a time when everyone needed a little escape from reality.

However, the world is changing yet again — but Animal Crossing: New Horizons is pretty much staying the same. While Nintendo promised plenty of updates to keep the game alive for years to come, we've seen very few updates, and islands are being abandoned day by day. As we head in the "busy" time, I can't help but feel like the love for New Horizons has set sail. With E3 just around the corner and Nintendo holding a showcase, what they really need to do to keep the game and the community alive is drop a huge update. So, how can Nintendo give Animal Crossing: New Horizons a boost?

How to keep it fresh: Adding more surprises

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bored

Animal Crossing New Horizons Bored (Image credit: iMore)

Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn't exactly short on events. Between holidays, Bug-offs, and Fishing Tourneys, there are plenty of things to do. However, a lot of it is...the same, and some of it is seasonal. During the winter months, you won't see too many bugs, and when there's a bit of a lull between the holidays, it can get pretty dull. It would be nice to see a few additional celebrations added to the calendar.

For instance, perhaps a summer or fall street fair with a few vendors who frequently stop by with specialty items may break up the slower months. Another easy way to add a little excitement would be to add new challenges or games to the events. Sometimes it's a lot of "collect x amount of this item and exchange it for a prize." Doing the same thing for every holiday can get a little boring.

Finally, adding a few new options could really help make the game feel fresh. The pumpkin addition for the fall update added a whole new layer. It's not a stretch to add other growable crops, new fruit, or even a cooking mechanic! It could work a lot like crafting items. The system is there; why not do some new things with it? Even adding new fish, bugs, or sea creatures could add a little life to the game. Oh, and if they could stop spamming the island with sea bass and black bass, that would be swell.

Expanded roles and returning favorites

Animal Crossing New Horizons News

Animal Crossing New Horizons News (Image credit: iMore)

While having Rover, Gulliver, Isabelle, and some other favorites appear, it would be nice to see some more characters from other Animal Crossing games. If New Horizons will get any blasts from the past, the most likely would be Brewster and his coffee shop. In fact, some savvy gamers have found code eluding to a possible cafe addition to the island. Sadly, there's no word on whether this will actually be in an update. Still, with the addition of the art wing in the museum, it's not completely out of the question.

Aside from Brewster, plenty of other characters would make a nice addition to the island. Tortimer, Kapp'n and his family, Harriet, Katrina, Pelly, Pete, and more have yet to pop on over to the islands. These roles can provide new variety to New Horizons with new events, tropical getaways, or even a resort with rare gets and fun activities. (What exactly is that dock for, anyway, if you can't use it to get off your island!)

Speaking of resorts, the Nook Miles Island Tours could use a makeover. Rather than visiting the same few islands time and time again, it would be nice to have somewhere else to go. The adventure tours don't have to be empty islands loaded with tarantulas. In fact, visiting new shops, lively towns, and a tropical resort might be a nice change of pace. Plus, like in previous Animal Crossing, it would be a perfect opportunity to head out with some friends and enjoy some mini-games.

A few things to make life easier

Animal Crossing New Horizons Meh

Animal Crossing New Horizons Meh (Image credit: iMore)

Finally, a huge update doesn't have to mean a bunch of new events, characters, or even places to go. Making things much easier might be enough! A good way to update Animal Crossing: New Horizons and bring players back is to simply make the process better. Want to build while in your house without taking things out of your storage? Sure! Maybe you want to buy multiple tickets from the Nook Miles kiosk? That can be arranged. Simply fixing a few of the inconveniences can go a long way — like when they added more custom slots!

Basic convenience upgrades would do a world of good. Make it possible to craft multiple items at once or customize them as you craft. Add a targeting icon so you don't pull up your flowers instead of picking up an item. Also, it would also be nice to see which of your friends has their island open by simply checking the screen. These additions would not only make the experience better but more enjoyable.

Oh — and last but not least — less of the same. Repeat dialogue, especially after your 30th sea bass, can be super irritating. (We know it's at least a C+, and we're throwing that waste of inventory space back.) It would also be great if rare items had a better chance of spawning. If we're killing two birds with one stone, adding some new Island Tours with rare bugs and fish would be super.

Go big or leave the island

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still a lot of fun to play. If you have a creative mind, enjoy reinventing yourself over and over, and always have something new to try, this game is perfect. Still, as fun as this game can be, it needs something big to bring the fading community back.

With E3 just around the corner, a huge update can be just what this game needs, and it's definitely something the players want. Nintendo promised updates for the life of this game, and we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for the next big improvement.

Sara is the Freelance Coordinator, writer, and editor at iMore. When not editing or writing away, she's glued to her Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or PS5, though she's a retro gamer at heart.

4 Comments
  • What bothers me is simply the tedium of seeing the same visitors every week when you don't even care anymore or have already seen/got all their stuff. I'd really like the option of saying ... "I never want to see (Sahara, Flick, Kicks, CJ, KK, etc.) ever again." OTOH, Redd only comes every three weeks and only one out of every three or four times does he even have something new (that's not fake). At that rate, it will be another year to eighteen months before I can complete the museum (and I've already played every day for 14 months). In the mean time I have to see these characters that are of no use to me every single day! So frustrating.
  • I totally agree with you. They need someone new to visit the island, or at the very least, have them offer something more.
  • For once, an imore post I can agree with. There never an actual 2.0 update. I lost my island, actually went back to build a new one and became bored again way before I was able to restore my island to where it once was. Really looking for a legit reason to go back. Honestly, the worldwide Quarantine is probably the main reason why the game blew up way bigger than expected. If so, as per usual, it would get into Nintendo’s head to simply think “nah, an update ain’t really needed.”
  • Yeah, as far as the update is concerned, I can see this dying off. They did manage to loop in a bigger audience thanks to the quarantine, but I can bet they've lost a big chunk of them since. They need a shake-up, or this game is going to gather dust.