Nintendo finally gave us our first glimpse at Animal Crossing for Switch–now officially christened Animal Crossing: New Horizons–during its E3 2019 Direct. We learned some further details during a subsequent Treehouse livestream demo, and since then, other tidbits about the game have emerged, including some welcome quality-of-life improvements it’ll be making to the series.
Unlike previous Animal Crossing games, which had players moving into a preexisting village, New Horizons ships you off to a deserted island, where you can establish your village from scratch. You won’t be alone, however; in an interview with IGN, director Aya Kyogoku revealed you’ll arrive on the island alongside a couple of other random animals who’ve also chosen to embark on the Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package. Before these other villagers settle down, however, they’ll ask you if the spot they’ve chosen is okay, and if you don’t like it, you can choose a different spot.
You’ll also have a much greater degree of freedom when customizing your character’s appearance this time around. In past games, your character’s face was determined by the answers you gave before moving in to your village, and the kind of hairstyles you could have were locked by gender (although you could eventually unlock the opposite gender’s hairstyles in New Leaf). As Kyogoku revealed to Polygon, you’ll be able to freely choose your character’s facial features and hairstyle, regardless of gender, and you can swap between those options at any point in the game. For the first time in the main series, you can also select your character’s skin tone.
Those aren’t the only big changes New Horizons is making. During the aforementioned Treehouse demo, we learned the game will feature couch co-op. At any point, you can pass a Joy-Con controller to a friend to let them take control of another character who lives in the village. Nintendo also said the game will support four players locally and up to eight players online.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons launches for Nintendo Switch on March 20, 2020. While it’s still a way off, pre-orders for the game are now open. You can read more in our Animal Crossing: New Horizons pre-order guide.
More E3 news: