25 Sep 2020 5:23 PM +00:00

Animal Crossing New Horizons: Release date, Trailer, pre-order, New features, Playable characters, Co-op, multiplayer & everything else you need to know!

Nintendo has kept its 2020 games list well under wraps.

That said, the developer has given us a sneak peek at a handful of games on the way to Switch over the next year.

The biggest of these is undoubtedly the return of Zelda in Breath of the Wild 2, however, it will be accompanied by the greatly-anticipated Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

New Horizons arrives almost eight years after the last proper Animal Crossing game, New Leaf, and we got our first real look at the game during Nintendo's E3 2019 presentation.

Since then, the company has gradually released snippets of information about it in the lead up to the early 2020 launch.

Continue reading for all the information on the release date, trailers, new features, returning characters, multiplayer and more.

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Nintendo waited until E3 2019 to finally share the first trailer for its new Animal Crossing game - now officially christened Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

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A deserted island such as this looks like a good place to start the adventure

The most recent gameplay trailer offered us our first glimpse at how Animal Crossing's familiar, laid-back gameplay would translate to Switch.

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Rather than starting your domestic adventure by moving into a pre-existing town (like in every previous instalment), New Horizons drops you on a deserted island and lets you build your own village from scratch.

Release date

At E3 2019, Nintendo confirmed that the game had been delayed by a few months, lining the game up to launch worldwide on March 20th, 2020.

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Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser told the gaming community back in June:

"One of our key tenets is that we bring smiles to people's faces, and we talk about that all the time. It's our vision. Or our mission, I should say. For us, that applies to our own employees".

This delay was, therefore, to ensure the development team maintains a healthy work-life balance - a matter that Nintendo takes very seriously.

New Horizons; new features?

At its core, New Horizons is very much similar to the traditional Animal Crossing games, so the day-to-day experience will revolve primarily around interacting with your neighbours.

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You can perform other familiar activities such as fishing, catching insects, discovering fossils, and decorating your home

However, the game builds on this foundation by incorporating elements from the series' mobile spin-off.

In particular, you can now collect different materials like tree branches and stones and fashion those into tools and furniture at the workbench.

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One new type of tool you can craft is a pole, which allows you to vault over the river and reach the other side more quickly

New Horizons introduces a few other new elements to the series as well, many of which are facilitated by the NookPhone, a smartphone-like device that you receive shortly after settling down on your island.

With the NookPhone, you can look up crafting recipes, invite a friend to play alongside you, access the game's photo mode.


You can also use the NookPhone to track the points you gather by completing certain tasks, such as picking weeds and learning new recipes.

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Thankfully, the game also gives you the ability to dictate where your animal neighbours live, as they'll first have to check with you about the spot they've chosen.

You can even shovel up an entire tree and replant it somewhere else, rather than just having to chop it down!

Which Characters Will Return?

So far, the only familiar characters we've seen in New Horizons are Tom Nook and his nephews, Timmy and Tommy, who will play a more pivotal role than they did in the previous 3DS instalment, New Leaf.

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We've also caught quick glimpses of some fan-favourite villagers returning with the game, including Angus, Fuchsia, and Goldie.

Beyond that, however, we don't yet know what other recurring characters will show up in New Horizons or what role they'll serve.


Like previous Animal Crossing games, New Horizons allows you to invite other players to visit your town.

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One island can host up to four players locally and up to eight in online sessions

However, you'll need to have a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to take advantage of these online features

New Horizons also supports couch co-op - by using the 'Call Islander' option in your NookPhone, you can summon another player who has a house on your island and play together.


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During these co-op sessions, the lead player is denoted by a flag over their head. The camera will only follow this player, but you can swap who the leader is at any time.


While no pre-order bundles have been announced over the Christmas holidays, you can now reserve a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons at several retailers, including Amazon.

Stay tuned for RealSport's updates.

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