Although Nintendo has gifted fans with various spin-offs since the last mainline entry in the Animal Crossing series, fans are eagerly awaiting the next title that will hopefully come to the Switch. During every direct and announcement, fans sit waiting for new on the next one, but it’s just not in the cards quite yet. This is of course likely due to the fact that the Splatoon team are the same ones that usually work on Animal Crossing. Now that the last big addition to Splatoon 2 is out of the way, it seems likely that we may see the team steadily working towards their next Animal Crossing title. Since New Leaf recently placed itself as the best selling in the series, we’re going to dive into five additions the development team could add to make the next one even grander than ever before.
Detailed Character Creation
This first one might be a bit of a gimme based on recent spin-off titles. In every mainline animal crossing, players don’t get to pick their appearance but instead answer a series of question that in turn determines their starting look. While things like hairstyle, eye color and clothing can be changed other features such as skin tone and face style cannot. That was until we got Happy Home Academy, where players could choose their full appearance from the get-go. This should very much be available to players in the next entry, instead of requiring them to look up guides to get their face just right or not having any skin tone options besides the starting pale skin. While the questions at the beginning have always made for a fun quirky way to create characters, there’s a lot more benefit in really letting players pick how they look out of the starting gate so they’re even happier with their villager.
New Daily Activities
There’s a good amount to do in Animal Crossing every day. From checking shops, to talking to other villagers and digging up any hidden treasures. That said, however, there is a limit to the things you can do in a day. While this fits in with the developers saying they don’t expect many players to spend more than an hour playing each day, many want to keep going even longer. The solution for those wanting to spend more time would be to add a few new areas to explore each day for items. This could be something as simple as a seaside cave where special fish or ores could be found, or even a new forested area that changes its layout daily with hidden treasures in side. Just giving players a few more options to run around and visit everyday adds to the overall experience, without ever making it feel like a chore or necessity.
More Item Customization
New Leaf let players customize items more than ever. From detailed clothes, to actual furniture and even further expanding upon ground patterns. Now we just need them to take it a step further with full customization of every wearable item in the game. It’s a little hard to give full customization of all the furniture due to their level of detail, but letting players completely re-customize clothing items would add to a whole new level of creativity. It might not be for everyone, of course, but many fans love the depth in customization that leads to grand new ideas and this could expand that even further for players. It would also be nice if each player could carry more patterns, instead of having to rely on creating multiple characters in order to create really intricate ground designs.
Extra Inventory Space
As each Animal Crossing title grows upon the last, so does the amount of items that can be collected. The issue with the more items, comes the constant issue of inventory space. Whether in a house or on the player, space becomes an issue especially later into gameplay. The player’s villager themselves can only carry so much, and although some of this was alleviated by being able to stack fruit it’s still a lot of running back and fourth to store items, or just dropping them when it’s too much. An easy fix to this would be adding a backpack item to add double the space, and still keep within the realistic aspect of the game. Housing items can also be a bit of a mess for those who want to collect everything, and this could be made easier by letting players upgrade their storage as they progressed so they no longer have to sell items they just don’t have anymore space for.
Varied Multiplayer Activities
Multiplayer has been a core factor of Animal Crossing since the beginning, but didn’t expand into actually playing with others until the WiFi of the DS version. Now more than ever following every iteration, friends are thrilled to play with one another and do new activities. The island in New Leaf added some fun mini-games for friends to take part in together, but it would be great if there were some collaborative events that happened in the main village when a friend is over. This could be related to an event currently going on or even something brand new just for players to take part in while enjoying time together to encourage having people come and play. This could spread further into a global level of participation by having weekly or monthly activities that players take part in together for a prize upon completion, such as catching a certain number of fish or bugs in order to offer further side activities.
Each Animal Crossing title has brought more to the table than the last, and that will likely continue in whatever comes next. These are just a few ideas of how to increase overall enjoyment, while still maintaining the lovably relaxed aspect of tending to an entire town. While fans continue to wait on the official word from Nintendo, at least we can have fun thinking about what great new things they will come up with. It might still be a ways off, but Animal Crossing has proven in its gameplay alone that good things come to those who wait day after day.