Animal Crossing: New Horizons Direct Gives Extensive Look Into The Many Things To Do On Your Island Home

Thursday's Animal Crossing Direct had a lot to take in. Here's a recap of everything to expect when your island getaway begins March 20.

February 20, 2020

That island getaway just keeps looking better and better.

A month out from Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ March 20 launch, Nintendo held a 25-minute Direct livestream on Thursday that gave an in-depth look at the many, many things players will be able to do on their soon-to-be island homes.

With the infamous loan shark Tom Nook serving as the Direct’s presenter, the livestream was broken up into three parts; an overview of island life, future development plans, and an FAQ.

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

PART 1: An Island Life Overview

  • Players will live on a deserted island where they can mingle with neighbors and spend time however they choose.
  • You’ll arrive at your island by plane to its local airport. But before you leave, you’ll be able to choose what island you want to go to based on map layout and hemisphere (you’ll still see all four seasons no matter what side of the world you choose to live in, where the cycle starts will just be different).


  • You’ll go through a “New Resident Orientation” from the Nook, Inc. staff once you arrive. You’ll be given a tent that you can choose where to place on the island. You can also help your neighbors decide where to set up theirs.
  • Tom Nook will have a resident services tent that’s open 24/7. You can visit it to buy and sell items, and learn how to craft via the DIY workshop. The more you learn, the more you’ll be able to create, working up to the point where you alter furniture to be a different color or display your own custom patterns.
  • The airport is usable year-round the day after you get to your island. This will be how you access online multiplayer, inviting friends to your island and vice versa. You can also use the airport’s postal service to send cards to your friends.
  • Along with your tent, Nook, Inc. will provide you with a few other essentials, including a NookPhone. The phone your island’s map and a camera, and more apps will be added to it as you play.
  • Tom Nook will make a broadcast to the island each morning, offering advice and keeping you updated on in-game news.
  • The “Nook Mileage Program” will suggest activities for you to do around the island, and doing them will earn you miles that either be used to pay off the cost of the getaway package or be redeemed for rewards like Nook, Inc. merchandise or helpful items.
  • You can run into dangerous creatures on the island like wasps, scorpions, and — in some cases — supernatural beings. As always, getting stung will leave your villager with a swelled up eye, but he/she can also get KO’d this time around.
  • Castaways can wash up on the island shore and you can help them find their way back home.
  • If you ever get lost, you can call the island’s rescue service with your NookPhone. Doing this will trigger a charming cutscene where the screen cuts to black as the rescue rangers swoop in to…save you, I guess. You’ll be back in front of your tent or house as soon as the picture fades back in. Based on the rescue service’s music, it looks like a certain character found a new line of work too.
  • You can eventually build a house and, like always, you’ll have an interest-free loan to pay off on it at your own pace. Just remember, Tom Nook always gets his money. Having a house will give you storage space to place items and furniture not in use, and you’ll have complete control over how your home looks.
  • Nook Miles can also be exchanged for Nook Miles Tickets. These tickets will allow you to go on mystery tours of other islands. You can use this an opportunity to meet different characters, pick up unique items, and catch fish and bugs you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise on your own island.
  • As previously reported, up to eight people can live on one island (i.e. one Switch console) and the game will allow for four-player local co-op. To do this, one player will call the others from their homes and go from there. The person who makes the initial call will be the party leader, but that role can be swapped accordingly. Any items that weren’t picked up by the party leader can be placed in a recycle box at resident services and be picked up by that respective player later.


  • The Switch Online app will have a specific service for New Horizons called NookLink. This will allow players to bring over their custom designs from the 3DS’ Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer via QR codes. NookLink can also be used as a messaging and voice app to talk to friends during online multiplayer. The NookLink service will come out sometime in March after the game releases.

Part 2: Future Development Plans

  • Tom Nook can invite more potential residents to your island over time, but you’ll have a say in where their homes get set up. You’ll be able to recruit new neighbors on your own too.
  • Your island will eventually feature various facilities. This will be the way series staples like the Nook’s Cranny, the Able Sisters’ shop, and the museum get brought back into the fold.
  • The resident services tent will also expand into a proper building by a certain point, closely resembling the town halls seen in previous games. Once this happens, you can talk to Isabelle at the front desk to customize your island’s image (even on vacation, she’s still working). You can also go to Tom Nook to edit or remodel your house.
  • Tourists and merchants will travel to your island on occasion, offering the chance for you to get unique items.
  • There will be free seasonal updates and live events like fishing tournaments and bug-catching competitions.
  • You’ll eventually be able to build bridges and slopes to make navigation of the island easier. You can also earn a builder’s permit that will give you free reign to reshape the terrain of the island once you get it.

Part 3: Frequently Asked Questions

The Direct concluded by touching on a few points that have been brought up in the past few weeks.

  • It was reiterated that one Switch console can have eight people on the same island. Each profile on a respective console can register one resident and build their own house.
  • The game will support all existing Animal Crossing amiibo and cards.
  • Photopia is the game’s photo mode. It’s presented as a completely separate island that “exists someplace out there.” You can use it create photoshoots with the game’s character models, amiibo ones included, with plans for more to be supported later on.
  • Axes and shovels are forbidden when visiting a friend’s island. Unless you’re registered as a best friend. Then you can go crazy.
  • New Horizons will not support cloud saves, but Nintendo will have a service in place to recover save data should a console be damaged or loss. This news comes after it was learned that saves are locked only to one console once the game starts.
  • The New Horizons-themed Switch is still on the way and it still looks really nice.
  • Free updates will continue throughout the year, and an Easter-themed one will be available on launch day.
  • There will be a cross-promotional offer for Pocket Camp players that will give them special items in both games. Details are to be announced on the mobile game’s Twitter account.

A lot to take in, right? The good news is it won’t be much longer until fans get to try it all out for themselves.


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