Where is the Next Animal Crossing?
All the way back in April 2016, Nintendo announced that they would be releasing two new mobile games; Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem Heroes. Fire Emblem Heroes has been available for months. Animal Crossing is nowhere to be seen. No one who is a fan of Animal Crossing is happy right now.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS, and that’s the last proper release we’ve seen from the series. Sure, to everyone’s surprise, Nintendo provided an update to New Leaf last year that added amiibo support, but that hardly counts as a new installment. Instead we were given Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer for 3DS and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival for Wii U. Boy, what a couple of stinkers. I understand why some people like Happy Home Designer, but I have yet to talk to literally anyone who feels that Amiibo Festival did the Animal Crossing brand any favors. Nintendo currently has 16 Animal Crossing amiibo on the market. If you wanted every one of them when Amiibo Festival came out, you were going to be paying around $200. It’s hard to argue that Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival was anything but a cash grab. It felt thrown together, it lacked depth, it just wasn’t fun.
We aren’t even sure if the Animal Crossing mobile app that’s been promised is a proper full featured release. In fact, it probably isn’t. I think it’s likely that whatever the mobile app ends up being, it will interact with the inevitable Nintendo Switch installment of Animal Crossing. Could Nintendo be delaying the release of the Animal Crossing mobile app to coincide with a new Animal Crossing Switch title? Maybe. It’s 50/50. For all of its faults, the Nintendo Switch Online app does a nice job of syncing up certain aspects of Splatoon 2 with the actual game. The same could be done with Animal Crossing.
Being able to control certain aspects of my town on the go would be incredible. Yeah, I know you can take the Switch on the go. But I don’t always have the Switch on me. I do, however, always have my iPhone on me. And if I could sell turnips at a high markup while I’m at dinner with my girlfriend (I swear I have one), I would lose my mind. What if I could start a new town ordinance (that requires townspeople to pay me all of their bells) from the mobile app? Or better yet, what if I could rearrange my house on my phone? I have no idea how it’s going to work because there are so many suitable directions in which Nintendo could go with this.
Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime stated in an interview that they are committed to having Animal Crossing release this year. But what exactly did he mean by “this year?” Is he talking about the end of the calendar year or the fiscal year? It’s anybody’s guess as to which year he was referring to. The fiscal year ends March 31st, so it’s not like it would be a huge delay if Nintendo were to let the title slip into early 2018, and the possibility exists that the game could come out before December 31st of this year. Although, Nintendo has a seriously packed release schedule over the next few months.
Look at this. It’s absolutely insane.
09/29 – Nintendo Entertainment System: SNES Classic Edition
10/06 – Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions (3DS)
10/20 – Fire Emblem Warriors (3DS and Switch)
10/27 – Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)
11/10 – Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS)
11/10 – Snipperclips Plus (Switch)
11/17 – Pokémon Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon (3DS)
12/01 – Xenoblade Chronicles 2 (Switch)
Where would Nintendo even schedule the release? Mid-December? I don’t think it’s that far-fetched. Here’s how I’m thinking this will play out; after the Super Mario Odyssey dust settles, we’ll get an announcement that a Nintendo Direct is coming in mid-November. Reggie appears on screen wearing a Tom Nook mask and says everyone has to pay 100,000,000,000 bells before we can see the new Animal Crossing app and announces that the Animal Crossing app will be released in mid-December. He also announces that a new Animal Crossing game for the Switch will be released in 2018. This is what everyone wants.
There is another way this might play out. We get to December without hearing a thing about the new app and then right before the year ends Nintendo quietly announces that the Animal Crossing mobile app has been postponed indefinitely. Ouch. It hurts to even think about.
Animal Crossing is a hugely popular series for Nintendo and undoubtedly deserves a new release. I want it, you want it, everybody wants it. If and when it finally releases, I’ll be catching fish, digging for fossils and paying Tom Nook the cost of a small island to upgrade my home so I can fit one more chair in it. It’s all about that sweet, sweet Animal Crossing life.