Nintendo releases Animal Crossing New Horizons 2.0 update


Image courtesy of Nintendo

By Ali Wire

The free update for the Nintendo Switch exclusive game Animal Crossing New Horizons arrived on Nov. 3. The gaming company released a teaser video on Oct.15 highlighting the long-awaited features.

Animal Crossing New Horizons was originally released in March 2020 and became wildly popular over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Animal Crossing video game has been around since the early 2000s; the first game was released for GameCube in 2001.

The company has also released versions of the game for the Nintendo DS, the Wii and for mobile phones. The game is known for its cute animal village setting and nonlinear play-style.

The social simulation game takes players to an island and gives users the creative freedom to decorate and expand. The base game has several different objectives such as building the player’s home, homes for villagers and islanders, stores and museums. Players can customize their islands by growing plants and flowers, painting paths, building bridges and placing furniture.

The new update added several large features to the game, expanding the boundaries of the game’s customization abilities. The Roost, a cafe that first made an appearance in the 2005 Nintendo DS Animal Crossing Wild World, has been added into the game. Players can enjoy a cup of coffee with many different island visitors as well as with specific, invited villagers by purchasing Amiibo cards.

Harv’s Island, formerly used in the game as a studio for in-game screenshots and recordings, was transformed into the home of the plaza where players can spend in-game currency, known as Bells, to open up different shops. Many fan-favorite critters such as gardening supply salesman Leif and shoe merchant Kicks are able to set up permanent shops in the plaza.

This eliminated the need to wait for them to show up at the island. Along with the shops, new customization options for furniture and hairstyles became available to learn on Harv’s island.

While food has been featured as a decorative item in past versions of the game, players have now been given the opportunity to learn and cook recipes using foods they grow themselves in their gardens. Planting and gardening different types of flora has always been a part of the Animal Crossing series, but cooking homegrown crops was an entirely new feature.

Along with these larger updates, Nintendo released some smaller yet highly requested updates. For 700,000 Bells, Tom Nook at the island Resident Services office can increase home storage from 2,500 items in the inventory to 5,000.

Players also now have more home customization opportunities such as options to make new exterior changes to their houses and roofs and add accent walls and ceiling lights to interiors.

Many players of the game have put countless hours into creating stunning atmospheres. CLU graduate student Madison Bartula spent over 600 hours in the game during the first pandemic wave creating her cozy, nature-inspired island.

Bartula has been playing Animal Crossing since she was eight years old. When the game update was released in the beginning of the pandemic, Bartula found comfort in playing.

“I loved how many of my friends were playing, so we could FaceTime and play Animal Crossing together and connect that way while we were staying at home,” Bartula said. “In a weird way, I felt productive working on my island, even though it’s just a video game.”

While many have complained about running out of things to do in the game, Bartula played Animal Crossing almost every day up until the last spring, when she had more free time. She had been most looking forward to the update to Harv’s Island.

“I’ve barely used it thus far, but the whole idea of all the vendors being there and new interactions is really exciting,” Bartula said.

Additionally, Bartula looked forward to the new Animal Crossing expansion pack “Happy Home Paradise,” which was released on Nov. 5. The expansion gave the players an opportunity to create vacation homes for a select villagers, with the ability to customize the spaces’ interiors, exteriors, front yards and weather. This was not a part of the free update, but is available for individual purchase.

The Animal Crossing 2.0 update is currently available for all Nintendo Switch users. More information on what was and will be released can be found in Nintendo’s official release video.