Why Nintendo's new Animal Crossing features allow instant change in the real-time game

Features like crafting and terraforming are series firsts for Nintendo's Animal Crossing saga, and the studio tells Launcher both aim to give players more to do in their extended day-to-day play.

“For users like that, we were able to give them what they weren’t able to achieve before.”

- Aya Kyogoku talks about Animal Crossing: New Horizon's series-first features.

Features present in Animal Crossing: New Horizons like crafting and terraforming are new to Nintendo’s Animal Crossing saga, and two additions that Nintendo explains aim to offer more ways to play.

New Horizons game director Aya Kyogoku and producer Hisashi Nogami sat down with Launcher to discuss the reasoning behind some of those new features and how they, by design, affect the flow of Animal Crossing’s real-time, day-by-day gameplay.

Major changes to an Animal Crossing town (or in this case island) like upgrading a house or building a new business tend to require an actual real-world day or two to fully happen, meaning the game is largely meant to be played in daily bursts. But those previously mentioned new additions break Animal Crossing’s mold a little bit by allowing players to affect their world immediately.

“Because the Animal Crossing series is tied to the real-time clock, there are users who want to play late at night or who want to play early in the morning. By giving those users an option to craft, we thought this would be a new way for them to play and to acquire [craftable] items," Kyogoku tells Launcher.

Terraforming, meanwhile, offers the same ability to create or change without needing to heed business hours or wait for time to pass, while also giving players the ability to alter rivers, cliffs, and the overall landscape to fit their own visions of an island paradise.

There’s quite a bit more to be found in the full Launcher interview, including discussions about in-game time traveling, the decision to offer holiday content via patches, and New Horizon’s more inclusive approach to character customization.

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