Nintendo’s Treatment Of Animal Crossing Is Stuck In The Early 2000s

With Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the, well, horizon, many are excited for the upcoming installment in the Animal Crossing franchise after a seven-year hiatus. The more we find out, however, the less excited some players get, as the game appears to be adopting old-school mechanics in the game’s one-island-per-Switch rule.

Nintendo has frequently had the reputation of being a dinosaur. While the gaming conglomerate has paved the way in its adoption of unexplored concepts like motion controls and the ability to take home consoles on the go, it has been less willing to evolve in other areas. For example, Nintendo has long been a target of the tech junkies who criticize its “behind-ness” in terms of graphical capabilities. However, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons rule regarding islands is the latest example of Nintendo failing to adhere to modern-day conventions.

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As stated before, a major flaw ahead of the game’s release is the fact that only one island is allowed per Switch console. As seen on Nintendo’s website, Nintendo asks buyers to note that “only one island can exist per Nintendo Switch console, irrespective of the number of users registered to or copies of the game used on one console.”

Essentially, this means that, regardless of how many profiles exist in the game on one Switch, they will all be restricted to the same island. Nintendo also clarifies that using above one copy of the game on a Switch console will not allow players to generate more islands.

This is a crying shame. The game allows for eight different registered users on one console, but all of them will be restricted to the same island. It’s similar to the restrictive Super Mario Maker 2 situation where players had initially been restrained to 32 created levels. The situation was eventually amended, but there is little room for diversity in Animal Crossing: New Horizons when eight players are forced to share and play on the same island.

Frankly, these are retro mechanics. The first Animal Crossing allowed four users to play in the same town on one memory card. Even then, one could technically use multiple memory cards to theoretically have several towns on one console. There is little room for dodging this on the Switch.

Hopefully, Nintendo will either change this rule before release or provide an update following its release to allow for other islands. As it stands, the one-island rule is highly restrictive and doesn’t offer players a change of pace, unless they buy an additional Switch. But, unless you’ve got some extra money, that wouldn’t seem to be the best investment.

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