It had been expected, but Nintendo finally made it official last fall: A new Animal Crossing game is in development for the Switch. The company announced the news during a Direct broadcast back in September, after it was revealed Isabelle would be joining the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster as a playable fighter. And while we didn't get any more details about the game beyond a vague "2019" release window, the promise that a new entry was indeed in development was enough to sate Animal Crossing fans, who had been starved for any kind of updates on the status of the franchise.
Animal Crossing for Switch will mark the series' first new mainline installment since New Leaf, which launched for 3DS back in 2013, six full years ago. Given this long wait for a follow-up, anticipation for the game is understandably high, and with its release still slated for this year, many are expecting Nintendo to pull back the curtain on the title during its E3 2019 presentation next month. With that still a few weeks away, let's take this time to look back on everything we know so far about the new Animal Crossing game for Switch, and what we can expect to hear about it at E3.
What We Know So Far
Outside of confirming its existence, Nintendo has shared very few details about Animal Crossing for Switch. We know the game is launching sometime in 2019, presumably during the holiday season. The company also described the title in a press release as a "mainline" installment, not another off-shoot in the vein of Happy Home Designer or Amiibo Festival, which suggests it will feature the series' beloved mix of town management and life sim gameplay elements. It also seems safe to say that everyone's favorite capitalist, Tom Nook, will return; not only has he been a mainstay of the series since its inception, he was the sole character featured in Animal Crossing Switch's teaser trailer. In that video, Nook mentions he needs to "make sure everyone has a nice, new place to come home to," suggesting he'll once again be the one who provides you with your lodgings in the upcoming title.
What Is Confirmed For E3?
Nintendo typically doesn't divulge too many details about its E3 lineup ahead of the event, and that certainly holds true heading into this year's show. All the company has said thus far about its E3 2019 presentation is that it will take place during its traditional time slot--the Tuesday the expo begins at 9 AM PT / 12 PM ET--and focus on "Nintendo Switch titles for 2019." Still, while no games have been singled out specifically, Nintendo has a number of big releases lined up for this year, including Animal Crossing for Switch. While it hasn't been outright confirmed, it seems likely that Nintendo will use its E3 presentation to officially reveal the first details and footage of the new Animal Crossing game.
What We Hope To See At E3 2019
Given that we currently know next to nothing about the new Animal Crossing game, we're hoping Nintendo devotes a portion of its E3 Direct to finally giving us a glimpse at the title. Since the game is being billed as a "mainline" installment, it's safe to say it will feature the usual assortment of activities--fishing, bug catching, fossil collecting, home decorating, et cetera--and life sim elements that have served as the foundation of the series since the beginning. Even with this knowledge, however, there are many unanswered questions about the game. Will it once again place players in the role of mayor, as in New Leaf? What new features will it introduce? And will it incorporate any elements from Happy Home Designer, or even the series' mobile game, Pocket Camp? Hopefully E3 will give us some answers.
Another big question is what "hook" Animal Crossing for Switch will boast. Each game in the series thus far has introduced some distinctive element to help set it apart from previous installments; in City Folk for Wii, for instance, players could travel to a city area where a variety of shops were located, while the aforementioned New Leaf put players behind the mayor's desk and let them build public works projects, enact ordinances, and have a greater degree of control over the experience. The upcoming Switch game will undoubtedly have some hook of its own, and Nintendo will make a big deal of it when it does finally unveil the title, be that at E3 or during a different presentation.
Beyond that, we will likely also learn some details about the game's online features. Multiplayer has been an integral component of the series from the start, and Nintendo will want to use Animal Crossing as a vehicle to further drive Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions. Being able to visit another player's town is all but guaranteed, but what other activities you'll be able to do together remains to be seen. In New Leaf, players could gather at a tropical island to take part in tours and minigames--will something similar be featured in Animal Crossing for Switch? And will the game give you new online options, such as the ability to set up a secondary home in another player's town? One thing is for sure--with Animal Crossing coming this year, it won't be long until we get a look at the game.