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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Looks Pretty, And Pretty Different

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Build your island lifestyle.

Nintendo featured Animal Crossing: New Horizons during its E3 2019 Nintendo Direct presentation, announcing a March 20, 2020 release date. It took some time just after it however, during its live Treehouse stage show, to reveal many more details about the game. Here's a recap of what we learned; you can also watch the full segment in the video above.

The new horizons in this game is an entirely new community you build from scratch. Nintendo set this game on a deserted island to give players more flexibility, as well as to make for a different experience for those who have played previous games and seen an established village before. In this game you're helping Nook Inc., a development company started by the raccoon landlord, Tom Nook. (Isabelle is in the game, too.)

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Now Playing: Animal Crossing: New Horizons - 24 Minutes Of Gameplay | Nintendo Treehouse E3 2019

This island incorporates northern and southern hemispheres, and reacts to elements like the strength of wind for moving the leaves on trees. Nintendo even recorded real-world noises for its island sound effects.

You begin your island living on a tent in the beach with only the essentials. There isn't much room inside, so this time, you can place furniture outside. You can also move furniture in half-units, as compared to the full units in Happy Home Designer, to allow "more versatility in home decoration." Finding new furniture or tools materials can be navigated through a smartphone interface, called a NookPhone. You'll buy or find recipes, craft them at the workbench, and then use them to harvest better materials for more tools or new furniture.

If you use your NookPhone to call another islander, they can join up using a second Joy-Con. This allows the couch co-op element, with four together on one system and up to eight online. The NookPhone also lets you take photos in a camera mode.

Finally, you can gather Nook Miles similar to an airline frequent flyer miles. You'll get some points just from traveling to the island at the very beginning of the game, but from then on you can gain them by doing just about anything, from crafting items to picking weeds. You can then trade the Nook Miles for in-game items.

The Nintendo Direct presentation was packed with surprises, including a Banjo-Kazooie joining Super Smash Bros, Luigi's Mansion 3 gameplay details, and a sequel to Breath of the Wild.

More E3 news:

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Steve Watts

Steve Watts has loved video games since that magical day he first saw Super Mario Bros. at his cousin's house. He's been writing about games as a passion project since creating his own GeoCities page, and has been reporting, reviewing, and interviewing in a professional capacity for more than 15 years. He is GameSpot's preeminent expert on Hearthstone, a title no one is particularly fighting him for, but he'll claim it anyway.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

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