"We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance."
Animal Crossing: New Horizons' delay was one of the more disappointing pieces of news from Nintendo's E3 2019 press conference, but the purpose of pushing back its release date has quite an understandable reasoning behind it. The publisher has commented further on why the game was delayed, saying it was to ensure employee welfare--although its stock price has seemingly taken a hit as a result.
Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser replied to IGN's question about industry crunch--whereby developers are often asked to work extreme hours in the lead-up to launch--by saying: "The crunch point is an interesting one. For us, one of our key tenets is that we bring smiles to people's faces, and we talk about that all the time. It's our vision. Or our mission, I should say. For us, that applies to our own employees. We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance.
"One of those examples is, we will not bring a game to market before it's ready. We just talked about one example [New Horizons' delay]. It's really important that we have that balance in our world. It's actually something we're proud of."
New Horizons was initially scheduled for a 2019 launch, but it will now be released on March 20, 2020. While it's still a way off, pre-orders for the game are now open. You can read more in our Animal Crossing: New Horizons pre-order guide.
In the wake of the news that New Horizons won't be out until the very end of the fiscal year, Nintendo's stock price took a noticeable hit, dropping to its lowest price in a month. It's still up significantly from earlier this year, but its market value dropped by $1 billion on Wednesday before beginning to recover slightly since then.
The game makes a few neat changes compared to previous titles in the series, including the addition of couch co-op. At any point, you can pass a Joy-Con controller to a friend to let them take control of another character who lives in the village. Nintendo also said the game will support four players locally and up to eight players online. For more, check out these welcome Animal Crossing: New Horizons gameplay changes or our look at why New Horizons is so different to past Animal Crossing games.