Posts by Tag / GAME: Animal Crossing: New Horizons (24)

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Crafting a Progression

Like many folks, I was skeptical when the early reveals of Animal Crossing: New Horizons showed that it had a significant crafting element. But when I thought about it, I started to get genuinely excited because I think crafting could be the key to solving the single biggest problem I have with Animal Crossing: its randomness.

A significant long-term appeal of mainline Animal Crossing games is customization. As you get more and more customization options like furniture and decorations and clothing and so on, you can increasingly make your own mark and express your own creativity and personality in the game’s world. The problem is that those options are doled out on a largely random schedule. You can plan to decorate your house in a particular style, but you can’t really take steps toward the goal - you mostly just have to wait and hope the relevant furniture and such becomes available. In the meantime, you make do with what you get - and even if you have most of the furniture in a theme, you might be waiting a long time for the last piece or two and have to make do with mismatched sets in the meantime.

It’s not yet clear exactly how crafting will work in New Horizons but if it follows the precedent established by other games, it could solve this cleanly. Crafting can provide a progression that allows you to actually make plans and take steps toward your goals, and often themed sets of furniture and such are all on the same tier of that progression, craftable with the same materials.

For the first time, my Animal Crossing home decor might reflect a purposeful progression rather than a random mishmosh of whatever the Nooks have deigned to sell. I like that idea a lot.

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Animal Crossing Builders?

Dragon Quest Builders 2 has me cautiously excited for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The mayor systems in Animal Crossing: New Leaf added more control over the overall town, and then Happy Home Designer had you creating homes/facilities to resident requests… New Horizons includes crafting systems and has you building up a deserted island with increased customization. These all sound like steps toward the Dragon Quest Builders formula.

This could go a lot of ways, but the idea of an Animal Crossing that’s basically DQB without combat or a closed story (and presumably with Disney Magical World-style renewable resources instead of terrain deformation) is really appealing.

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No Cloud Saves for Animal Crossing: New Horizons

It’s being reported that the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons will not support cloud backups for its save files “to avoid manipulating time, which remains one of the founding concepts of the series.” (Source, translation.)

It’s bad enough that Nintendo doesn’t allow you to back up your own save files manually and makes a paid subscription the only way to protect your data from hardware failures, damage, loss, or theft. That’s already anti-consumer.

But if they’re going to do that, then once you’re paying money for the privilege of backing up your data from playing your game on your console, no game should be able to opt out. It’s ludicrous to charge you for a service and then tell you “Nope, this particular developer didn’t feel like you should get to use the service you’re paying for on the product they sold you.”

Supposedly, developers need “a good reason” to opt out of cloud backups, but in practice the reasons we’ve seen so far usually aren’t good at all. But what I find interesting about this one is how paternalistic it is.

It feels similar to the argument you sometimes hear against the inclusion of easy modes, that somewhere a player might play on easy even though they’d enjoy the game more on hard, and preventing this possibility is somehow worth blocking other people from enjoying the game at all. I don’t care if some player out there uses save backups to finish their insect collection faster or whatever - why on earth is preventing that worth blocking all players from backing up their save in a game that’s intended to be played for months or years?

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