More than 25 special NPC characters from the Animal Crossing series, are not, at time of writing, in New Horizons. Some of these exclusions make sense as their roles have been replaced by a quality of life change or have had their role fulfilled by another character. Some, however, should still find their way back to the series, either because they’re series staples or because their role has not been filled in their absence. With Leif and Redd having been added back in with the most recent update, let’s take a look at which special NPCs I think we also need to see added back into New Horizons.
I’ll be honest, Wendell is a little bit of a tough one to argue to come back. His role has not been integral in most games. In the original game, he would give the player unique wallpaper if they fed him. Wendell was in charge of wallpaper and Saharah the camel was in charge of flooring. In the following games, however, Saharah became responsible for both flooring and wallpaper. Wendell was then delegated to give out patterns instead, but now with the ability for users to share their own pattern designs online, he’s been rendered pretty obsolete.
Wendell’s increasing irrelevance as one of the special NPCs is exactly why I think he should return in New Horizons. He deserves to be useful again. So what could he do if he returned? Well the obvious choice would probably be to give wallpaper different from Sarahah’s list, but I think it would be interesting if he gave out unique items related to food. These pieces would likely have to be just given out instead of being DIYs as there aren’t many food items in the game besides fruits. Of course, there’s no reason items couldn’t be made with fruits and fish. Either way, it would be interesting to either have some items to spruce up a kitchen or dining room, or perhaps something even more outlandish like sofas and beds that look like food.
4. Booker or Copper
Copper and Booker have served two different roles in the series. In the original game and New Leaf, they ran the police station in which you could browse the lost and found and freely take anything you found there. In Wild World and City Folk, they handled the online multiplayer, letting you visit others or opening your town gates to let others in.
If one or both of these special NPCs were added back to New Horizons, they could essentially serve the same role they did in the original game and New Leaf, which is have the lost and found. One can argue that the lost and found in essence already exists with the recycling box in resident services, but that’s more for storing items moved by construction, left by residents who have moved out, and items a couch co-op friend has picked up. The original game had both the dump and the police station, so there is precedent for it.
Additionally, they could tell you if there are any special visitors on your island like they used to. I know many players are frustrated that Isabelle doesn’t already do this in her daily announcements, so Copper and/or Booker could fulfill that role.
Katrina is a really easy one for me to argue for. Her role is in no way already fulfilled New Horizons through any one of the existing special NPCs or quality of life improvements. In every game she has appeared in, she will read the player’s fortune for a small fee. This fortune rarely impacts gameplay too much but it could have odd effects like causing the player to trip or having the villagers oddly endeared to the player. Whether her role is extremely necessary or not, the point stands that it hasn’t been fulfilled by another feature in the game, so I see no reason not to include Katrina, who has been in every game prior. Perhaps she could also have a more active role such as increasing the rate of shooting star appearances or affecting the weather for the following day.
Pascal is another special NPC who really has no reason not to be in the game as his role has not been fulfilled by another character or system in New Horizons. In past games, he would give the player pieces of furniture from the pirate series, usually in exchange for a scallop. He would also give the player some bizarre philosophical pondering in the process, which tended to be rather humorous. I would love to see Pascal return, both for the items that he can give and for his musings.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why in the world I would suggest that Gracie should come back as their role has been pretty much entirely fulfilled by Label in New Horizons. That is a valid observation, but first let’s discuss what Gracie’s role was in past games. Gracie’s role has varied a little from game to game, but the end result was almost always the same: if you did what they asked, you’d be given a piece of designer clothing. In New Leaf specifically, Gracie would give you a theme and ask you to change your outfit to reflect that. If you did well, you were rewarded. This is exactly what Label does in New Horizons.
So why do I think that Gracie should return anyway? Because frankly, Label’s designs are not that interesting. They’re pretty simple pieces of clothing, that yes, generally work well, but aren’t anything wildly different from things you can find in the Able Sisters clothing store. Gracie’s designs were pretty unique comparatively. I’m not saying remove Label, but I think there’s room enough for the both of them. Nintendo could maybe implement a mechanic where they both show up at the same time and you have to choose who to help that day. Gracie has also been in the series since day one and is one of the most iconic characters in my opinion and they really need to come back.