Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the latest game in the popular Animal Crossing series. It’s only been out for a few years, but already, some are thinking about the next instalment in the series. More specifically, speculating – and wishing – on what the new game will have. Will there be brand-new gameplay, characters, and items? This is very likely, as each instalment released so far has given us something new. However, as new features have been added, some older gameplay features have been left out. There are probably good reasons for this, but it is a shame when a favorite feature doesn’t reappear in the next game.
This list will explore at least some of the features from past Animal Crossing games that could – and should – make a comeback in the next game, whenever that may come out. There’s also the subject of brand-new features that could be added, but that’s for another time.
The Town Tree
If you’ve played Animal Crossing: New Leaf, then you’ll know what I mean when I talk about the town tree. Animal Crossing is full of trees, but this was a special tree in New Leaf. You planted this tree in the plaza of your village when you first started a new game. It started off as a sapling, but as time passed, it would grow bigger and bigger, until it became enormous. It would take a long time to get very big. To get to its biggest size, you would need to play for a staggering 500 days, plus 500 hours. Getting the tree to this size would require a lot of commitment playing New Leaf, but it sure was worth it to see it towering impressively, a reflection of your time and dedication to your game.
Sadly, the town tree didn’t return in New Horizons, which I personally thought was a shame. While it did take a long time (and a lot of playing) to get the tree to such an impressive size, it was very satisfying to watch it gradually grow, and it was a wonderful feature of your village.
I would like to see a tree like the town tree return in the next Animal Crossing game. There could be more flexibility in where you place the tree. Also, there could be options to decorate the tree, such as the planter it’s in, or you could add some flowers surrounding it. It would also be great to decorate it during events such as Halloween and Toy Day.
This video by ChuyPlays demonstrates the tree’s growth in 365 days in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
One central feature of Animal Crossing: City Folk was being able to visit the city via a ride on the bus. The city was a startling contrast to the slower and more rural setting of the village where you resided. The city was bright, bustling, and full of businesses.
There was lots to see and do in the city that you didn’t have in the village. There was a theater where you could watch one of Dr. Shrunk’s shows and learn a new emotion. You could get your shoes shined (and recolored) by Kicks. You could visit Gracie’s luxurious (and expensive) store and buy some exclusive items. There was even a vendor where you could get yourself a balloon or a pinwheel to carry around.
I loved going to the city in this particular instalment of Animal Crossing, and I wish it could come back. New Leaf had Main Street, and New Horizons has Harvey’s campsite, but these weren’t the same as the glitzy hustle-and-bustle of the city. It does make a refreshing change from the usual rural setting that comes with Animal Crossing.
I don’t see why the city shouldn’t return in the next Animal Crossing game. The series has come a long way since City Folk, so the city could be much improved from that game. The city could be bigger, with more shops and businesses. With edible food making its debut in New Horizons, you could buy food from a vendor. A city setting could have a lot of uses.
This video from jvgsjeff gives you a full tour of the city from Animal Crossing: City Folk.
One thing that didn’t appear in New Horizons was a department store. In past Animal Crossing games, Tom Nook’s store could be upgraded, several times in some cases. This usually happened after you spent a certain amount of Bells at the store, or you passed a fashion check from Gracie. New Leaf had the best store upgrades, starting off with the small and shack-like Nook’s Cranny, then evolving to a small supermart T&T Mart, then the bigger Super T&T supermart, followed by the much bigger TIY store, and finally the impressive T&T Emporium, a true department store for eager shoppers in Animal Crossing.
The department store was a favorite feature of mine, especially when I finally got the last and biggest upgrade, T&T Emporium, in New Leaf. I love shopping for new things in Animal Crossing, whether it be clothes or items to furnish my home with. It was disappointing when the big emporium didn’t return in New Horizons. We got Nook’s Cranny, but there was only one upgrade available to the store, and compared to the emporium, it was lacking. I would love to see the big department store return in the next Animal Crossing game, and hope that it does.
This video from Swimming Bird contains a tour of the T&T Emporium from Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
One thing I liked about the items in Animal Crossing was the themed series. You could get cabin objects, ranch objects, modern objects, cute objects, fruit-themed objects, and much more. There were even objects for places such as hospitals and schools, if you wished to deck your home out with these items.
New Horizons does have a few themed objects, but compared to previous games in the series, it feels a bit lacking. I do like the fact that you can craft your own objects with materials you gather, as well as being able to buy items from Nook’s Cranny, but I wish there were more groups of objects that properly went with each other. Couldn’t that return in the next Animal Crossing game?
New Leaf has one standout gameplay feature: being able to travel to a tropical island for a getaway. You couldn’t live there, but it was a great place to visit. You could catch bugs, fish and sea creatures not normally available back in your village. The whole tropical island theme was pretty cool too. You felt like you really were having a vacation from the normal grind. You could also take with you fruit not found back home, and purchase unique items from the store such as the Mermaid series.
One thing I really liked about the tropical island though was the tours. These were effectively mini games, and there were so many of them. You could play hide-and-seek, do scavenger hunts, do fishing and bug collecting challenges, and lots more. These could be challenging, but they were good fun, as well as rewarding. Different tours were available each day, mixing it up, and they ranged in difficulty, so no day was the same.
The tours were one of the things I missed in New Horizons. Even though New Horizons is about an island getaway, there are no tours, no mini games to play. It would be great to see mini challenges such as these make a return in a future Animal Crossing game.
Easy Access to Merchants
I’ve previously discussed going to the city and Harv’s island. While these features are quite neat and do get you away from the village for a bit, there is one drawback. I wish getting access to certain merchants was easier. I’m talking about people such as Crazy Redd, Saharah, Cyrus and Reese, and Kicks. One of the annoying things about travelling away from home is having to run to the airport or bus and take a ride, which means having to whizz through loads of dialogue and multiple choice menus. I don’t mind the travelling so much, but could they cut back on some of the waffling?
Original Fishing Tourneys and Bug Offs
Before New Horizons, the fishing tourneys and bug offs were mainly about who could catch the biggest bug or fish before the end of the day. The top three would get a trophy. New Horizons changed these challenges up by having different tasks and rewards. You would have to catch a number of bugs and fish within a short amount of time to get a prize. These prizes were usually exclusive objects themed based on whichever event was taking place.
Here’s a video of Foxybytheriver taking part in a Fishing Tourney in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
More Holiday Events
What do I mean by “proper events”? By this, I mean events such as Toy Day, Turkey Day, and Bunny Day. There are others, but these are the main ones that spring to mind. These are present in New Horizons, but I do think that there could be more to do.
New Horizons has seasonal-exclusive items that you can get from Nook Shopping by ordering them in. It’s not that I don’t like these special items, but I wish the holidays that they marked served more as events in the game, rather than just the items commemorating the holiday. For example, there’s St. Patrick’s Day in March. Why not have a big carnival-like event similar to Festivale set up in the town plaza, or turn the river water green for a day like they do in real life?
All-in-all, the events we have now in New Horizons are great, and the seasonal items are a nice touch, but I just wish there were more holiday events. They don’t necessarily have to be presented on a huge scale like some of the bigger holidays, but a little something extra goes a long way.
Tropical Fruits (and Easier Access to Fruit)
There was one thing I found quite irksome in New Horizons, and that was the fruit. It felt like a step back from previous games. All the tropical fruit you could get from the island in New Leaf were no longer available, including bananas, mangoes, and persimmon.
Another really annoying thing was how hard it was to get fruit in New Horizons. You’ve got your island’s native fruit (mine is pears), but being able to get all 5 different fruit is much harder in this game. You can get one from visiting another island with a Nook Miles Ticket or Kapp’n’s Boat Tour, and a villager can gift you another. But what about the other two? Well, the only option is to connect with another player who has these other fruit and ask them if they can give you some. Lots of players connect and play together, which is great, but not everyone wants to do this, so this shouldn’t be the only way to get something like fruit. It feels a bit unfair, especially as some DIY recipes requires all the different fruits, and if you don’t have them, then you’re missing out. It’s not the end of the world, but even so, why should it be so difficult to get non-native fruit in the game, especially as it wasn’t in past games.
So, this is the main takeaway: bring back tropical fruit, and make it easy again to access non-native fruit.
Just one last thing I’d like for the next Animal Crossing game: please make tools indestructible again! I do like the variety of tools that comes with New Horizons, but it does quickly get tiresome when your fishing rod or shovel breaks for the dozenth time, especially if you’re in the middle of a fishing tournament or busy digging up the hundreds of flowers that have spawned all over your island over time. At least let the tools last longer if they do have to remain prone to breaking eventually.
That’s everything I can think of that I’d like to see comeback in the next Animal Crossing game. Are there any features you’d like to see return? Share your thoughts in the comments.
If you’re looking for guides and other articles to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, see our complete guide.