The lack of updates has left Animal Crossing stagnant.
In a game that started so very strong, Animal Crossing: New Horizons slowly seems to be losing traction. At least, when considering the amount of content releasing that engages its fanbase and gives them options of things to do, that is. Nintendo is somewhat infamous in that regard, with many games slowly trickling out updates once in a blue moon.
The last major updates included the Mario update on Feb. 25 (all of the items from which couldn’t be accessed until March), and eventually the Sanrio collaboration update by March 18. Both of these updates added many items, including furniture that could teleport you (the green pipes from Mario), outfits, and villagers that you could access by scanning Amiibo codes. The problem with them, however, is that none of the content available is wholly original. Most of it primarily serves as an ad for Nintendo and Sanrio. If you don’t like Mario or Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, then you’re out of luck. That was way back in March, by the way.
More recent updates included the April 1.10.0 version, which featured some items unique to Mother’s and Father’s Day respectively, a few Nook shopping events, another maze for May Day, along with a handful of items and outfits for the wedding season of June. Fewer items, but it’s something at least. It was beyond this point that updates stopped altogether, that is until Aug. 9’s 1.11.0 update, a few weeks back.
What did the 1.11.0 update add, you say? Food items. Oh, and seasonal items have returned for a short period of time—items that have already been in the game’s previous year. Other than that, a collection of food to round out the summer time. The items themselves are well detailed, and have unique crafting recipes. The problem with food items in Animal Crossing however, is that they serve no real gameplay use outside of being a slightly different fruit. They give you an energy boost that lets you chops trees and uproot boulders instantly, but fruit already does that. There’s no real reason to get any of these new items other than for the look of it, really.
It’s unsure if Nintendo wasn’t expecting COVID-19 to get players to stretch the game thin after staying inside all day for over a year now (more if you include other regions of the world), but that certainly seems to be the case. Many players played it for months straight after release, only to finally hit a wall and realize that once the building progression ends, there’s not much keeping them coming back for more. Saying players are starved for content is an exaggeration, of course. There are certainly more pressing things going on in the world, especially for a megacorp like Nintendo. They’ve got other franchises to wrench money out of! It’s just sad looking at the amount of content releasing for Animal Crossing’s Pocket Camp app compared to a full-fledged switch game like New Horizons. So then, what gives Nintendo?