Bring out the old dusty summoning circles as a brand new Nintendo Direct presentation has been announced by Nintendo to watch bright and early tomorrow morning!
Announced for broadcast on Wednesday, June 1st at 7AM Pacific Time / 10AM Eastern Time, this traditional E3-ish Nintendo Direct will be approximately 40 minutes long and primarily feature information on upcoming Nintendo Switch games releasing during this year.
For those who aren’t familiar by any chance, Nintendo Directs are a pre-recorded presentation that Nintendo releases ever so often packed full of announcements for upcoming games and additions to existing games on Nintendo Switch.
Essentially, this week’s presentation will be the E3-style Nintendo Direct that historically we used to see around this time of year for E3, and typically came with some big surprises — just coming a week or two after most other gaming companies.
Is It Time Yet For Animal Crossing News In This Direct?
Given this is Animal Crossing World after all, we’re obviously going to cover the possibility of whether any sort of Animal Crossing news could show up in this June Nintendo Direct. Any new Nintendo Direct announcement always sends Animal Crossing fans into wondering whether we might be treated with any sort of Animal Crossing news this time around or not.
A couple of years ago, that type of curiosity centered around hope for news on an upcoming content update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and oftentimes Nintendo Directs did deliver on that.
These days though, the situation is quite different after Nintendo has made it extensively clear that the Version 2.0 Update was intended as the final major update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Going further, they insisted that Happy Home Paradise would be the one and only paid DLC.
So in the sense of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, that book should be considered fully closed and we shouldn’t expect any such miracle major update or DLC announcements given that the company has quite literally told us it won’t be happening.
Given the immense success of Animal Crossing: New Horizons with over 42 million copies sold though, there’s no doubt Nintendo is working away on something new for Animal Crossing fans. It’s just a matter of exactly what that is, and when it’s coming.
To state the obvious, it’s likely still far too early for a new mainline game to be announced. Not just because it probably hasn’t been long enough for significant development to occur, but also because such a game would likely come as a release for a new ‘Switch 2’ system.
Though there have been exceptions to the rule, Nintendo has a history of generally only releasing a single large ‘mainline’ game in a franchise per console generation. And if the next Animal Crossing is indeed coming to the Nintendo Switch’s successor, then that essentially rules out any appearance in this month’s Nintendo Direct.
The Spin-Off Era Of Nintendo Switch
Putting a major mainline game aside though, I believe we are in prime territory for a potential unexpected spin-off to be revealed, as we find ourselves in a similar situation to when the last Animal Crossing spin-off released.
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer was announced in April 2015, about 2 and a half years after the release of the previous mainline game Animal Crossing: New Leaf. We’re currently sitting at just past 3 years since the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, or 1 and a half years since Version 2.0.
It’s worth mentioning that Happy Home Designer was also announced and released during a similar point in the Nintendo 3DS life cycle as we sit now in the Nintendo Switch life cycle as it winds down after over 6 years.
When Nintendo approaches this phase of a console’s lifespan, they’re in a tough place between needing to focus development resources on major games for the next system, while also ensuring there are still some new releases to enjoy on the current system.
Lower budget and faster to development spin-off titles for popular franchises are a great compromise to solve this problem, and a new Animal Crossing spin-off right now would fit the bill perfectly — just as Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival did in 2015 for the 3DS and Wii U respectively.
Financially, it would help make some more sense out of the decision to cut off further DLC for Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s hard to imagine the company’s plan to be waiting 5 years for a new mainline game to be ready and miss out on capitalizing on the success of the second best selling Nintendo Switch game.
As for exactly what kind of spin-off could be released, that’s inherently pretty unpredictable with Nintendo, but a multiplayer focused spin-off would be at the top of my prediction list. Animal Crossing: New Horizons infamously neglected to include any sort of large multiplayer features like Tortimer’s Island mini-games from New Leaf, so perhaps a spin-off focusing exclusively on that type of gameplay could fill the void.
Or as a bit of a hybrid between spin-off and new game — what if Nintendo embarked on ‘remaking’ a previous classic Animal Crossing game from the past? We’ve never seen such a concept from Animal Crossing yet, but as remakes become more and more popular these days while the franchise gets older, it could happen. A remake helps to fill that same gap of a lower budget and quicker to produce game too.
Overall, I’d say that there’s a genuine possibility of a spin-off Animal Crossing title coming in this Nintendo Direct, or another announcement later this year. On the other hand though, it feels very unlikely we’ll see any sort of major new mainline Animal Crossing game until the Nintendo Switch’s successor system is revealed — whenever that will be.
Tune in on June 21 at 7:00 a.m. PT for a #NintendoDirect livestream featuring roughly 40 minutes of information focused mainly on Nintendo Switch titles launching this year, including new details on Pikmin 4.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 20, 2023
You can watch the June 21st, 2023 Nintendo Direct live at Nintendo’s website, or check back here on Wednesday morning for any Animal Crossing news that happens to drop as you can count on us to cover it at Animal Crossing World.
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