Animal Crossing: New Horizons summer update makes the old new

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Similar to some of the biggest titles in gaming, Nintendo has taken to their own spin on the GaaS approach with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. So far, the game has received two minor content updates and the latest, Summer Update Wave 1, is set to release on July 3, 2020. As per the official gameplay trailer, Nintendo has made it clear that a second summer update (Wave 2) will release sometime in August.

What does the Wave 1 update include?

  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: March 20, 2020
  • Genre: Life simulation

The most notable new feature added to New Horizons is the inclusion of swimming via the wetsuit. Players will be able to dive and collect sea creatures like starfish in order to add to the Museum or sell for Bells. As with some of the other features added to New Horizons via updates, swimming and collecting sea creatures is something that was seen in previous games.

In this case, Animal Crossing: New Leaf allowed the use of the wetsuit on Tortimer Island. The feature was a nice getaway from your town (and somewhat similar to mystery islands), but I found it to be mostly a means of grinding Bells after the initial shine wore off. Another returning element from past games includes the return of Pascal. With him will come brand new DIY crafting recipes.

The summer update trailer also makes it a point to highlight yet another new villager, but it looks to be a modified version of Gulliver. It’s not known how this change will affect gameplay.

Overall, Wave 1 looks to be a fun addition and Nintendo’s currently handling of updates is the smart play in my opinion. Some of what we have seen so far has been lackluster and repetitive, and most has been borrowed from prior games, but a large portion of players have never touched the series before.

The staggering sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, surpassing all entries before it, shows us that the series has broken mass appeal. I’ve also found, in myself and in others, that one of the biggest issues with the series is that players tend experience a sort of flash in a pan attachment to the game.

Regularly doling out free updates keeps a rhythm of interest in a way that prior games haven’t, and perfectly entrenches itself with the age of social media. Wave 1, at least at a glance, looks to be both timely and interesting in a way that other updates haven’t (I’ll be forever scarred by Bunny Day).

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