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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Is About To Look Completely Different

The October 15 "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" Direct packed an overwhelming amount of updates into what has to be the richest 20-minute stream in Nintendo history. With all the new content in the pipeline, the game that's already scored multiple sales records and changed the series forever is set to make a resurgence.


The "ANCH" Direct was a non-stop thrill ride for fans, since each minute crammed in more updates than players have seen before. Version 2.0 may feel bittersweet to some, since it will be the final major free update for the game, but given how much it's delivering, it seems slated to satisfy even the most ambitious players' dreams.

There's a lot to take in and not a lot of time to do it, since the free "ANCH" update will be available November 5, 2021 for all players. Beyond that, there's also an expansive paid DLC package releasing on the same date that's arguably even juicier than the Version 2.0 updates. For those who have already watched the Direct, or those hearing about this smorgasbord of content for the first time, it's key to take time to understand all the details since there are so, so many of them. For starters, the number of new locations alone will be enough to keep "ANCH" gamers busy for quite some time.


Expanded Exploration

Players can look forward to entirely new places to explore in "ANCH" when Version 2.0 drops, so much so that they might crave a little caffeine kick to get their adventure going. Lucky for them, Brewster's coffee shop, The Roost, is about to have its grand opening in the museum. Grabbing a cup of joe with friends from other islands or coffee-loving residents who frequent the café is sure to serve as an adorable photo opp. Speaking of which, the new Pro Camera App will feature more advanced photography angles so every shot is on point.


Once it's time for an off-island excursion, the adorable frog Kapp'n and his boat can provide transit to new secret islands with different seasons, plants, and more. Fair warning: the sea shanties he sings along the way are a package deal with the boat ride.

That's not the only opportunity to take a journey far from home. Soon, Harv's island, which used to serve as a small photoshoot space, will have tons of shops from familiar faces. Katrina offers fortunes, Harriet styles hair, and many other residents bring their skills to what's essentially going to be an "ANCH" mega outdoor mall. It'll be one of many chances to score brand new items.

Décor Galore

It truly wouldn't be a full "ANCH" update without some fresh furniture to liven up islands far and wide, but the last major update will add even more cozy features. Assuming eager gamers will rack up playtime and experience in a heartbeat once Version 2.0 is live, it's a welcome reward that there will be a ton of new Nook Miles items. New furniture will be in abundance on the app, and there will also be more of it available for Bells at Nook's Cranny.


Scoring a Pro Decorating License will allow for lighting, ceiling, and accent wall alterations, so decorations are about to level up hardcore. Custom Designs got a revamp too, so players can wear them or display them on their floor or wallpaper. It'll be a whole new creative chapter of "ANCH."

If storage shortages are a roadblock to getting excited about the new items available, players will be happy to learn that Tom Nook will now offer more storage expansions. Soon, there will be a maximum of 5,000 in-home storage spaces instead of 3,000, as well as options for an exterior home redesign. Add to that the new storage shed and ABD machine, and there'll be much more wiggle room for resource management. Even if hoarding becomes a problem, the new shimmy movement makes tight spaces a non-issue. In addition to new ways to curate a space, new hairstyles and new reactions are will help players express themselves.


Outdoor Improvements

As fun as it can be to hole up inside all day decorating, the new outdoor improvements coming to "ANCH" look equally as tempting. Instead of pulling a ladder out at every cliffside, buying a wooden ladder set-up kit will allow players to place ladders around their island for keeps.


Though bridges and inclines were formerly limited to 8 of each per island, the update will allow for 10 of each. Additionally, traveling through the great outdoors will have a new appeal thanks to fresh fencing types and customizations available.

Gyroids have been a fan favorite element of "Animal Crossing" since its beginning, and now they'll finally be featured on the Switch. When it comes to doing the daily rounds and completing tasks like discovering fossils, players will soon have a greater incentive to dig up holes. Gyroid fragments are a new diggable item that can be planted and grown overnight into various gyroids. Playing DJ is a given with all the sound combinations they make, and visual customizations add to the chill sensory experience. Getting a gyroid band together will be even more fun since K.K. Slider's dropping 12 new tracks.


Choices and Control

Overwhelmed by the number of new options yet? There's a lot more where those came from. As always, "ANCH" is a game that gives players ample creative freedom with limited structure, and now, there are even more ways to customize the experience. New players can get tips to point them in the right direction with the new Island Life 101 app, which will provide updates and tips for island living.


If running around the island 24/7 is getting exhausting, a group stretching session in the plaza will be just the thing to soothe sore muscles, even if those muscles are mostly in the thumb region. Button or motion controls let players choose between joining in the exercise IRL or sitting back and watching the cuteness of the animals doing their stretches together.

Of course, a good workout isn't complete without a follow-up meal. Soon, instead of merely growing plants, there will be food DIY recipes that are cookable on the stove whenever desired. Speaking of full scheduling control, visiting Isabelle to enact an island ordinance will be a new option that allows players to make decisions, including changing the waking hours for residents.


Happy Home Paradise Paid DLC

Though players have been outraged about DLC in the past, the "Happy Home Paradise" paid DLC will release alongside Version 2.0. "Happy Home Paradise" is integrated into the main game through a new option at the airport that lets players go to work on a nearby archipelago, taking up employment there at Paradise Planning as a designer of animal dream homes.


As seen in the "ANCH Direct," examples of the inspired dream homes include Maple's plush bear paradise, Doc's children's library, and Lopez's slice of the big city. Multiple islands with various climates offer a healthy dose of variety, and decor options are equally vast, including the new ability to decorate a yard. In addition to all the remodeling updates, players can help set up residents as vacation roommates.

Vacant buildings will allow gamers to design places like schools, hospitals, restaurants, and more. A special Happy Home Network app will be part of the DLC so players can visit homes at their leisure, as well as share their hottest designs online and follow other creators. The expansive design capabilities will also transfer to the main island.


"Happy Home Paradise" will be available the day of the update. November 5, 2021, for $24.99, though preorders open October 29. Or, players can purchase a bundle with Nintendo Switch Online and the expansion pack.

An Abundance of amiibo

Believe it or not, there's one more important layer to the world-shaking changes coming to "ANCH," and that's Nintendo's perk-providing amiibo collectibles. There are many opportunities to connect existing amiibo to "ANCH." On top of that, 48 amiibo cards, including new characters who haven't been included as amiibo before, are also coming with the updates. For those who choose to play with amiibo, there are plenty of fun opportunities coming soon. In addition to running into residents or inviting other island friends to The Roost coffee shop, amiibo can summon a character of choice to the shop for players to sip a brew with.


Of course, befriending residents is a huge part of "ANCH," and now, they can invite players to their homes and vice versa. Though this change affects players with or without amiibo, it brings even more depth to resident interactions. Finally, for those who buy the "Happy Home Paradise" DLC, amiibo will let players pick exactly who they want to come to the dream home vacation domain.

With all these updates coming to "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," November 5 is sure to be a special day.