When the next Nintendo console releases, Animal Crossing needs to up its graphical game. A more detailed and realistic world and camera might help.
Animal Crossing has been coasting on the success of New Horizons for some time now, and with updates slowing down, players might be starting to wonder when the next entry will come out and what it will look like. However, players are holding their breath as even with the long cycles between main series games, Animal Crossing hasn’t improved much graphically since its GameCube debut. It’s time for the series to take a large step forward and adopt a new art style for the next generation of Animal Crossing games.
Not to say that a new art style needs to be realistic, as the cheery and lighthearted nature of the characters in players’ towns are important to keeping them coming back. However, Nintendo would be missing potential by simply adding new gameplay features and DLC to Animal Crossing. Its art style is cartoonish, but it’s suited the series well in the past. Looking to the future, it would make sense to have the characters stay the same art style while the world around them changes to have more detail.
The visual aspect that most needs to be updated is the world – the city from Animal Crossing: New Leaf and the island from New Horizons are great hubs for previous games, but they can look bland compared to other life simulators. The simple art style of the game is one of its strengths, but it’s already looking worn and outdated for a game on the Nintendo Switch. Adding detail or even allowing the player different camera views could reinvigorate the franchise and inspire new forms of decorative creativity for players that want to decorate their Animal Crossing island with new furniture.
How A Redesign Could Help The Next Animal Crossing Game
The world that Animal Crossing takes place in doesn’t have to be as cartoonish or as grid-like as it has been since the Nintendo 64, especially given the amount of realistic classical art and statues that fit into the game’s art style already. Adding too much detail could also be overwhelming but as it stands, the weeds, trees, flowers, buildings and furniture in New Horizons are sometimes plain and generic. Adding realism to Animal Crossing objects and letting players place them freely could help make plazas and crowded neighborhoods more unique.
Animal Crossing’s top-down perspective made it easy in the past to see where to dig holes and how to place items, but it is limiting how players interact in the world. It would be nice to have a free camera or even a first-person view that people can use in order to interact with Animal Crossing‘s popular villagers face-to-face. The slightly spherical world view of Wild World and New Leaf has been turned down in New Horizons, but the next step is to let players walk around their villages without the limitations of the in-game camera functionality.
After five generations of consoles with Animal Crossing on them, it’s time for a change. Beyond aesthetics, a new game should also introduce new personalities and object interactions that give people reasons to check in daily. Animal Crossing: New Horizons already has the shell of a live-service game, and a new entry can utilize that formula of consistently adding content to its advantage with a graphical style that emphasizes detail and can support many different styles of architecture. Adding new content monthly that improves these day-to-day interactions would help fans find new ways to play even after admiring next-generation graphics.
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