Since the announcement and release of the Switch, fans had almost unanimously clamored for one game’s return to a major Nintendo console: Animal Crossing. The chill and laidback vibes of Big N’s village simulator almost directly contradict the zealous fervor of its fans’ demands for an updated entry. Hardcore fans even rejected the mobile Pocket Camp as an insufficient and distilled version of the full game. As each and every Nintendo Direct came and went, the dashed hopes and dreams of millions matched the unmitigated anger directed at Nintendo’s lack of reception to the cries of the fanbase. After a disappointing E3 a few months back, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime finally addressed the issue, stating that the company is well aware of the titles fans most desire. To make matters worse, news of New Leaf’s lead creator departing from Nintendo seemed to be ominous foreshadowing of the worst-case scenario.
why isn’t animal crossing on the switch yet? what’s the holdup? phone version is crap times.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) May 7, 2018
The events leading up to yesterday’s Direct had turned Animal Crossing fever into inside jokes. Photos of prayer circles, summoning pentagrams, and other humorous methods of pleading to the gaming gods had swept up the Internet in peak mania. Even major publications were calling out the Kyoto-based company and wondering about the status of such a hyped flagship.
With the delay of the annual September Direct, it had seemed as if the swell of anticipation would tip over this time around, exacerbated by the disappointment over announcements that leaked out in the aftermath of the delay. At that point, rumors of an Animal Crossing reveal were more of a morbid joke, a salt rub in the wound, and a numbed hopelessness.
As the 35-minute Direct saw its close, Nintendo’s signature “One More Thing” drove the online gaming community wild with the sudden appearance of Isabelle, the player’s trusty mayoral secretary. The gaming world collectively held its breath as Isabelle held an inner monologue, and the tension exploded when it was revealed that Animal Crossing’s favorite mascot would be playable as a character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
If the previous Direct’s reveal of King K. Rool was any indication, this was Nintendo’s tongue-in-cheek teasing at its best. Most of the dedicated fans cheered over its favorite character now a playable fighter, while the others seethed over this inherent cruelty in yet another lackluster update on its worshipped game.
After another transition, Tom Nook appeared on the screen, setting the roller coaster of emotions off once more. The business-savvy raccoon dragged on about being proud of his friends for going on adventures, knowingly putting the thousands watching into pure agony. Then finally, the title screen appeared that would finally put this unbearable saga to rest.
Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Switch will release in 2019.