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Massive update and paid DLC coming to ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’

(The Washington Post)

A major update is coming to “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” on Nov. 5. In a video presentation Friday, Nintendo announced it will add more item storage, a permanent home for the game’s visiting merchants and the return of several characters from the series among other new content. Paid downloadable content called “Happy Home Paradise,” a $25 expansion that harks back to the franchise’s sandbox-style entry, “Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer,” will also roll out the same day alongside a new series of amiibo cards that unlock new villagers.

The update, which will be the last major free content update for “New Horizons,” includes a new quest that adds the Roost, a cafe run by the long-anticipated, fan-favorite character, Brewster, to the museum. There you can drink coffee with your island’s villagers, other players or characters that you invite using compatible amiibo cards.

A plaza is coming to Harv’s Island where players can unlock storefronts for Kicks, Saharah and other merchants who only visit your island sporadically. Katrina and Harriet, more characters returning to the series, will set up a fortune-telling stand and barbershop there, respectively. Longtime fans will also recognize Kapp’n, a turtle who sings sea shanties as he ferries you to new mystery islands that can vary from your own in terms of seasons and time of day. This opens up opportunities to harvest resources that aren’t usually available year-round.

Gyroids, furniture items based on Japanese haniwa figurines that have been a hallmark of the series since the original “Animal Crossing," are also coming to “New Horizons.” They can be found around your island or dug up after planting and watering a gyroid fragment. The gyroids in “New Horizons” appear much smaller than their predecessors though, with the presentation showing them placed on shelves and tables around the player’s home.

Ahead of ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ announcement, content-starved fans feel snubbed

Other new items include ceiling decorations such as fans and lighting, customizable fences, ladders that can be crafted and permanently placed against cliffsides, and storage sheds from which you can access your home storage anywhere on the island. And players will finally be able to get their hands on the froggy chair that spawned countless memes.

The island’s maximum number of bridges and inclines will increase from eight to 10 each. Your home’s item storage, which currently maxes out at 2,400, will have three upgrades available at Resident Services to expand it up to 5,000. New crops and DYI recipes will let players grow and cook their own food. A new minigame will be available at your island’s plaza where players can perform group stretches with residents and other players using either button inputs or the Joy-Con’s motion controls.

Features from previous Animal Crossing games are coming back as well, including the ability to scoot around narrow spaces between furniture items and islandwide ordinances that influence things like how early residents get up or how fast weeds grow. Villagers will also be able to come into your home or invite you to theirs.

As for the paid DLC, "Happy Home Paradise,” you’ll join new characters on a Paradise Planning team to design vacation homes for villagers and other NPCs like Isabelle or the Nook twins. It all takes place in a new resort area located in an archipelago where players learn new design techniques such as creating pillars, adding partitions, modifying a home’s structure and polishing furniture items to add various cosmetic effects. Once unlocked, all these techniques can be used back on your island.

After consulting with clients to nail down what they want in their dream vacation home, you design both the interior and exterior just as you can with your home on the mainland. The surrounding landscape — foliage, pathways, even the weather — can also be modified to your liking. You can invite specific clients using amiibo cards. Players will help design vacant buildings on the archipelago as well, including a school, hospital and restaurant. Using Switch’s online features, you can show off your designs, check out those of other players and follow your favorite vacation-home designers.

The announcement of all this new content for “New Horizons” was met with excitement from Animal Crossing fans, who have previously expressed frustration at the lack of substantial updates and several features that had appeared in previous games. However, one long-requested feature — the ability to craft DIY items in bulk — didn’t make an appearance. When asked about this, a Nintendo spokesperson said, "We don’t have anything to announce related to that topic.” So it looks like players will still be stuck painstakingly crafting fish bait one by one by one by one.