After a huge first year, Nintendo is keeping anniversary celebrations for Animal Crossing: New Horizons more modest than expected.
With growing numbers of players hoping for fresh new content to be added to the Switch game, Nintendo will only mark the occasion of the game’s first anniversary with a free cake item, distributed to players’ mailboxes after the game’s update on March 18.
While the update may not be as major as some hoped, there will be an update to the item customization system. For 2000 Nook Miles, players can update their Custom Pro Design Editor once more and apply their Pro Designs to umbrellas, small flags, uchiwa fans, and photo stands. Fifty slots will be added to both regular and pro custom designs as well, vastly expanding the current inventory, and Switch Online users will be able to access the Custom Designs Portal directly from their NookPhones instead of seeking out the terminal at Able Sisters.
Like most updates before it, there will be a fresh bounty of seasonal items available through Nook Shopping. Whoopee cushions will be available in various colours from March 26 until April 1, just in time for April Fools Day pranks. Then prom season will take over for the entire month of April, with a variety of themed items at both Nook Shopping and Able Sisters, including confetti-covered flooring, wallpaper, and a sash.
The previously announced Sanrio promotional items will be added to the game as well, ahead of the Sanrio Amiibo cards release on March 26. Available at EB Games in Canada or Target in the US, this pack of cards will allow players to summon special villagers themed after Sanrio properties like Hello Kitty, and obtain unique themed items.
Rounding out the new features is the Island Tour Creator, a limited-time web service launching March 23. Currently scheduled for service through the rest of this year, the Tour Creator “lets you use screenshots and footage captured in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to create a poster and trailer for your island. Share your favorite spots on your island or commemorate sentimental scenes to show off what makes your personal island so special.”
Easter festivities will return on April 4, according to the series’ official Twitter, and looks to be largely the same as last year’s event, but with a few new items available from Nook’s Cranny. This news may be unwelcome for some, as the initial Easter event was largely panned by the community as a monotonous grind, detracting from the hunt for normal resources, but it remains to be seen if the 2021 iteration will be balanced differently.
Since launching March 20, 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold over 31 million copies and elevated the 20-year-old series into a cultural phenomenon. Old fans and new gamers alike reveled in the game’s sunny simulations of island life, especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. How the game continues to develop and expand in its second year will be interesting to watch—especially if I could do so with a cup of Brewster’s coffee, Nintendo.