I logged into Animal Crossing New Horizons for the first time in several months. It was nice to run around my island and reconnect with my villagers. I planted pumpkins for Halloween, mined rocks, and convinced Hamlet not to move away. Beyond those nostalgic minutes, I did not feel there was much left to accomplish. My island has 5-stars, weekly concerts, my house is finished, and I have 2.5 million bells in the bank. Game play now revolves around repetitive gathering, seasonal patches, and the occasional terraforming. These activities are enjoyable, though I wonder if more can be done to extend the game’s longevity through patching or a paid DLC. Please note, there has been no announcement of an Animal Crossing New Horizons DLC in development. This is an article of speculation.
A Bigger and Better House
Few achievements felt as great as expanding my house. Every new room was an opportunity to decorate with furniture, fixtures, and all kinds of collected odds and ends. I crafted hundreds of hot items to pay off the succession of home improvement loans. When I finally ran upstairs to the large second-floor room, I knew it would become the dedicated writing space I want in the real world.
A fully paid off house in Animal Crossing New Horizons includes a large living room, three small rooms, a large second-floor room, and a large basement. Prior to adding the second-floor room, when you enter your house, you appear in the living room. Once the second floor is added, you appear in a small front foyer, from where you can go into the living room or go upstairs, or eventually downstairs when you add the basement. A similar mechanism can be utilized to add a back hallway to the first floor, allowing the purchase of two or four side rooms. The current back room would be situated at the end of the hallway. Technically, this could also be used to add hallways to the rooms branching off the left and right sides of the house, but this may widen the house profile, requiring updates to the exterior designs.
Another desirable option would be adding a balcony, accessed through a door at the back of the second-floor room. This would be an elevated, open air space, mirroring the weather and time of day. Setting it on the second-floor removes potential issues with stepping off and thereby exiting the house.
These improvements will cost players tens of millions of bells, based on the current inflation model of house expansion, but accumulating those bells brings back the incentive to obsessively shake trees, craft, fish, and strip mine neighboring islands.
A Bigger and Better Museum
The museum is a wonderful, even educational, improvement to the island. The layout and design provides the feel of running through an actual virtual museum, housing insects, fish, and art from around the world. Considering, as of August 2020, Animal Crossing New Horizons has sold 22 million copies worldwide, it makes sense to have the museum provide a global perspective. Though, in contrast to the mentioned galleries, the fossil collection focuses on well known species discovered in Europe and North America in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Since the 1990s, the most exciting dinosaur discoveries have come out of South America and China. Enlarging the fossil collection to include such remarkable species as Baiadasaurus and Therizinosaurus returns purpose to digging up fossils, and acknowledges the growing diversity of the dinosauria and present day research being conducted in these regions.
A Bigger and Better Island
Animal Crossing New Horizons is about establishing a community on your very own island, but, unfortunately, islands offer finite space. Once you have decorated and terraformed your island to perfection, you can deem the game complete, or delete your saved file and start over from scratch. Instead of wiping out or walking away from months of creative effort, how about enlarging the island by paying for an advanced dredging and terraforming project? Increasing island size by 50% provides a lot of new space to play with and potential to add more villagers.
If modifying the island is too great a technical feat, what about purchasing a second smaller island? In the beginning, only you can fly between the two islands, but after accumulating the raw materials to construct a dock, air field, or airship tower (personal preference), your villagers and friends can move freely between the two locations.
Purchasing improvements on this scale could run hundreds of millions of bells, but the thought of boarding my customized blimp, along with a few friends and even Hamlet, to fly to my new island would be worth it, and add many months to my game playing.
We do not know what plans are in the making for Animal Crossing New Horizons beyond the expected seasonal activities, but when the future is revealed, I hope it builds on the imagination and joy of the current game.
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Featured Image: Nintendo