Animal Crossing: New Horizons to Include Gentrification

Written by: Dan Kaliblotzky

Isabelle also offers the option of forcing villagers to stop speaking their dialect of Animalese if the player deems it “unprofessional.”
Photo by Dan Kaliblotzky

Nintendo has revealed that gentrification will be featured in the upcoming video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This latest installment in the Animal Crossing game series features players populating a previously “deserted” island, establishing a town there and building infrastructure such as shops and houses. After naming the town, players can invite anthropomorphic animal villagers to populate the area. The various bugs, fish, and other animals already living in the area who survive the newly introduced pollution and deforestation can be caught and featured in a museum. They are reportedly not considered civilized enough by the developers to be given affordable individual housing.

“We wanted players to be able to create a sophisticated village for themselves,” says Animal Crossing director Aya Kyogoku. “The island starts out unruly and unlivable, but you know what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s competitively priced apartment.” If players do not wish to start the game on an undeveloped island, they will be given the option to begin with some basic housing options and historical family-owned restaurants that will disappear after the tutorials. However, the option to build artisanal juice bars must be unlocked through further gameplay.

A recently released trailer revealed various animals that can appear in players’ towns to initiate in-game events or distribute special items. One of the featured animals was Label, a hedgehog most known for her job selling high-end clothing from GracieGrace, an in-game brand featuring rare items, high prices, and no disclosed factory locations or working conditions. Some animals, like Label, only appear in players’ towns after players spend enough in-game currency at the shops and renovate their home multiple times, or else the visitors will report feeling unsafe in the player’s town. In this case, visitors will offer to feature one of the town’s villagers on their Instagram story before buying the land containing that villager’s home.

The new installment in the series places emphasis on the player’s ability to customize their town. “I’m super excited to plan where every villager’s house is going to go,” says Animal Crossing fan Daniel Kalebloomsky. “In earlier games, incoming villagers’ houses just popped up basically anywhere, constantly ruining my flower arrangements and specially laid out brick path designs.”

Kalebloomsky’s “good friend” Freckles the Duck expressed more negative views on the city planning features in the games. “Count me out. Last time I lived in a town planned by Daniel, he kicked me out of the town so he could build a lighthouse next to a pond the size of an elementary schooler’s desk, then called it a ‘public works project’ and asked my friends to fund it.”

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Dan Kaliblotzky is a fourth-year at UCSD. He aspires to find a career in soulful heavy metal Phineas and Ferb covers.

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