The latest full fledged Animal Crossing game is still stuck on the 3DS, while the Wii U broke tradition, and the mobile Animal Crossing game isn’t supposed to be a full fledged game, people are still hoping Nintendo will introduce a new title in the series to take over from the lacking 3DS version.
Animal Crossing has grown stale over the past couple of years, one could even argue that the last truly innovative Animal Crossing game was Animal Crossing: City Folk, even if it was panned by critics for being nothing more then an enhanced version of the DS game Animal Crossing: Wild World, it was also the last Animal Crossing game to add something the game could claim as a true expansion instead of the expected graphical upgrade and a couple of new things to collect,
Animal Crossing: New Leaf made you a major, but even if the idea is reused, how many times could Nintendo justify being the “new major”? before that also turns into a lack luster feature?
In reality, the next Animal Crossing game will need to be renovate if Nintendo wish to keep the series alive and well, specially since the game hinges on a community playing, since one of the ideas behind the concept is interaction between people.
Animal Crossing is a hybrid of ideas and concepts that all fit together but none of them does anything beyond the very basics, it shares some of the same ideas as Harvest Moon and Sims games, but never goes as far in terms of technicality, Animal Crossing games need to innovate the basics in noticeable ways.
Plants are just a one time process, you make a hole, plant a tree sapling, water it a few times and bam! you got yourself a tree, heck flowers don’t even grow in size and can just be put on dirt, since they have no growth stages, what could be done to improve upon this is add a real garden shop available at the start of the game, allowing you to plant fruits, vegetables, bushes, and add a growth stage to everything, that way people can better customize the town and so on,
Having a garden shop of some sort with a large selection would also help making new as well as old plant types available more often.
Another thing to consider would be storage space, with how many items are available, and Animal Crossing being a collectathon it would be obvious to allow people to purchase in game storage space with bells, or have different storage furniture not share the same storage space.
Better yet, having a storage service we could pay bells to upgrade storage space would end this issue altogether.
Housing is also an important topic, instead of being given a pre-built house, let players at least chose from a couple of designs, maybe even play around with a few unique designs like a bomb shelter or tree house, and if we are majors or similar again in the next installment as well, give us the ability to control more of the towns overall design, let us soft Terra-form, making tiny hills, or small lakes, chose how houses look from the outside and where they are placed.
The online experience also needs a huge improvement, add a trading feature, perhaps add stars to represent an items rarity and have people trade items with the same amount of total stars as one another, another way to better encourage trade would be to randomize certain fruits, vegetables, insects and fish on any newly created village, that way people would have to trade in order to discover the other kinds of fruits and so on.
Adding friends in game and benefiting from that friendship somehow would also give people another reason to go online and interact with different people.
Last but not least is the events, Animal Crossing events and events based on the seasons are something that has always been a unique experience, however there is too few events, perhaps an in-game to do weekly challenge list would benefit people greatly by giving us more to do and encouraging people to keep returning to the game, even after they have achieved most of what they set out to accomplish.
These are just a few additions that a Switch Animal Crossing game would benefit from, and establishes that while Animal Crossing is a fun game, it’s mechanics and features are puddle deep at best, it’s a casual game, but for anyone looking for more or a hidden layer of complexity there is none to be found, that’s why the basics need to be enhanced instead of adding another feature that will be gone in the next installment of the series.