Animal Crossing: New Horizons Concept Art and Development Details Shared

In it's pre-release phase, New Horizons was barely shown off. We saw an early build at E3, then a a few latter appearance in Nintendo Directs, then finally a near finalized demo not long before the game released. CEDEC 2020 was held online this year, and Famitsu has shared a very length article on the development process of the game, which includes a tonne of concept art and beta pictures. Full details below!

We're still looking for an official translation, so we might skip over a few details that our basic Japanese can't translate. We did plan on doing a proper Deep Dive post on the title much like we've done with previous AC games, but we felt we couldn't skip on posting this, so we'll do a Deep Dive at a later date. For now, here's what we found.

There's some early screenshots that show off the games different look in the early build. The grass and dirt patterns are different than in the final, as well as the cliff textures. A building in the top right may be an early version of the Resident Services, and it's surrounded by the traditional cobblestone pattern. The pictures are said to have been taken in the middle of development, which would explain why the villager houses all look alike. The grass is also very similar to it's appearance in New Leaf, with a "fuzzy" overlay. The full article actually goes into a tonne of details on just how they designed grass alone.

They go on to talk about how the higher resolution of the Switch allowed them to express characters much better and explain how they changed these details. They also elaborate on how they design villagers, in this case the Cat villagers, explaining how they want each one to have a unique personality and look. The additional power the Switch provided further allowed them to express these similar species of cat, making each breed more distinguishable. 

There's also a whole section on designing furniture, taking real life inspirations and creating them to in game designs - if furniture did not feel natural and realistic, they feared players would not want to use it. Again, with the higher resolution, they had to accommodate for furniture items looking like they'd properly function in the Animal Crossing world. The use a Fan as an example, and detail how they changed it in order to make it look like it could function properly. 

They further elaborate how they wanted to make every piece of furniture unique, making sure not all played stuck to the same furniture items. This is why there are a large number of customization options. For example, you can use a white board for a simple Office Room, or you can customize it to create the illusion of a sport plan, or even as part of an investigation. Making sure lots of funriture items had various options ensured players would use them differently in their games. Furthermore, they explain the sizing of furniture, explaining which sizes were chosen for each items, to again make them feel realistic, yet appropriate to the in game world.

There are a tonne more images in the article, which also explain more history of the development of the game, though again, we are awaiting an official translation. You can read the full article here. Special thanks to triviacrossing for bringing this to our attention!

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