Animal Crossing: New Horizons Celebrates One Year of Island Life

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been released for nearly a year, and Nintendo is taking the anniversary as an opportunity to treat players to an update that includes highly requested features and surprise goodies.

Fans waited eight years between main series Animal Crossing games for the release of New Horizons, but it’s almost like the timing of the release couldn’t have been better. As the COVID-19 pandemic caused many communities to lockdown, the game served as a calming means for people to gather virtually when they couldn’t be together in person.

A Year For The Record Books

Nintendo

According to Nintendo, 32.63 million copies of New Horizons have been sold as of March 31, 2021. This makes it the second-highest selling Nintendo Switch game of all time, only preceded by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

In comparison, the preceding game in the series, Animal Crossing: New Leaf sold 12.93 million copies on the Nintendo 3DS. This makes New Horizons the best-selling game in the franchise nearly three times over. 

Sweet Surprises

Nintendo

Nintendo is kicking off the celebration on March 18 with a free update to all players. After downloading the March 18 update, several surprises will be in store for them as they explore their island—starting in the mailbox. A surprise package will be awaiting them, containing a one-year anniversary cake. 

Nintendo Switch Online members will also now be able to purchase a Switch Lite console that can be placed around their island or home, similar to the other versions of the console that are available in the game. 

When stopping by the Nook Stop in Resident Services, don’t miss out on a newly available upgrade either. For 2000 Nook Miles the Custom Design Pro Editor+ add on will add a new category to a player’s Nook Phone Customer Designs app. This enables custom designs for umbrellas, uchiwa fans, handheld flags, and face-cutout standees. It also enables another 50 slots in both the Normal and Pro modes, totaling 100 new slots.

Outside the update, Nintendo announced their new Island Tour Creator website will launch on March 24. This will be a space where players can share images captured on their island easily to a smart device or social media.

Hello Collaboration

Nintendo

The final update from Nintendo is both physical and virtual. The company announced a partnership with Sanrio—the company that makes everything Hello Kitty—to sell an amiibo card pack with special items and villagers based on their popular characters Hello Kitty, Pompompurin, Kerokerokeroppi, Little Twin Stars, Cinnamoroll, and My Melody. 

While the only way to purchase the items and get the characters as residents is through the amiibo cards, like any other item in the game, they can be shared and traded by players. 

The Sanrio amiibos will be available exclusively at Target starting on March 26.

10 Animal Crossing NPCs We Have Yet to Meet in New Horizons

For nearly 10 years, fans have been hooked to Nintendo’s Animal Crossing, a social simulation video game where you sell fruit, catch fish and pay off a mortgage to a raccoon. There are many reoccurring characters across the franchise’s five games. As the games have changed, new characters have been brought in and others have been left behind. 

With the newest addition to the series, Animal Crossing New Horizons, being in players’ hands for over a month now, several reoccurring characters have yet to be seen. With the Nature Day update bringing the return of Leif, there appears to be an opportunity for Nintendo to bring back more favorites in the future. Here are some special characters we’d pay big bells to see again in the coming updates. 

1. Joan

The Sunday morning ritual of buying turnips just isn’t the same without Joan. In previous iterations of Animal Crossing, the white-tusked boar would sell the root vegetable, which players could later turn for a profit by selling on the Stalk Market.

In New Horizons, Daisy Mae has taken over the turnip business from her grandmother. While lacking the confidence of her elder, Daisy Mae carries on the tradition of selling turnips for players to purchase and later use to make a profit. 

The young boar occasionally makes reference to her predecessor, however, turnip enthusiasts are left wondering if they have seen the last of the original turnip seller. After selling turnips for over 60 years, hopefully, Joan is able to enjoy her retirement comfortably.

2. Brewster

In earlier versions of Animal Crossing, Brewster the pigeon could be found serving up cups of coffee in the shop below the museum. The Roost charged 200 bells for a cup of coffee that was intended to be consumed while it was piping hot. K.K. Slider frequented the coffee shop on Saturday evenings where players could listen to and take home a song.

Brewster made his first appearance in Animal Crossing: Wild World and was last seen in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. As more updates of New Horizons are released, some fans speculate that Brewster will soon be visiting an island near you. Character comments and data mining discoveries indicate that Brewster has not been forgotten and that players might be able to get their caffeine fixes sooner rather than later.

3. Harriet

Having the ability to make use of mirrors to customize your hairstyle for free in New Horizons is incredibly convenient, but it’s hard not to miss getting a makeover at the Shampoodle from Harriet the pink poodle. Harriet’s positive outlook was always uplifting, no matter the players’ stylistic choices.

There is precedent for Harriet to eventually make an appearance in New Horizons. When players visit Harv’s Island and use Harriet’s amiibo card, she will not appear, but players will receive her poster. Does this mean Harriet will soon be joining the likes of Timmy, Tommy, and the Able sisters in owning a shop on your island? Only time will tell.

4. Chip

Fish expert Chip used to visit towns for fishing tournaments, but in the most recent iteration of Animal Crossing, his role has been taken over by a younger beaver named C.J. 

The newcomer has taken over fishing tournament responsibilities and will visit islands outside of the tournaments to seek out fishing talent for his live streams. When he’s in town, players can sell their fish to him for a higher profit. It’s suspected that C.J. is Chip’s son, with his initials standing for Chip Junior.

Chip has a unique love for bass. With all the sea bass swimming around off the shore of islands in New Horizons, players can only wonder if he will make another appearance in the franchise.

5. Kapp’n

Kapp’n has appeared in multiple versions of the game, including the original Animal Crossing, Wild World, Animal Crossing: City Folk, and New Leaf. He is a sea turtle, known for transporting players from one place to another, whether that be by boat, taxi, or bus. He’s a sailor by trade and will tell stories of the sea to anyone who will sit with him long enough—or sometimes a song.

Nintendo clearly has not forgotten about Kapp’n. In New Horizons, players can acquire a poster of him through Nook Shopping by scanning the Kapp’n amiibo card at Harv’s Island. With the latest iteration of the game taking place on a remote island, it appears this sea turtle would fit right in.

6. Gracie

Famous fashion celebrity Gracie is a giraffe who lives a glamorous life. She is an entrepreneur who is brutally honest when it comes to talking to others and critiquing style.

In the original Animal Crossing and Wild World, Gracie would visit villages once a week and give players the opportunity to perform tasks such as washing her car, taking a quiz, or dressing to match a style theme. As a reward for successfully completing the task, Gracie gives players a piece of clothing from her fashion line. Starting in City Folk, players can also visit Gracie’s store, GracieGrace.


Gracie has appeared in every Animal Crossing game that has been released, aside from New Horizons. In that version of the game, Able sister Label visits the island occasionally to perform fashion challenges and spread her fashion line.

7. Nat

Another event that frequents Animal Crossing games is the Bug-Off.  Both City Folk and New Leaf players encounter Nat, a chameleon dressed as an explorer, during this event. During the Bug-Off, Nat will rate insect players catch during the competition. Unlike Chip, Nat doesn’t eat the bugs right in front of players, but it is presumed that he’s saving them for later.

In New Horizons, the Bug-Off is hosted by Flick, a younger chameleon. A picture of Nat can be found in the insect area of the museum and some dialogue implies that he is Flick’s father. If there’s an in-game Take Your Parent To Work Day, players might just encounter Nat once again.

8. Lyle

Lyle is an otter with a type A personality. He has had a variety of jobs throughout the series, including working for an insurance agency, the Happy Home Academy, and Nook’s Homes. 

The Happy Home Academy is present in New Horizons and sends letters to players to inform them of how their house has performed. It isn’t made completely clear as to whether Lyle is behind these letters or not. Island residents often make reference to home evaluations, a responsibility Lyle took on in his original position at the Happy Home Academy. It is uncertain if a future update will enable players to encounter Lyle in-person in New Horizons.

9. Katrina

Katrina is a fortune-telling panther with bright purple eyeshadow and orange eyes. She appeared in many of the games in the series, including Animal Crossing, Wild World, City Folk, and New Leaf. Prices for her services have fluctuated throughout the games, peaking at 500 bells and bottoming out at 50 bells. 

There has not been any indication of whether or not Katrina will make a return in the game’s newest installment. But with the recent return of Luna and Dream Suites, it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. In the meantime, many fans are hopeful that New Horizons will have an appearance from Katrina in the future!

10. Tortimer

Up until New Leaf, Tortimer the elderly tortoise was the mayor of every town Animal Crossing players moved into. Most days were spent in his office, but during special town events, he could come outside to celebrate and distribute holiday-related items.

In New Leaf, the mayoral responsibility is passed onto the player while Tortimer retires to his island to become a tour guide. If he were to make an appearance in New Horizons, Tortimer Island would make for a smooth transition for that to happen.