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Animal Crossing: New Horizons introduces town terraforming

Plus a new phone app and free updates planned.

The player character laying down a path in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Image credit: Nintendo

Today's Nintendo Direct has revealed that terraforming is coming to Animal Crossing for the first time, with players able to carry out construction work such as paving paths and modifying cliffs and rivers.

It's one of several new features coming to the Nintendo Switch title, due on 20th March. Soon after launch, a new feature in the Nintendo Switch Online app will appear allowing New Horizons functionality. Called NookLink, it's where you can engage in voice chat or import designs from the 3DS' New Leaf and Happy Home Designer by scanning in QR codes. Customisation is also much deeper this time out, with cues being taken from Happy Home Designer as player's own designs can be applied to furniture.

That'll be part of several free updates coming to New Horizon, with the first coming on launch day that will enable Bunny Day in April - one of a number of planned in-game events coming to the new Animal Crossing.

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Nintendo also offered clarity - of sorts - on New Horizon's save data situation. Families can share an island on one console, with each user being able to register one resident and have their own house - all of which ties into local co-op, where four players can play together on one Switch console with one player being designated the leader while the other three follow.

Cloud Saves are not enabled for Animal Crossing New Horizons, though Nintendo did say a service for lost saves will be provided. What exactly that service is, when it will be available and how it will work remains a mystery.

The Direct also showed the return of several familiar faces from the series' past, such as Wisp the ghost and Gulliver the stranded sailor, and confirmed Amiibo support for New Horizons - simply scan an Amiibo and the relevant animal will arrive on your island, though Nintendo also suggested that not all Animal Crossing Amiibo will be supported at launch as they roll more in after 20th March.

We also recently played the first hour of Animal Crossing: New Horizons - click there to see what we thought of the streamlined, more structured take on Nintendo's life-sim.