Animal Crossing: New Horizons to limit to one island per Nintendo Switch

Animal Crossing: New Horizons will give you your own island to explore on Nintendo Switch, but you're out of luck if you want multiple islands on the same console.

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Fans of Animal Crossing are finally about to see a full-fledged game come to a new console when Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes to the Nintendo Switch. It promises players a solo or cooperative experience, exploring your own or other players’ tropical islands, and making it your own little paradise. However, if you’re looking to start multiple islands among friends or family on the same Nintendo Switch, you may be out of luck. Nintendo has stated that there will only be one island per copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, per Nintendo Switch console.

The odd restriction was discovered in the italicized print of the game page for Animal Crossing: New Horizon on Nintendo’s Australian website, as discovered by ACPocketNews on January 30, 2020. The crux of concern lies in the fine print beyond the game description, which states the following.

“Please note: only one island can exist per Nintendo Switch console, irrespective of the number of users registered to or copies of the game used on one console,” the page states. “One Nintendo Switch and one copy of the game is required for each unique island.”

One of the coolest features of Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a unique island you can make your own in single player, locally with up to four players, or online with up to eight players. Unfortunately, you only seem to get one island per system.
One of the coolest features of Animal Crossing: New Horizons was a unique island you can make your own in single player, locally with up to four players, or online with up to eight players. Unfortunately, you only seem to get one island per system.

The bottom line of Nintendo’s fine print is that it would seem that regardless of whether or not you have multiple accounts, different players, or more, you will only be able to have one saved island on a single Nintendo Switch console and Animal Crossing copy. It’s unfortunate to say the least for folks who want to do their own thing on the same Nintendo Switch system. It’s especially strange that different Animal Crossing islands can’t seemingly be relegated to singular Nintendo Switch accounts, regardless of whether or not you have multiple Nintendo Switch Online accounts. Also odd is that the italicized print is not on the US Nintendo website product page for Animal Crossing. Shacknews has reached out to ask if the stipulation is indeed universal.

The hype for Animal Crossing is real. The Desert Getaway looks delightful alone or with others, and the new limited edition Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch seems like a wonderful addition to the gaming shelf. Will not being able to play different islands from the same console leave a sour taste in your mouth? Let us know in the Shacknews Chatty comment section below.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 3, 2020 5:47 PM

    TJ Denzer posted a new article, Animal Crossing: New Horizons to limit to one island per Nintendo Switch

    • reply
      February 3, 2020 8:51 PM

      This wouldn't affect me currently, but it seems shitty.

    • reply
      February 3, 2020 9:54 PM

      I feel like the Nintendo Switch save system simply doesn't allow this to be true.

      Basically in order for this to be true they would have to have a new save system specifically designed for this game, and zero ways to transfer the save game off of the console. That would be completely bonkers and not at all what Nintendo would want. The way I could see that actually happening is if it was an always online game, but we know it isn't.

      So, I have no clue why this info got on some official site. I am certain it will be cleared up with something like "hey we actually meant to be talking about sharing an island with friends on the same console and someone translated what we said wrong"

      The more likely scenario is that you can share the same island on the console with other friends/family, but it's possible to bypass by using a different account or something like that. Either way I think people should calm down until we know more.

      • reply
        February 4, 2020 6:53 AM

        To me it sounds like they're doing it the same way they did it on the console versions. New players either blow away the old island to create a new one, or create their own house on the same island. It's annoying, and at this point shouldn't be the case. I think the island config is actually going to be part of the game state instead of the player state in the save data.

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          February 4, 2020 8:16 AM

          If that is the case I can’t wait to see the support calls when people copy their save game over to a new Switch only to find out all of the island data is lost. The island data will be a separate data save which is not at all how the current save system works.

      • reply
        February 4, 2020 9:23 AM

        I agree with your hypothesis here, but it has one hole: how would multiple people (profiles) live on the same island (which is a hallmark of the franchise) given the current Switch OS save system?

        If you are a second resident in your sister’s island, let’s say, how would you be able to transfer that save data to another Switch? What would it transfer?

        It seems to me that it’s entirely possible that they DID have to completely circumvent the normal Switch save system and implement an OS-wide island that all profiles share, because the “we all live in the same island” feature is so important to the series.

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