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When will we get a new Animal Crossing game?

Is there a new Animal Crossing game coming out? Here’s what we know about the next opportunity to rack up debt with Tom Nook.

new Animal Crossing game - three Animal Crossing characters coming out of a Nintendo Switch

So, fellow Nook fans, are we ready to speculate about a new Animal Crossing game? After Nintendo ended service on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, we’ve been feeling a bit down and out about our future villagers and town building, but leaks and rumors are here to give us hope about the next game, likely releasing on the Switch 2.

For some upcoming games that we do have information about, here are the best new Nintendo Switch games. If you’re heading back to your island, we can help with our ACNH flower breeding guide, ACNH art guide, and a list of every Animal Crossing amiibo card.

Are there any new Animal Crossing game rumors?

Recently, this post appeared on X, claiming that a new Animal Crossing game is in development and is an “ultimate version”. Obviously, people are shocked and are now frantically thinking of possibilities, but let’s dive into this leak and take a realistic look at what it could mean.

Firstly, the leaker – NWeedle on Twitter – has a good track record as they previously announced the Baten Kaitos remaster, Metroid Dread, and other titles, so this isn’t a totally random finding.

new Animal Crossing game - a screenshot of a tweet supposedly leaking information

I believe the ‘ultimate’ part is a descriptor, not the name of the actual game, and likely points to the content in the game – like an advert describing it as “the ultimate Animal Crossing game”, mostly due to the fact that Animal Crossing Ultimate sounds like a fighting game.

The leak suggests that there’s a large city with skyscrapers. Personally, this does not feel like Animal Crossing, unless it means a city hub like in the Wii’s Animal Crossing: City Folk, and has some larger buildings in the background. An actual city setting goes against a lot of the franchise’s core values about taking your time and immersing yourself in nature. The leak also states that you can control vehicles. Does this mean that we can drive Kapp’n around and use the bike items? Only time will tell.

Next, the leak says there are ‘adventure missions, puzzles, and mini-games’. In previous titles we did get mini-games – not just playing cards with your villagers for a piece of cruddy furniture – that you could play and were different from the main Animal Crossing experience. Animal Crossing: New Leaf had Desert Island Escape and Puzzle League which people expected to come back in New Horizons, however, they sadly did not.

My wild, crack theory that you should absolutely not subscribe to, is that “Animal Crossing Ultimate” will be New Horizons, but bigger and better. Remember all those lost features from New Leaf and the improvements in Pocket Camp? That’s what I hope will come back. It could be New Horizons with an expanded world, or a new setting that’s very reminiscent. Either way, anything Animal Crossing is right at the top of my wishlist.

One final tidbit to this leak is that the game allegedly releases in 2026 “along with a series” – Nintendo had great success with the Mario movie, and has a Legend of Zelda movie in the works, along with plenty of Pokémon shows. Perhaps it’s time we did get a cute anime based on Animal Crossing that releases worldwide. It wouldn’t be the first Animal Crossing movie we’ve got, after all.

new Animal Crossing game - a character staring at a Nintendo Switch in the sky on a desert island

What will the next Animal Crossing game be like?

Each iteration of Animal Crossing builds on the last, adding a bigger base world, more customization options, more villagers, and usually some new shopping opportunities or venues to visit.

The next game could take place in a new setting, though it’s likely to retain the peaceful woodland feel with a town or city as a visitable destination. We might get new transport options akin to the Mario warp pipes in New Horizons, and we’re sure to get more multiplayer options and things to do with our friends. Similarly, we might see more smartphone usage that builds on the Nintendo Switch Online app’s Animal Crossing section and brings in features from Pocket Camp.

It’s also highly likely there will be plenty of new villagers to meet and make friends with, along with some NPCs working at the town hall equivalent and in the stores we frequent.

Is there a new Animal Crossing game release date?

It’s unlikely that it would be a release title for the rumored Switch 2, given that we didn’t get New Horizons announced until two years after the Switch debuted – and even then, had to wait another year for it to release in 2020 after some delays.

Obviously, it would be amazing if we did get a new Animal Crossing sooner rather than later, but keep your expectations realistic. In the meantime, there are new Star Wars games and new Pokémon games to look forward to.