For many, playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons points to a specific time period: March 2020. Lockdown has struck, but solace has been found in finding a connection with cute animal villagers – and each other – on a virtual island and idyllic.
Gradually over the next year, players gave up due to Animal Crossing fatigue, a lack of content updates, and the possibility of finally releasing.
Now, however, the game is experiencing a kind of rebirth thanks to its recent – and much-requested – free update that adds a lot of new content, Brewster Coffee to gyroids, cooking and improving the quality of life. Then there’s Happy Home Paradise, the game’s one and only paid DLC.
This renaissance is most evident on Twitch. To concern Twitch Statistics Over the past year, the game has seen a huge spike in interest throughout the month of November. And that comes from both the number of channels showing content and the viewers watching.
In November, the number of hours watched and the average number of viewers increased by 198 percent. Friday, November 5, the DLC release date, saw a peak viewership of 70,860 – this is the highest number of viewers since the game’s launch (which peaked at 244,171 viewers on March 20, 2020) .
This increase in popularity goes hand in hand with the new “cozy” tag introduced by Twitch on July 29 this year, alongside other “mood” tags like “cool”, “hyped” and “chatty”.
These streams tend to focus on low-action, slow-paced games and attract communities looking for relaxed and comfortable vibes. Games like The Sims, Stardew Valley, and Pokémon are proliferating; Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a key title. And both the introduction of the tag and the popularity of these games have led to a 10 percent increase in hours spent watching comfortable game streams from September 2020 to September 2021.
The reaction to the new content has been positive from both long-time and inactive players.
“The new update is amazing! As a huge Happy Home Designer (3DS) fan, I only dreamed that we would have a sequel someday,” says Toph, a regular Animal Crossing streamer.
“I’m so happy that many new players can now experience Happy Home Paradise as it offers so many opportunities for creative development. My favorite part about the DLC is that all players get the same design prompts, but the the way we approach them all is so different. Isn’t that so fun? “
Toph is happy with the amount of content added. “I personally think Nintendo has done a lot with New Horizons,” he says. “We had to wait a bit, yes, but the amount of content and freedom we have in the game is incredible. Especially now with Happy Home Paradise.”
Banner Ebonix, meanwhile, returned to play after an interruption.
“The update has definitely brought the game back to life because after many hours of use it has sometimes become quite hollow and unnecessary,” she says.
“I actually started from scratch with a whole new island. I got to relive the experience of being a new game again, which brought me some really nostalgic feelings that I had the year ago. last. And then with the excitement of the update, as well as the DLC, it was really like a new game. “
In particular, the DLC allows players to be creative, beyond the usual daily activities. And that certainly adds to the long-term appeal of the game.
“It’s a game forever, isn’t it? You can play for hours and get lost in it,” says Ebonix. She also points out Nintendo’s timing and the game’s mental health benefits.
“Now with the update, which falls around the time a lot of people are suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I have personally found it to be a respite and it really supports me through tough times.
“The game has really been a supportive mechanic for a lot of us, with and without sanity needs, and was absolutely a game that has continued to deliver over the past 20 months with their seasonal updates that have us allowed to enjoy the change of seasons with events and more. “
Toph hasn’t stopped playing the game since its release, although he admits “it’s definitely a game that’s highly player-dependent when it comes to content creation, which is why I think some people have. struggling to broadcast it for long periods of time or as their main game. “
Toph has two islands, three characters and regularly engages the community with island tours and “dream hunts” to entertain viewers. The update and DLC just added to that.
“I guess I’ve always felt my Animal Crossing streams are fun and fresh every day just because I really enjoy playing them,” he says.
Banner Biggus bennus, meanwhile, further extends the longevity of the game with its own creation: the hardcore mode.
“It was a little ironic at first,” he says, “but I gave myself a few conditions to follow to make it a little harder and make it last longer as well.” It was inspired by Pokémon and The Sims players who frequently push the limits with nuzlocks and challenges.
The main tenants of its hardcore mode are: no time travel, no outside help and no terraforming “so you have to face all you’ve got”. But this is only the beginning. A longer rule set includes specific daily activities, allowing villagers to leave when they ask and still trade with villagers when they ask.
Meeting the challenge means collecting all the Nook Mile stamps – not only a long endeavor without outside help, but requiring at least two years given that there is one stamp for every 100 KK slider visits that only take place once per. week.
The return to Animal Crossing also allowed Biggus Bennus to reconnect with his Twitch community.
“I lost touch a bit even though it was the game that brought a lot of the community together,” he says. “I was a variety streamer just playing whatever and as soon as Animal Crossing came out I got really hooked on it. The community grew really quickly, so being able to come back and reconnect with it. a lot of people who had split up or gone to other communities or moved, it was great to see them come back after seeing that I was playing it. “
It’s admittedly a little disappointing that Nintendo has now stopped supporting the game. “Happy Home Paradise is great, but it’s free money if they wanted to earn more!” Says Biggus Bennus ironically. And Ebonix and Toph both have other requests and upgrades they’d like to see, such as more items, fruits, custom design slots, and interactions with villagers.
For now, however, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is as vast as ever, attracting a second wave of players. This proves that, despite the seeming chance to come out during a pandemic, Nintendo’s franchise is still full of magic.
Article source https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-11-30-animal-crossing-a-new-renaissance