During yesterday’s E3 Digital Event, Nintendo announced two new Animal Crossing spinoffs: Happy Home Designer and Amiibo Festival. We were already told about Happy Home Designer back in April, a narrowly-focused version of 3DS’s New Leaf focused on your duties as a virtual real estate agent of sorts. Amiibo Festival, however, came as a surprise.
In Amiibo Festival we get a party game that makes heavy use of the popular Amiibo figurines we’ve all been buying these last 6 months. Nintendo is addressing criticism that their games don’t use the Amiibo in any significant way or much at all. The recent Amiibo Tap also attempted to quell the problem and, honestly, it does so very well and is a very fun game to play. Amiibo Festival looks to be good as well if party games are your thing, but the Animal Crossing theme did leave us a little disappointed that we didn’t get a true new entry in the series.
I believe Nintendo tipped their hand and a new Animal Crossing is coming by Holiday 2016.
There’s many reasons to believe this. First, while the game is a great fit for portables, both the Gamecube and Wii consoles each had an Animal Crossing entry in their libraries and there’s no reason to think that the Wii U won’t be the same. Nintendo, as evident by yesterday, is pushing the Animal Crossing universe harder than we’ve ever seen them before. Two spinoffs, Mario Kart 8 integration, and eight Animal Crossing Amiibos seems like proof. So we can be reasonably certain a Wii U version should come.
The biggest hint an Animal Crossing game is coming soon, though, is Amiibo Festival itself. Watch at the trailer closely. This is clearly a Wii U port of 3DS’s New Leaf with all the visuals having been upgraded to HD quality including the homes, the items, the flowers, and all the characters. Every detail has been addressed! Game developers are not going to go through this much work just to make a party game adaptation for a franchise, and Nintendo knows that. Instead, they would’ve put all these expanded features into Mario Party 10 instead.
No, the reason why this game takes place in the Animal Crossing universe is because the game has already been ported over to the Wii U! The Animal Crossing team has already finished the upgrade to New Leaf and are already working on the new game’s features. Months ago, they forked off the source code to the Amiibo Festival team so that they can work on the game we see below.
I’m guessing that an official trailer will come in Q1 2016 so as to not be confusing with yesterday’s announcements. I’d expect they’ll continue to add new concepts to the game while keeping the basic formula intact. The game should be ready by either mid- or late-2016.