Tom Nook seems like he’ll be quite the wealthy tanuki in New Horizons.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the next entry in the beloved series and we’ve learned plenty since it was revealed for the Nintendo Switch back in 2018. In an interview with IGN at E3, Nintendo’s Aya Kyogoku and Hisashi Nogami told IGN more details about the upcoming game along with some new information about features shown during the New Horizons Nintendo Treehouse live presentation.

You’ll start with two or so neighbors in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nogami said that when you first arrive on the island through Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package, you’ll arrive with two or so other random Islanders who chose to participate in the package as well. Nogami said because they invested in this package that they have as much of a right to stay on the island as you do. However, Kyogoku said before they choose a spot for their home, they’ll check with you to see if it’s okay. If you don’t like where they settle down you can tell them you don’t want to build in that particular spot and move their house location to wherever you see fit. 

It’s a very new type of a relationship.

“Back in New Leaf when a player moves to a new village, there are already pre-existing villagers that were there. They were kind of teaching you how things worked in the village, so you were kind of a newbie in a village,” Kyogoku said. “With [New Horizons], because you’re moving to a deserted island with other animals, the relationship that you have with these two first couple of animals is you’re kind of on the same starting ground. It’s a very new type of a relationship.

“I know that a lot of the Animal Crossing fans have their favorites and not so favorite animals. One thing I can definitely is that with the development team, there’s a lot of people who say ‘Hey, I didn’t really care about these two animals at first, but actually, now that I’ve moved to this island together with them, they’re really starting to grow on me.’ and start to have a new type of relationship with them.”

The feeling of progression and building up a town should be familiar

In previous Animal Crossing titles, your character was joining an established town with at least some basic buildings already in place. Since New Horizons is set on a deserted island, you’ll have to have to build it up from scratch. But after getting things started, Kyogoku said the way you develop your town in New Horizons shouldn’t be too surprising to returning fans.

“We made sure there are new elements – [like] building an island, building something from scratch,” Kyogoku said. “Once that island is there, then how it develops is something that will probably seem familiar to existing fans. We feel that we were able to provide a new experience but not lose what is familiar with the Animal Crossing franchise.”

Nogami said the elements and buildings of the town we unlock won’t be in the same order as New Leaf’s, however.

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You’ll be able to invite animals to your island in some way in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

In New Leaf, we were able to recruit and invite Villagers to be part of our town. Kyogoku said there would be a system provide an opportunity to invite animals to the island, but not necessarily seek out one of Animal Crossing’s many animals.

When you first move to the Island you’ll be with two or so animals, Timmy and Tommy, and Tom Nook. Those other Islanders that arrive with you can’t be forced off the island, but they can leave if it’s their wish, Nogami said.

Tom Nook has a plan for all those Bells he collects

Kyogoku and Nogami reassured IGN that Tom Nook is actually a really good guy; he doesn’t charge interest on loans and will patiently wait to be paid back, even if it takes forever. This time around, Kyogoku confirmed that the animals who join you on your adventure are also in debt to Tom Nook. They did buy into the Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package, after all.

But what is Tom Nook doing with all those Bells he’s earning?

According to Kyogoku, Tom Nook is reinvesting back into the community.

“Tom Nook, this time around, he has this place called Resident Services. He tirelessly works 24 hours making sure that all the residents on the island are happy and are living a good life,” Kyogoku said. “Whenever Tom receives those debts paid back from the residents and the players, I think that because these resident services upgrade as time goes on, I think he’s investing that money toward the Resident Service for the residents.”

You don’t need to worry about having to upgrade all the Islanders’ houses. They’ll pay back Tom Nook at their own pace, regardless of how fast you do – or don’t. You could live in a tent forever.

Nook Miles are a new currency in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nook Inc. is now offering something called Nook Miles, a new rewards program with its own currency that Kyogoku and Nogami hope encourage both old and new players to try various kinds of activities in New Horizons. Players can complete various tasks like fishing or crafting to essentially complete achievements that earn them Nook Miles. Then, they can exchange Nook Miles for special things, like a Nook Inc. uniform, DIY recipes, and other services.

“Bells are used to, of course, pay off the loan, but I think in previous titles there was some sort of value associated with Bells,” Kyogoku said. “For instance, a very rare beetle could be sold [for a high price] and a lot of players would focus on that and then would maybe, on the other hand, ignore a very common butterfly after donating it to the museum. The value of that has changed with Miles.”

There isn’t a direct connection between New Horizons and Pocket Camp

“We want to make sure to separate the gameplay because we feel they’re two different types of games,” Kyogoku said. Though they won’t have any sort of direct connectivity, there are already collaboration items being planned for the two games.

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You can choose your skin tone in New Horizon

Kyogoku confirmed that skin color is freely changeable in New Horizon, and, of course, hair and facial features are also changeable. However, this time around there isn’t a distinction between masculine or feminine features. There will also be new hair and facial features to choose from.

Other Animal Crossing: New Horizons details

In addition to all we learned above, here are some other things you should know about Animal Crossing: New Horizon:

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was delayed to March 20, 2020. For more on Nintendo games at E3, be sure to visit IGN’s E3 2019 event hub for all the latest coverage.

Miranda Sanchez is an executive editor at IGN. She’s really excited to make a nice island and hope she’ll see Roscoe and Bones there. You can chat with Miranda about video games and anime on Twitter.

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