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Animal Crossing: Tides of Change is the upcoming sixth installment to the Animal Crossing series, which is in development for the Nintendo Switch. The title brings huge improvements and overhauls to elements introduced in New Leaf, Happy Home Designer, and Pocket Camp. Furthermore, the game introduces several features that intend to add more variety and lifespan to daily play.

Synopsis

The player arrives on a remote island nation via boat, and they have plans to move to a town of the nation. As it turns out, the player has arrived in the midst of a presidential election. A nominee's senior advisor, Isabelle, mistakes the player for the presidential nominee, and the player becomes the front runner for president of the nation against incumbent president Tortimer. The tutorial of the game takes place during presidential campaigning, and once the tutorial has completed, the player is elected president of the nation.

Presidency

The presidency is functionally similar to the role of mayor in New Leaf. Isabelle is the president's secretary, and the president can perform Executive Actions and build Public Works Projects.

Executive Actions

Executive Actions are similar to Ordinances in New Leaf. There are 12 different options for Executive Actions and up to 3 can be enacted at one time.

Public Works Projects

Public Works Projects can be built nearly anywhere in the nation. In the capital city, there are a few predetermined locations for PWP's. Up to 12 can be built in each town and up to 8 can be built in the capital city, adding up to a maximum of 56 PWP's across the island. The following are examples of a few permanent PWP's.

  • Café
  • Observatory
  • Campground
  • Dream Suite
  • Concert Hall
  • School
  • Hospital
  • Arcade
  • Police Station
  • Coal Power Plant
  • Solar Power Plant

The Nation

The island nation is significantly larger than towns in previous titles. The nation includes the Capital City, in the center of the island, and four Towns, along the coastline. Between the towns there are various other locations including but not limited to the Campground, the Observatory, and the Harbor.

There are also four biomes found across the island: the mountains, the desert, the plains, and the tropics. All four of these regions are affected differently by the seasons. Year-round, the biomes will have have different bugs, fish, and fossils. There is one town in each biome.

A river runs through the entire island which diverges at some point. Individual towns are made unique by the rivers that run through them and the cliff layout in the town.

Each town has a Town Hall and a mayor. The mayor is simply a villager who resides in the town. The mayor of each town is appointed by the president, and may be changed at any given time.

Villagers

The residency of animal villagers per region is as follows:

  • The Capital City will naturally have six villagers as its minimum. It can gain up to nine villagers in total, residing in apartment buildings.
  • Towns will naturally have five villagers as their minimum. They can gain up to six villagers. (Minimum 20 across all towns, maximum 24).

In total, there is a minimum of 26 villagers living in the player's nation at all times. There is a maximum of 33 villagers. The maximum number of villagers to an area can only be met by inviting villagers to move from other nations, from the campgrounds, or through the use of amiibo figures or cards. Because of the huge increase in number of villagers in a player's game, it is more difficult to interact with all of them. As such, villagers are far less likely to intend to move by their own volition (though it is not impossible, just less common). Instead, they are only likely to move when another villager has been invited to take their place.

There have been six new species added: turtle, fox, lizard, bat, moose, and sea lion.

Every villager who has ever appeared in an Animal Crossing title reappears in Tides of Change.

Personalities

Villager personalities no longer are gender-specific. Instead, all eight personalities are gender-neutral (with some having names changed to gender-neutral terms). However, there will be visible differences between conversations with villagers of the same personality but different genders.

  • Cranky
  • Sporty - formerly Jock
  • Lazy
  • Smug
  • Normal
  • Peppy
  • Snooty
  • Cool - formerly Uchi

Happy Home Academy

The player becomes an employee of the Happy Home Academy during the tutorial. As an employee of the HHA, the player gains the ability to carry out tasks as included in Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. The player has the ability to place where villagers' homes will be on the map, as well as decorate the interior of their homes. Both of these are optional, as some players may not particularly like the interior decorating mechanics of the series.

Because the player can place villagers' homes, there are added limits to how near homes can be to one another in towns and rural areas (the capital city has a designated area for apartment buildings). This is included to encourage the player to develop greater expanses of their nation.

Furthermore, the player is tasked with designing the interiors of necessary buildings such as the Roost Café, the Museum, T&T, and many more. These are also optional and the interior of these buildings may be set to their default appearance. However, buildings may now have upgrades in the form of interior items that must be added if they are desired.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer capacity has improved greatly due to the new nationhood mechanic. Villagers from other nations will frequently vacation on the player's island, and likewise for the player's villagers on other islands. The president may declare their nation as a True Friend of other nations, or as a Friendly Rival, which can increase cooperativeness or competitiveness.

Multiplayer has become more open, including interaction with players outside of your friends list. While strangers cannot travel to a player's island, the presidents of two nations can interact through various means such as trade deals, press releases, and more.

Furniture

Furniture is, on average, six times more expensive than in New Leaf. However, once a furniture item has been bought, it is added to the player's Furniture Inventory, which allows a furniture item to be used infinite times. This, however, means that furniture cannot be shared. Outdoor exterior functions the same way but is significantly more expensive than furniture.

Landscaping

Landscaping is a new feature introduced in Tides of Change. When the player opens the landscaping menu, they can organize their town from a top-down perspective similar to the interior design functionality. The player can plant trees and flowers so long as they have the items to do so in their inventory. Furthermore, Public Works Projects and buildings may be relocated through landscaping, though it will come at a steep price of Bells.

Camera

The camera included in Tides of Change is now a full, 360 degree camera. The free camera has required many graphical changes to the title. For example, apple trees no longer are trees with three big apples-- they have many apples, properly scaled to the tree, hanging all across the tree (though it will still only drop three apples when shaken).

However, the game is still locked to a grid. The grid, however, has more points of articulation as in Happy Home Designer-- the smallest objects take up four tiles but can be placed in tiles that do not align with other objects. This applies to both outdoors (for Public Works Projects, houses, pathways, and greenery) and indoors (for furniture).

Interface

The interface is highly inspired from the interface of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The game can be fully played with a single Joy-Con.

  • X - Opens the inventory. Holding X and flicking a direction will open a menu corresponding to that direction.
  • R - Opens the tools menu. Holding R and flicking a direction will allow the player to hold the tool corresponding to that direction. (Holding R then flicking Up will remove tools)
  • ZR - While B can be used to run, ZR can as well for optimal controls in single Joy-Con play.

Other Tweaks

  • Character customization has been streamlined. The eye style is chosen manually at the start of the game while hairstyle and eye color are manually chosen once Shampoodle is unlocked. Furthermore, the tanning mechanic has been removed and players can manually select their skin tone.
  • Several more clothing accessories are available, including: scarves, earrings, and gloves. Several animal villagers will wear scarves to accessorize (while sheep can wear ONLY scarves).
  • Every item now has a unique sprite in the inventory. Furthermore, all items may be stacked in the inventory up to 9 items in one slot.
  • Tools now have their own inventory. Tools may not be stacked, except for regular or silver axes, which break after a given amount of time.
  • Due to the increased size of the map, Tides of Change includes a fast travel option that allows the player to instantly warp to the gates of an area.
  • Running and walking no longer wears out grass. Instead, dirt has pre-determined, permanent positions as in Animal Crossing: Population Rising.
  • Household exteriors for animal villagers have been completely changed-- they now are reminiscent of their taller appearances in Animal Crossing: Population Rising.
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