Restarting Your 'New Horizons' Island Is a Cathartic Experience That Comes at a Cost

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Nov. 1 2021, Published 4:33 p.m. ET

After more than a year of Animal Crossing: New Horizons players asking for pieces from previous installments in the franchise to be added to the game, the November 2.0 update is bringing almost everything players asked for and so much more. In addition to new items and new villagers, we'll also be getting the option to cook and grow food and a new DLC.

It's the last major free update from New Horizons, but before it drops on Nov. 5, many players are asking themselves, "Should I restart my island?"

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Should I restart my island? Here's what restarting would entail.

When many began their islands during quarantine, they had hordes of friends also jumping on the bandwagon, making certain tasks like finding new DIYs, getting all of the different fruits, and finding items to fit their island's aesthetic much easier. Serious players would even put requests for items on Nookazon or in Animal Crossing groups on Facebook to find exactly what they needed to match their island's look.

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It's safe to say, though, that the hype around Animal Crossing has since died down a lot. Even with the new update coming, there will not be as many players decorating their islands at once, meaning if you restart, you might have trouble finding all of those DIYs, items, and even villagers again.

That being said, restarting is really a personal decision you should make based on your own play style. For some who have decided to restart, it was a cathartic experience.

The point of Animal Crossing games is to slow down and experience the mundane yet relaxing daily tasks of island life including decorating for villagers, catching bugs and fish, and participating in holiday activities. For some, restarting the game meant letting go of the expectation to make the island perfect and giving themselves a clean slate to start again without pressure.

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If that sounds like something you will need to enjoy everything coming to New Horizons in the new update, restarting your island may be the move for you.

If you're looking to continue to design your island seriously, restarting might not be the best option, considering how long it will take to get all of the DIYs and items you've likely spent hundreds of hours collecting. But if the pressure of it all is beginning to feel overwhelming, then wiping your items might be what you need.

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Here's how to restart your 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' island.

If you've decided that starting from scratch is exactly what you need to do, then fear not because it's actually a pretty simple process.

There is no way in-game to delete your save data — instead, you'll do so from the settings on your Nintendo Switch.

Open your Nintendo Switch settings on the home menu and then scroll to "Data Management." Go all the way down and select "Delete Save Data" and find Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Select the game and confirm and your island will be done.

Once you reopen the game, you'll be redirected to the opening screen for New Horizons, allowing you to make an entirely new island and begin again. Just remember: Once you delete your island, this cannot be undone, and it will be gone forever.

You can also transfer your save data from one Switch to another if you're not fond of completely deleting it forever and happen to have a second console (or you've just purchased the new OLED model).

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