The 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Update Came Early — Has Your Game Changed Yet?

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Nov. 4 2021, Published 5:30 p.m. ET

Crops you can grow in 'ACNH'
Source: Nintendo

The latest (and last) free update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons promises a slew of new features. From additional villagers to quality-of-life improvements, and even a new island of vacation homes for players to manage, there's an endless amount of fun to be had on your island. But it looks like the excitement around the game couldn't be contained, as the 2.0 update dropped early!

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The new update was announced during an Oct. 15 Nintendo Direct that focused solely on upcoming Animal Crossing content. The Direct featured plenty of information on the new update. All of the announcements came with a release date of Nov. 5, but players were apparently downloading the new update as early as Nov. 3.

What's with the early release, and what can you do in the game already?

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Why did the 'Animal Crossing' update arrive early?

Plenty of in-game New Horizons content is already available now. The game has added 16 new villagers who can make their way to your island. This includes Animal Crossing fan favorites, the coffee-loving pigeon Brewster and the shanty-singing Kapp'n. Other new villagers include a blue rabbit named Sasha, a gray hamster named Marlo, and a deer named Shino.

The 2.0 update also adds plenty of new features and gameplay tweaks. Players can now grow their own crops and cook recipes. Fruits and vegetables will soon be at your fingertips, which will allow you to cook up plenty of tasty dishes for your islanders in the Roost Cafe. The game will also add gyroids and new furniture items for decorative purposes.

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Though fans are undoubtedly excited to download the update early, it's unclear as to why the new content was made available days in advance. Some fans on Twitter have posited that it was a complete accident, while most were just too shocked to even process that their favorite game got an early update.

Frett and Sasha in 'New Horizons'
Source: Nintendo
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Personally, I think it's a matter of the game spacing out its content, even by a couple of days. This was pretty noticeable in Nintendo's recent September Direct, when they announced a date for the final Smash fighter reveal without actually revealing the character, in order to give breathing room to other notable announcements, like the new Kirby game and the long-awaited Bayonetta 3.

This looks like Animal Crossing's way of allowing players to get acquainted with new features and updates in the base game before the game's other major addition, Happy Home Paradise.

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Paradise Planning team
Source: Nintendo

Happy Home Paradise is an upcoming expansion to New Horizons that takes you and your villagers to an island of vacation homes. It's a whole new world of building management and decorative planning as you set up getaway spots for your base game neighbors.

It should be noted that Happy Home Paradise is a separate, paid DLC that has not been released early. More likely than not, the expansion will stick to its original Nov. 5 release date, allowing players to start building vacation homes in time for the weekend.

Happy Home Paradise will cost $24.99 at launch, and is free with a purchase of the controversial Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack.

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