This is the first Animal Crossing game that allows players to terraform the town's landscape.
This is the first game in the Animal Crossing series to contain crafting and durability for tools.
The Dodo Airlines employees, Wilbur and Orville, are a reference to the Wright Brothers, pioneers of flight who had the same first names.
Wilbur, the dodo pilot who flies you to other islands, occasionally spells out words in the NATO phonetic alphabet. Notably, when he spells "NOW," he says "November Oscar Whisker." In real life, the NATO phonetic word for the letter W is "Whiskey." This change makes sense on two levels. First, it's a clever workaround to avoid a reference to alcohol in an all-ages game. Second...well, it's an animal pun, of course.
Orville and Wilbur, the dodo operators of the island's airport, are the first NPCs in the Animal Crossing series that belong to an extinct species. In real life, the last widely-accepted sighting of a live dodo was in the year 1662, less than a century after their discovery by Europeans.
This is the first Animal Crossing game to banned in China.
The date of the 2.0 Update Direct (which included the grand return of Brewster) was released on October 15th; Brewster's birthday.
In the update post for the April 28 2021 update on Nintendo's website, there was an image that showed a house that wasn't in the final game. It was replaced with another image and the Japanese website issued an apology for the confusion.
This is the first Animal Crossing game where it's mandatory to get a certain town rating to progress in the game.
A few hours after the October 15, 2021 Direct, the Nintendo of America YouTube page conducted a poll on the most excited additions to the game. Among these is the memetic Froggy Chair (which actually became the most voted option).
Late at night, TVs normally just play static. But on Saturdays at exactly 3:33 AM, the static is briefly interrupted by some sort of alien saying something unintelligible and showing off a flying saucer. This is also a Call-Back to the same gag in New Leaf, and other alien-related hidden content.
The Earth Day update reintroduced Redd and adds the Art Wing upgrade to the museum. However, you were required to donate the first art piece you get from Redd, which would always be genuine, in order to initiate the museum upgrade. Due to an oversight, the item was not inventory-locked and could be permanently lost by giving it away, selling it, or simply not buying it when Redd showed up, which would cause the game to be stuck in a strange state where the museum couldn't be renovated and Redd wouldn't visit the island ever again once he left. The workaround was to acquire a genuine work of art from someone else, to proceed with the museum renovation; this itself comes down to luck. As of the 2.0 update, the art wing of the museum is automatically unlocked, so it no longer relies on Redd's appearance.
Prior to version 1.2.0, there were a pair of serious glitches that resulted in broken plots that were near-impossible to fix. The first concerned adopting villagers who were forced out from another island through inviting amiibo campers, where there was a risk that the plot would be permanently stuck in a "reserved for 's new home" state. That was fixed, but a second, more serious glitch emerged - adopting any villager from another player's island carried a risk that the player would be stuck with a plot whose house would be permanently stuck in the "villager has moved out" state. Version 1.2.0 fixed these glitches and automatically fixed any glitched plots.
One of the new villagers in New Horizons is a wolf named Audie, possibly named after an 87-year-old elderly woman who logged 3500+ hours into New Leaf, and became an internet sensation after her grandson posted about it online.
In the base game, taking a screenshot right as the Camera app is booting up will result in the UI display not showing up, which players utilized to great effect to create their own skits and movies. This glitch was patched out in Patch 1.3.0, much to the dismay of players, only for it to be reintroduced in Patch 1.4.0 as an actual mechanic, allowing players to toggle the Camera's display on or off at will with the R stick.
One of the variations for the chalkboard item is called “Music”, and features a few lines of musical notes. If one were to play those notes in real life, they would discover it’s the title theme.
Connection to Other Media
Gulliver will make references to other Nintendo games while sleeping. talking To him will give you references to series such as Legend of Zelda and Earthbound.
The villager Kiki is a villager who is a black cat. She might be a Reference to the studio Ghibli film "Kiki's Delivery service" which also has a black cat.
After catching a squid, the game will sometimes tell you "It's Off the Hook". This is likely a reference to the news update program in Splatoon 2.
When using the Rescue Services App, you can hear some familiar music. If you listen closely, it's Resetti from the Reset Surveillance Center in the previous entries to the series.
It's interesting to note that you can see Resetti's model by using his amiibo for Harvey's photo island, which can also prove that some other characters may have their models in the game's code, and they may even be added into the game at some point.
Gulliver may mention that he once washed up in Coralcola. This is a reference to the first village in StarTropics (1990).
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