As lovely as today’s debut trailer for Animal Crossing: New Horizons was, there was just one crucial element missing… where’s Isabelle?!
Good news to the Isabelle fanboys and fangirls of the world — the two lead developers on the game have confirmed to IGN that Isabelle will indeed be making a return… eventually. While they kept light on the specific details about her, it seems like she definitely won’t be making an appearance initially.
Instead, you’ll need to work hard first making an effort to build up your deserted island before Tom Nook will be able to manage recruiting Isabelle. Again, the specifics are rather vague here, likely because they are still finalizing the details with the game 9 months away from release.
Here’s the relevant excerpts on the topic from IGN’s article interviewing lead developers Aya Kyogoku and Hisashi Nogami:
“If Tom Nook is a great recruiter, and if he succeeds with the Nook Inc. Deserted Island Getaway Package PR, then she may come back,” Kyogoku said.
Isabelle’s appearance “may” also depend on how much debt the players have paid back, Nogami said. While players aren’t required to upgrade their tent, Kyogoku said that Tom Nook may not see certain facilities as a necessary upgrade.
“If the player chooses to stay in the tent, Tom Nook may say ‘Hey, actually, that guy likes living more of an outdoorsy, wild life,’” Kyogoku said. “So he may not see the necessity of adding new resident support services. But then if you do upgrade to a house, he may see a need for some sort of new facility.”
Nogami added that it’d probably be odd if the player lives more of an outdoorsy life and gave the example that if someone were to live in the mountains in a more humble shack, you can’t just suddenly build a convenience store right next door to his house. Tom Nook is paying attention to those sorts of things and makes sure he’s providing what the resident needs and will develop as he sees fit.
We’re just speculating here, but it sounds like this may resemble an evolved form of how some features were unlocked in Animal Crossing: New Leaf’s progression. For example, unlocking the appearance of Tortimer at your dock allowing you to visit the tropical Tortimer Island required your first and second debt payments to be completed first.
Pre-orders are now open for Animal Crossing: New Horizons at Amazon, GameStop, and Best Buy. Stay tuned to Animal Crossing World for more on Animal Crossing: New Horizons as we approach the release date next year.