You can only have one Animal Crossing: New Horizons island per Nintendo Switch system

12 months ago 291 Comments

In an unfortunate piece of bad news, life is going to be a lot harder in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Animal Crossing fans who have come accustomed to owning and playing multiple towns.

During a recent interview with IGN, Animal Crossing developer Aya Kyogoku revealed that up to eight players can live together on a single New Horizons island, using the eight playable accounts on a Nintendo Switch system. Furthermore, it was said that you cannot have multiple islands.

Here’s the relevant excerpt from IGN:

Then, when it comes to online and local wireless, up to eight players can be on an island. This is doubled from New Leaf’s previous 4-player limit. And though there is a travel theme to New Horizons, Kyogoku confirmed you can’t set up a tent on a friend’s island. However, Kyogoku told IGN you can make up to eight playable accounts on one Nintendo Switch and they will be able to live on the same island. You cannot have multiple islands, however.

The restriction of only one island might not seem any different from Animal Crossing: New Leaf on its surface, but key differences in how the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch systems handle saving are important to understand the issue here.

On the Nintendo 3DS, a physical copy of a game like New Leaf stores its save file on the game cart itself, allowing the cart to be moved between systems or swapped out with a different New Leaf cartridge for a different town. But with the Nintendo Switch, every game’s save file is only stored locally on the system’s internal storage, not the game cart.

What this means in practice is that your island or town is tied to your system — you can’t simply remove one New Horizons game cart and pop in another for a completely separate new save file!

Simply purchasing a new game cart to start a new town will be strategy of the past. In the Animal Crossing series’s history, the only game to operate in this manner was Animal Crossing: City Folk on the Wii.

Especially with Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the most active players in the community have become very familiar with the option to own and operate multiple towns, whether for villager cycling purposes or just pleasure. It’s potentially going to be a rough adjustment for many players and we certainly hope Nintendo will reconsider.

Despite the differences with the Nintendo Switch, this could be solved by treating every user profile on the system as a separate save file — something that many other Nintendo Switch games already do. Animal Crossing: New Horizons appears to be treating all user profiles as one giant save file with different characters on the same island instead.

We certainly hope Nintendo will reconsider and make a change! The only issue with that solution would be the oddity of selecting the island owner’s profile in order to log in to their island and not your own personal profile, assuming you want to share an island with someone as Nintendo has clearly designed the game around.

Pre-orders are now open for Animal Crossing: New Horizons at AmazonGameStop, and Best Buy. Stay tuned to Animal Crossing World for more on Animal Crossing: New Horizons as we approach the release date next year.

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noooooo i was SO hoping that you could use a different profile for a different save. or if we had to, switch out the ‘memory’ cards for different saves. boo :/ and it’s not like you can buy a game for each person in the household man nintendo PLEASE help and adjust this later.

You would have to buy another game to do different memory cards. This is a push to sell more Nintendo Switches.

The game save is attached to the switch, not the game. You can technically use the same game cart but need a different switch to have a different island/save.

I’m using my friend’s switch, will all my progress reset if I try to play on my own?

if you use a different switch, yes.

yes it will reset

Will the original progress reset though?

No, you need to get another switch

Uh oh, looks like I’m buying a new Switch for me and my sister…

Just get the Lite for one of you. Not as great as on the large screen of a TV but should still be great and 100.00 less.

I wasn’t planning to spend 200 more dollars either.

Most of us can’t just go out and buy a switch for each person in their family, even at $100 less. I also feel like it’s a rather underhanded attempt to get some people to do just that.

I’d hold off on buying a lite until the whole nintendo issue with their hardware is resolved

You could play splitscreen

yeah you could. but i feel like having your own island would be soo much better

Nope, you can’t play split screen, as you have to play “party mode” when the leader can do things as normal but the other people can’t even collect anything, as it just deletes. Also, only the mayor can build the town up and add shops and stuff, whilst the other players can only collect items, expand their houses and pay off debts. It really sucks.

Never. This is so blatant. I wont give them another dollar. Ever

That is so disappointing. My grandkids each have a file on my Switch. I love it because they can have their own files on a game and do whatever they want. I don’t worry about them messing up my file. That won’t be the case with this new way to save. I won’t be letting them play now because they have destroyed my other Animal Crossing towns. It’s so sad tha Nintendo has chosen to do this.

You’re keeping kids from playing a kids game you’re an adult being stingy over a game bruh

You sound ridiculous “Bruh”

dude adults can play games too and if a kid ruins their file they have the right to be upset, your probobly the type that replys “ok boomer” to everything thinking theyre so stupid not accepting the new age of things, than you do this bullshit and tell them they should just be miserable and not accept the new age of things just so kids can play a game. you sound like quite the spoiled brat thinking like such. im not all that old yet and when i was really young i LOVED animal crossing for the gamcube and acnl,… Read more »

cool story, bro

ok boomer

So original

So? Everybody is allowed to spend their time however they want. If you think that only our generation is allowed to play games, then you should only play video games. You’re not all alowed to go outside to do other activities with friends, even though the amount you propably have is rather small.

Heh, there are other kid games. I am seriously debating on the same thing. I MYSELF wanted the game, then the kids chimed in. Yeah, I don’t wanna share with the kids….

This is unfortunate. 🙁 I actually wish they had gone the opposite direction… I always solo play, I have never joined AC with a friend (none of mine play this game.) But I do have two files to make room for all of my favorite villagers. Having up to 8 players on one island means squat to me. I guess my only hope now is that they’ve at least increased the number of animals that can live on one island to 16-20 so I can get all if my faves in there.

I’m the same way. I never play with others because I feel like I lose the joy of finding new things. Sharing makes it all go by too quickly : / I reeeeally wanted to be able to interact with more than 10 villagers, though. I’m kinda devastated by this. I’m not sure I’d have gotten the game if I’d realized I could only have one save.

That’s a deal breaker for buying a switch for this game. I want to personalize my own island. Unless they price a switch like a 3ds so each household member could have one, this is a ludicrous way of building a game that’s main focus is personalizing.

Or you can just work and buy your own switch if you’re that butthurt about it

Do you realize that is not possible for some? That is a very rude thing to say. Just because people can’t afford to buy a switch for ALL of their family members doesn’t mean they don’t work at all. This is a real issue that Nintendo needs to fix.

ok boomer