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

5 months ago 17 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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florashark
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florashark

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.

Aaron
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Aaron

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

Byrch
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Byrch

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.

Erin
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Erin

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

Terry
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Terry

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.

Benjamin
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Benjamin

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.

Jay
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Jay

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.

Ille_Girl
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Ille_Girl

this is such dumb rule!, me and my sister share a switch and i dont have money to buy a whole new console for ONE GAME! they better change this rule because if they dont im sure they’ll lose money instead of gain.

johnny
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johnny

You’re forgetting cloud saves, if this uses it, then you can plop it into another system if your account is also on that system.

Ille_Girl
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Ille_Girl

That wouldn’t work

sleepie
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sleepie

this makes me really sad, why can’t there be a multiple save option on the home screen? like in the zelda series? this is such a huge bummer, kinda was a HUGE thing I was hoping for/looking forward to. I really really hope they listen to the fans on this one and make some kind of option for multiple islands

Elain
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Elain

This is really frustrating. I live in a large household and share a single switch with five others – I’m not keen on having to share my island with little siblings who very well may destroy my hard work! (Even if the island is very large in this instalment, I don’t quite think this play style is suited to big families.) I don’t understand why we can’t have separate accounts when it should be a perfectly viable option; plenty of other games on the switch have that option. I’m especially concerned now that I can’t even purchase another copy of… Read more »

Ivette
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Ivette

This is the f*cking stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Hubby and I share the Switch, so basically we have to share an island…one save file?! How is this even a good idea? Idgaf about having more than one island, but I want my own and my husband wants his own..obviously! I’m seriously so pissed at this decision.

Jahseh
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Jahseh

fr. but I don’t share my switch with anyone which means I don’t give a shit about being able to have 8 players on one island. I was so excited to be able to have different islands without having to buy a new game, but of course Nintendo had to go and smash those dreams. pls reconsider Nintendo

Byrch
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Byrch

I’m going to get the Switch Lite for this – treat it like a 2dsxl. Everyone in this household has a different style of playing and we will each want our own island for sure. Visiting one another is nice , like in ACNL – but def want my own place.

Scott
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Scott

This is aggravating. How have they not gotten this right? Each nintendo online account should have the ability to register their own island as the mayor or owner, but also have the option to build a house in any number of other players islands if the owner allows it. I think it’s a step in the right direction to even allow a shared city but they need to get the online thing figured out. Maybe it’s just too much data to store an entire islands worth of info in the cloud per account. Who knows. I’d pay extra to run… Read more »

Kayla Noelle
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Kayla Noelle

Ahh I don’t want to share a town with my boyfriend! It’s so much fun visiting each other’s separate towns and seeing how our creative vision differs!