A comment on Reddit probably sums up the storm surrounding Nintendo’s next big title for the Switch. For a game popular for its relaxing gameplay, Animal Crossing: New Horizons might actually stress some players out or at least make them extremely careful about their game and their Switch. That’s because not only will it be impossible to transfer your game data to another Switch, the lack of cloud save at launch means you will lose your game forever should your console meet an untimely end.
Animal Crossing is praised for its pressure-free gameplay supported by cutesy graphics and anthropomorphic animals. One of its key features has been its time-based mechanic which uses real-world time rather than some artificial in-game counter. This feature is so key to the game that Nintendo is doing everything to ensure it can’t be cheated, even to the point of irking the games’ fans.
To protect the mechanic from external manipulation, Nintendo is putting two limitations not found in most Switch games, both revolving around the mantra “One console per island”. For one, it doesn’t allow the transfer of data from one Switch to another, something confirmed by a German brochure for the game.
More worrying, however, is that the game doesn’t feature any way to save data to the cloud, which means that, should your Switch be lost or damaged, you lose your game as well. Nintendo seems to have relented and will eventually implement cloud saves but only for that purpose. And even then it will only be available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.
So between March 20 when the game launches and until the day Nintendo implements cloud save, you best be extremely careful with your Animal Crossing: New Horizons game. That, of course, could induce a bit of anxiety which is almost antithetical to the game. Which also explains the uproar that’s coming from the normally supportive fans of the franchise.