Animal Crossing: New Horizons might be the next game to feel the effects of COVID-19.
In an interview with The Washington Post, New Horizons director Aya Kyogoku and producer Hisashi Nogami spoke on updates for the life simulator. They are playing close attention to the pandemic's potential impact on post-launch content, though development "is still going" according to Kyogoku. However, the team may need to adjust internally moving forward should things worsen in Japan.
"We're not sure if we have to shift anything, but I think we have to be flexible," says Kyogoku.
Nogami does mention that he has to think about the health and well-being of the New Horizons' team. The Japanese development team is working in the office everyday, but their hours have changed in order to help employees avoid rush-hour train traffic.
Much like the rest of the world, Japan has seen challenges due to the outbreak of COVID-19. So far the country has 1,000 recorded cases of the virus, with supply for the Animal Crossing-themed Nintendo Switch being on short supply due to factories in China closing down. However, Nintendo has stated that this is a problem for Japan only, and will not have an impact in North America.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons' companion app went live last week. The app, entitled the NookLink, is accessible through the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app, which is available for both Android and iOS. With the NookLink app, players are able to scan QR codes of custom patterns that were made in New Leaf and Happy Home Designer and bring them over to New Horizons. The app also allows gamers to voice and text chat with each other while playing online. Players will be able to set up NookLink through the settings menu found on New Horizons' title screen. A Nintendo Switch Online subscription is required in order to use the app.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available now for the Nintendo Switch. The game currently holds a Mighty rating from OpenCritic.