Nintendo provided more details tonight about its upcoming Animal Crossing mobile game in a pre-taped video presentation. It's called Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, it's free-to-play (with in-app purchases, naturally) and it's coming in late November.
Pocket Camp is pretty similar to a main Animal Crossing game. Instead of managing a town, you're in charge of your own campsite filled with charmingly goofy anthropomorphic villagers. Decorating is a big feature, of course. You can build furniture and other items by gathering materials and taking them to resident carpenter Cyrus. You can also install amenities like a swimming pool. Just like other Animal Crossing games, Pocket Camp occurs in real time. And, yes, seasonal events are happening too. Nintendo says they'll start post-launch. You can also fulfill requests for campground guests, shop for clothes, shake trees, go fishing, catch bugs, and visit friends' campsites.
Pocket Camp introduces two new features to the Animal Crossing universe – Leaf Tickets and Friendship Level. As you chat up your animal friends and fulfill their requests, you raise your friendship level with them. Get it high enough, or decorate your campsite in their favorite items, and they might pay you a visit. Leaf Tickets, meanwhile, are items you can earn in-game or buy with real-life money to speed up crafting times or acquire materials and items. Yep, microtransactions have come to Animal Crossing. Tom Nook will be pleased.
Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will be the third mobile game published by Nintendo within the last year. Super Mario Run debuted in December 2016, while Fire Emblem Heroes launched in February. Thanks to the success of its mobile games, Nintendo said its smart device and IP-related income was 9 billion yen during the second fiscal quarter this year. That's a whopping 450 percent increase on a year-on-year basis.
An Animal Crossing mobile game, if done well, also has the potential to be a huge hit and moneymaker for Nintendo. It's a popular franchise, but we haven't seen a main entry in the series since 2012's Animal Crossing: New Leaf. A spinoff, Happy Home Designer, followed in 2015. Hopefully, Pocket Camp will fill the void in our hearts until Nintendo reveals the inevitable Switch title.