So, unlike most people, I have actually played Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. I don't blame those of you who didn't — it's a weird little spin-off that peters out pretty quickly, and lacks a lot of the liveliness of Animal Crossing itself, but... well... there's something special about it all the same.
Admittedly, I played Happy Home Designer because I was paid to. Back in the day, I reviewed it for The Guardian, and here's what I had to say:
"It’s a vast improvement on the home designing elements in the otherwise excellent Animal Crossing: New Leaf, with more stuff, more options, more features – and a much better interface for actually positioning the furniture, moving from fiddly sofa-dragging to a simpler top-down grid that allows you to select, drop and rotate with the stylus."
But, unfortunately, the home decor aspect without the life sim aspect gets a bit boring, after a while:
"Just like the numpties on Grand Designs, Happy Home Designer doesn’t really know what it wants, and it suffers for it. It can’t possibly be the newest Animal Crossing – it’s far too small. It’s a pretty good, if simple, home decorating game, but not as a full, standalone release. It’s a life simulator that doesn’t let you have a life.
If this were an episode of Grand Designs, and I was Kevin McCloud, I’d turn to the camera right now, and say: “Well, it’s not quite what we all wanted, but … I guess it’ll do.” Roll eyes. Roll credits."
(Don't worry too much about all the Grand Designs references. I was going for a theme.)
To summarise, though: Happy Home Designer was pretty much a testing ground for New Horizons' vastly improved home decoration stuff, although it was also retrofitted into Animal Crossing: New Leaf, too. And, much like HHD, ACNH is almost entirely focused on the interior design aspect, and not much on the life simulation stuff, which is part of the reason why so many people are a bit bummed about the game, almost two years after launch.
But here's an idea: What if we got Happy Home Designer abilities in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?
While writing the "What Would You Like To See From The Animal Crossing Direct" article earlier today, I saw a couple of people online talking about how much they'd like to decorate other villagers' houses. I hadn't even considered the idea, until suddenly it was all I could think about.
Imagine that Tom Nook, one day, starts telling you about a pal of his. They used to run a business together, and now that pal wants to move to this gorgeous paradise of an island to set up shop again. That pal's name? Lyle. His business? Decorating homes.
But your home is already decorated... so what's his job? Decorating OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES. FINALLY. I've visited enough villagers' houses to know that their sense of style is absolutely pants, and I would have given anything to help my starter villagers get something a little nicer than their starter houses. Also, I keep giving Kyle instruments, and he keeps putting them in stupid places, like an idiot man. LET ME HELP YOU, MY SWEET, STUPID FRIENDS.
So, Lyle and Lottie move into town, and maybe even Digby, Isabelle's brother, and they help you to tear down and build up other people's houses from the inside out. Maybe we could even add rooms on to the villager houses, since we all have way too much money and nothing to spend it on! I don't mind paying other people's mortgages! I'm loaded, and generous!!
I know that people are asking for more pressing additions to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and I get it — and I agree. I'd like to see more fish, bugs, and furniture too. But imagine how much of a gamechanger this would be — the ability to decorate every house on the island! A use for all that furniture we've been hoarding! And, best of all, a way to bring all the other houses up to an acceptable standard!
What do you mean, "Kate, are you the kind of person that has issues with control"? No. Shut up.
Do you agree with me? Would this be a good idea, and would it pull you back in? Let us know in the usual place!
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