Anyone playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons will have faced several key decisions before embarking on their adventure, from choosing a tent location to deciding which hairstyle to go with. Naming your Animal Crossing island, though, is perhaps the biggest decision of all - you don't want to be stuck on a deserted island with the villagers constantly reminding you of a terrible placename you chose in haste.
One of the most frequent questions we've seen online is "Can you rename your Animal Crossing island?" and, unfortunately, once you've picked one, you cannot rename your Animal Crossing island.
Therefore, it's even more important you come up with something good from the very beginning. If you have yet to begin your new island adventure, here are a few tips for anyone struggling to come up with a good name for their Animal Crossing: New Horizons Island...
Don't forget to check out our exhaustive Animal Crossing: New Horizons guide for more tips and tricks!
What should I name my Animal Crossing island?
First up, the restrictions. You've got a 10-character limit on the name of your New Horizons island, which includes spaces. Why is there a character limit at all? you may well ask...
The reason is because Nintendo has to take into account the effect of your town name in dialogue boxes. When a resident mentions your island name it has to fit in the designated space and the developers settled on 10-characters as a sensible length. It's longer than ever before, so be grateful!
Bearing that limitation in mind, we have the following advice for people naming their Animal Crossing: New Horizons island and needing inspiration:
- Forget using the word 'Island'. Including the necessary space between words, that word would occupy seven of your ten allotted character spaces. Unless you've got a killer three-letter name in mind, it's probably best to give yourself more room to get creative. Alternatively, 'Isle' gives you five characters to play with if you're desperate to include the type of land mass in its name.
- Go for a pun. Who doesn't love a pun?! Regular Nintendo Life readers will know well our love of every dad's favourite form of wordplay. In previous games this writer had a tradition of using a Bell pun to name his villages (Bells being the currency used in Animal Crossing). Previous village names include Bellevue, Bell Air and Bellarus (plus a rather rude one which we're ashamed to reproduce here, although at the time we found it hilarious). Regardless, puns are fun.
- Fan of a real-life island? The comedy value that comes from seeing your animal pals talking about Coney, Canvey, Alcatraz, Rikers, Bikini, Rarotonga or whatever other place you've heard about or visited is priceless. If you're lacking inspiration, look to real life.
- Alternatively, raid your favourite TV show for an Animal Crossing island name. Plenty of people have wanted to name their past towns Springfield, Sunnydale or Smallville but were scuppered by the character limit. If you want to name your island Cabot Cove and dress up like Jessica Fletcher, now's your chance! We went with Twin Peaks, which adds a hilarious (and somewhat sinister) flavour to Nook's dialogue every time he mentions it.
- Your name, plus '-ville'. It's old-school, it's personal, it's a little uninspired, but naming your new home after yourself is a classic move sure to bring a self-satisfied grin to your face.
Is there really no way to rename my Animal Crossing island?
Not without resetting the entire game, losing all your progress and starting life on a completely different island. That's not really 'renaming your Animal Crossing island' so much as 'totally wiping it off the face of the Earth and starting again'.
However, if you start Animal Crossing: New Horizons and suddenly realise you can't live with the name you chose 20 minutes ago, you may (emphasis on the may) want to consider deleting the save data for the entire game and starting again completely fresh. This is a drastic option, so consider what you'll be losing carefully.
How to delete your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island and start over
To delete your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island and name a completely new island differently from your old one you should follow the steps below:
- Head to the Nintendo Switch HOME Menu and select System Settings
- Select Data Management and Delete Save Data
- Select Animal Crossing: New Horizons and then Delete All Save Data for This Software
REMEMBER: This is the nuclear option and your entire island will be deleted - progress, residents, configuration, the lot. It's a potential course of action if you're only a few hours or perhaps a day into the game before you realise you hate your island name, but beyond that you'll be sacrificing a lot of progress, so think very carefully before deleting your island just to have a better name.
Ultimately, it doesn't matter too much what you call your Animal Crossing island - the game remains the same wonderful slow-life sim regardless of whether you're fishing in Paradise or bug-catching in Buttsville. Still, it's worth taking a few minutes at the start to choose something you're happy with because you're going to be seeing the name an awful lot and there is no way to rename your island.
Why can't you rename your Animal Crossing island?
Given the fact you can change virtually anything else you dislike about your island, it's odd that you can't rename that too.
Still, it goes on your passport, people see the name online while playing multiplayer and having an ever-fixed name goes a very long way to forging a strong relationship with your individual little island while you play. Perhaps that is the reason why Nintendo didn't include the ability to edit the name of your Animal Crossing island.
What did you name your island? Any regrets? Let us know below.
This article is part of our Animal Crossing: New Horizons walkthrough, which includes a Complete Fish List, Complete Bug List and Complete Sea Creatures List. If you're looking for specific fish or bug, we can tell you how to catch the elusive Coelacanth, Mahi-Mahi, Giant Trevally, Stringfish, Golden Trout and all the Sharks and Beetles, along with a full list of Critters leaving at the end of the month. We've also compiled a Complete Villager List and a Complete List of K.K. Slider Songs, as well as the Best Custom Design Codes and Islands we've found so far, and the best islands to visit using Dream Address Codes.
We can also help with How to Spot Redd's Fake Paintings and Statues, How to Make Bells Fast, How to Breed Flowers, How to Get more DIY Recipes, How to Upgrade Nook's Cranny, where and when to find special characters like Gulliver, Sable, Label, Wisp, Celeste, Pirate Gulliver and Jack, plus tips on using the Star Wand, Tool Ring, Rock Trick, Cutting Down and Moving Trees, using amiibo on Harv's Island, How to Back Up Your Island Data, How to Time Travel, How to Get a 5-Star Island Rating and a whole lot more.
And finally Where to Buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons on Nintendo Switch if for some reason you haven't yet picked up the game.