In a recent Instagram post, Nicole Cuddihy told her audience that creating more inclusive patterns for Animal Crossing: New Horizons characters has helped her accept her own skin, including “spots, blemishes and stretch marks.”
Cuddihy is a New Horizons pattern designer who collaborated with Gillette Venus to create the Skinclusive Summer Line. Cuddihy and the Gillette team created patterns for character’s faces and bodies with vitiligo, psoriasis, cesarean scarring and bigger curves than default avatars have. Cuddihy, who has been playing Animal Crossing since the original U.S. Gamecube release, has grown a following for her work and is one of a few creators trying to bridge gaps in features and designs the game hasn’t already created.
In a previous Nintendo Life video, our very own Alex Olney confessed he hadn’t played Animal Crossing in a month but was coming back to the game after the summer update that included diving, Pascal and fireworks shows. Based on the comments under the video and opinions in similar reviews, some players have burned out a bit on the game or feel it wasn’t complete at launch.
In this Crossing Channel video, players wrote in “unpopular opinions” about the game, including that interactions with villagers are repetitive and don’t have enough text variation and that diving update only adds a “few minutes of gameplay.” One player complained about terraforming causing players to “get sick of the game easily.” Other common complaints include a lack of NPCs from previous games, like Harriet and Brewster.
While many players hope for additional updates that return favourite characters or fix gameplay issues – like having to craft items one at a time, even when you want multiples – artists and fans like Cuddihy are creating solutions that address some of the missing features.
Cuddihy said fan responses to the Skinclusive line have been incredibly positive and said she has heard from players who felt included and reflected in the game for the first time. When asked if she felt the project was especially timely given its wide array of skin tones, Cuddihy said she thinks it’s been released at a crucial moment for players and hopes to see more skin tone representation in gaming generally. "This project hopefully allows people to still relax on their digital island, without having to put their identity on pause," Cuddihy said.
Animal Crossing character design has certainly come a long way – never forget the iconic and mandatory pointy, triangular hats – but that doesn’t mean it’s complete. In the original GameCube version, facial features were determined by a short quiz and were not changeable unless a player started a new game. Later, players could tan on the beach to darken their skin but never looked anything other than white. Skin tone changes by using a Mii mask were added to later games, but New Horizons is the first Animal Crossing game to truly support a range of skin colours.
Cuddihy said adding features that more closely reflect what players look like in real life has been one of the most meaningful projects of her life, and has helped her become more confident. "Seeing a character that I related to surprisingly filled me with a sense of confidence and self-acceptance. I wanted to share that feeling with others," she said. "I’m so grateful to Gillette Venus."
Cuddihy isn’t the only creator working to fill gaps in New Horizons; Ben of the Crossing Channel recently built a new dream island feature that was included in New Leaf but not released in New Horizons. With the recent summer update, players could once again visit other islands in their dreams, assisted by the NPC Luna. Players lie down on the special bed gifted by Luna, go to sleep, and wake up on another island – provided they have the code to visit.
Ben’s Dream Code Randomiser Tool allows players to visit random islands by collecting dream codes submitted by players around the world. Ben, who films Animal Crossing reviews, tours and gameplay tips, said he worked alongside two other developers to create the project. "The tool is a replacement for the feature that was in New Leaf, but got taken out in New Horizons. I honestly don’t know why they took it out," Ben said.
Ben said some fans have asked if he was frustrated he had to create the feature himself, but told Nintendo Life the process was fun. He said he’ll be looking for features left out of future updates and find creative ways to adapt. He’s also going to continue creating content and videos for New Horizons players since he feels this helps them overcome boredom or burnout.
"I’m trying to make content that will hopefully help people who are maybe feeling a little bored or burnt out with the game at the moment, and I think that’s working," Ben said. "I’m so happy people still care about what I do after all of this time, especially given how much content there is for the game now!"
With the growing popularity of DLC, creators may continue to fill holes in unfinished games, bring back missing features or simply bridge the gaps until an update is released. While that hasn’t always been necessary for the Animal Crossing series, things are changing. Ben said he fully expects to produce more content for the game.
"This wouldn’t be the first time fans have made a tool to complement the game, and it won’t be the last," he said.
Good on them, it's a shame that the fans even have to do this.
I will say that it never dawned on me that people would want more rounder villagers.
I only recently returned after not playing since April and the new updates have helped a little, but I'm already starting to get to that point of thinking of dropping it again and thats before having to craft 20 fish bait individually or continually get materials out of storage to craft has annoyed me.
I do enjoy the game, the new museum is fantastic and it looks really nice but it really needs more locations to visit to freshen things up. Why not have a city you can visit or themed islands in general and it'd be nice to have more interactivity with objects, just been able to kick a ball into the goal I have would be nice. Imagine going to friends islands for a quick game of football or tennis even if largely basic, as it is it just doesn't always feel like there's much to do once you have the Island how you like it
That’s a really great and cool set of designs. Considering a lot of people’s villager represents them, why not have more tools to make them really able to look like everyone?
Good idea but still no bald hair option for those of us with no hair or a shaven head! I think one of the other games had a bald wig?
Great article! I didn't know about these projects. It's really cool to see people improving the game in such creative ways.
@Kalmaro these people are hardly the majority.
@DK-Fan You're probably right. It's not something I see get asked for often so I'm betting they are in the minority. I'm just shocked it never occurred to me that people would want that in the first place.
@RPGamer How is someone a jerk for not finding something attractive?
Things like these are nice but it is completely unrealistic to expect Nintendo to create a system that accounts for every human variant when the same 3 types of wood can be gathered from what few varieties of trees exist in this world.
acnh isn’t perfect by any means but people are ignoring that the pandemic changed everything. Had it not been for covid I wouldn’t have already hit over 1000 hours and run out of things to do. I would have played at most 2-4 hours a day and more casually as it’s intended.
Was that 3 articles combined into 1, it didn't exactly flow?
Also near burn out at 415 hours (last I checked). I thought the quest for a 5 star review would keep me going for awhile but I asked Isabelle the other day and I had 5 stars. Can't even begin to understand how 3 stars earns us terraforming but 5 stars only gets us a golden shower. Really Nintendo?
September in a few days but since my bestiary is nearly full and they haven't announced an Autumn update yet may be time to take a break until October.
Bought Luigi's Mansion 3 to play with my wife. Why can't they have added that level of couch co-op to ACNH, it's seriously fun.
I don't play every single day anymore. But I still hop on a few times a week. I hope the rumored farming update is true.
oMg NiNtEnDo Is An EvIl CoRpOrAtIoN bC tHeY dOn'T cAtEr To PeOpLe WhO mAkE uP lEsS tHaN 1% oF tHe PoPuLaTiOn!!!!! #dIvErSiTy_Is_OuR_sTrEnGtH
Very cool. Even though it's impossible to predict - let alone program - for every possible variation in appearance that can be found in the world, it doesn't hurt to program in as many options as you meaningfully can. ACNH was my first Animal Crossing game, and the character design features felt very accommodating but also very standard. I doubt I would have gotten interested as easily if my character was randomly generated or limited to just one or two generic avatar designs. And so the more variety and choice (and representation) that can be accounted for, the better.
More options would always be nice and I understand why people feel like they want their character to represent thei real life selves.
My character looks nothing like myself though, lol. I would never sport those hair or clothing styles in real life! I want my games to be fantasy, I have no interest in bringing real life into them.
Really good stuff 👍🏿
I love that Venus shared these body-positive skins while selling razors in real life. 'K ladies, it's okay to celebrate your natural body but please, nobody wants to see your naturally growing body hair'.
How is the first one "a tool to complement the game"? That's just people using the existing ingame design function.
@AJDarkstar That's a bit how I view it too. Idealised version of ourselves.
Sure, a wide variety of haircuts shouldn't be a problem but I am fine with that being one of the few options. I suppose some more facial options would've been nice but I don't really feel offended for not having a beerbelly option haha. Besides, thay's exactly the reason for the face paint option.
so cute! Very nice.
I quit cold turkey one day and haven’t looked back. I really enjoyed it, it was my 1st AC game, but it just made my son and I want to play BoTW again.
As much as I'm for every human on the planet being treated the same regardless of shape, size, colour, or disability I am sick to death of these types of stories. I play games to escape the fact that I'm old, overweight, have scars, stretch mark's, and walk with a cane at the speed of a snail with a broken foot.
It's nice that people want to add to the game to make others feel more inclusive if that's what they want but its unrealistic to expect any game to include every skin colour, body shape, hair style or disability and although I was initially interested in the story, I lost it immediately I read collaborated with Gillette Venus to create the Skinclusive Summer Line, so this is just advertising for Gillette, off the back of a current popular game, may I suggest their next advert use ring fit adventure I'm sure we would all feel more inclusive if those in game characters had a makeover.
No hate on others but damn I cant just accept how my body is. I can never accept how I am. I am willing to change tho
Man, those Gillette skins are UGLY.
@nessisonett that’s really not the point, accepting your skin isn’t a weight thing at all
@Ratking what the ***** are you talking about
@Wizzywoo “stop accepting your body it makes me feel insecure”
@Andy_Witmyer no one said that nintendo is an evil corporation stop using this stupid strawman, also being dark skinned Or overweight isn’t a super rare disease that happened to two people with one of them dying lmao
@Mountain_Man and that translates it into “I can’t stand people accepting themselves so i put them down and call them ugly to feel better about myself”
@Tuney Maybe you need to find a safe space with puppies and crayons to help you cope with differences of opinion.
@Mountain_Man maybe you need a trash can with more depricating garbage to help you feel better about your trashy self
@Ratking no one was complaining about fantasy having no realism, animal crossing is for everyone, If people are using it to promote body acceptance and healthy lifestyles then why stop them from doing it? Is it because you want to “escape reality's ugliness” cause if anything it makes you look very insecure, maybe you could learn a thing or two about self love.
@Tuney I have great self-esteem, but thank you for your concern. I assume this is something you struggle with, and I wish you luck on your endeavors.
@Mountain_Man so you put down other people because of your raging narcissism, got it
@Ratking so you’re directly going to call people ugly for having different skin and be surprised when they get mad about it? That’s just rude. And why are you acting like they’re going to your house and forcing you to have vitiligo or something, it’s just people embracing something they can’t control like their skin so that they can feel better mentally. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, some people don’t get attracted to overweight people, some people especially love them, some people don’t like muscular people, some only date muscular people, you don’t get to decide what beauty means when everyone has a different taste, if beauty was objective then the concept of types and fetishes wouldn’t even exist. I mean even if it was objective who are you to say what beauty is? What are you the god of beauty?
@Ratking again nobody is forcing you to do this, if you want to escape reality then fine pretend everything is ok all you want, but if you’re getting mad at others for not doing the same and claiming that they’re “forcing it down your throat” just because they accept their freckles, vitIligo etc is genuinely assholic. Also you were the one who called them ugly and claimed they were freaks for having different skin colors than you, do you even see yourself do you have any moral questioning?
@Andy_Witmyer ok lets see, 1% of the population has vitiligo that’s 42 million people which could fill up all of russia, 4% of the population have freckles that’s all of the usa. 74% of the population have skin cancer or stretch marks that’s already way higher than everything else. So basically it’s about 75 of the population, nintendo isn’t evil for not having that customization but it would be extra nice to have some extra options for idk 75 of the population?
@Ratking are you ***** braindead? No one can control their vitiligo or their freckles or skin cancer, these are things they have no control over, telling them their ugly or that they’re freaks for something they never even chose, something that they have no say over, is generally Disgusting. And about the weight thing, not everyone can afford to workout and have a healthy diet, some people are busy some people are stressed, and besides being overweight doesn’t strictly come from overeating, there’s stress, lack of sleep, overworking which increases the sugar level causing people to go overweight, and expecting them to somehow fit in working out and an extreme diet into their schedule and expecting them to keep it this way will only make things worse As it will not only cause more stress making it harder to get thin but it’ll most likely destroy their work schedule, my dad couldn’t ever get thin as he was too busy working to fit a roof on our roof and you really think it’s healthier for people like him to drop everything that they have for an unrealistic stupid beauty standard ? I mean i said it before and i’ll say it now, a lot of people prefer bigger thicker people than thin people, a lot of people think freckles and vitiligo are cute (i do too) it’s not your job to tell people whether they’re beautiful or not because of something they cannot control
@Tuney People like you with low self-esteem think that those of us with good self-esteem are narcissistic. It's a fable you tell yourself in order to quash your own insecurities.
@Ratking how the hell can someone control vitiligo? Or skin cancer? Are you brandead? Also also how can you be friends with someone who you consider to be an abomination? That’s jus toxic. Simp is a word that means someone who idolizes and worships women, Which has Nothing to do with this. Also also no one said anything about forcing people to love them because of illnesses, They just ask to be accepted and not be treated like they’re Some kind of Frankenstein’s monster Which you just proved by calling them Ugly freaks. If anything you’re the np here repeating the same thing over and over again “these people are ugly freaks who should burn in hell but I don’t wanna admit that i’m a terrible person who shames and harasses people for something they can’t control so i’ll tell them it’s their fault that they have skin cancer, yeah how dare they have an incurable disease they should’ve found a cure, anyone who respects other people is a simp, I don’t even know what that word means i just like to say it” is the summary of everything you said. How can people fit in if they cannot control what makes them unfit, how can people change if they have incurable skin conditions, how do you expect people to find a cure to cancer or whatever idea you have, tell me, how can those “freaks of nature” Find a way to fit in? Come on, i’m waiting for your response, have you come up with a cure? Or mayhaps you’re the problem and that you should swallow your damn pride and respect other people for having different skin. Also people put these things in video games because of customization, it has nothing to do with whatever ***** you were spouting it’s just extra customization for different people, but then again you are basically a nazi so I shouldn’t expect you to respect other people. Last thing i have to say is to tell you to stop whatever ***** you were gonna spout and just focus on one thing, how they can cure their literal incurable diseases
@Mountain_Man oh i’m sorry am i mistaken or were you the guy who called people with a different complexion “ugly” because of their skin?
@Tuney Yes, you are mistaken.
That's the first correct thing you've said.
@Ratking, you just proved my point, why expect people to do things that no one can do, why expect them to cure something they have no say over, why force them into running from something they have absolutely no say over when they can just accept how they are and not tire themselves because of it, and if you think they’re ugly freaks for accepting a skin complexion that they never wanted then maybe it’s not their fault, maybe you should swallow your pride and just accept them instead of treating them like monsters. And if you think that “they’re ugly and just wanna pretend they’re beautiful” then tell me this, how do you know what beauty is, Again you’re not some god of beauty you have no say whether or not something is beautiful or ugly, if anything embracing the way you were created is true elegance. Oh and also, simp is a person who does way too much things for a person they’re attracted to, how does that have any relevance to what I’m doing
@Mountain_Man “man those Gillette skins are UGLY”
@Tuney said “man those Gillette skins are UGLY”
I agree with you.
@Mountain_Man so you did call people ugly for their skin
@Tuney I did not.
@Mountain_Man ok then, explain to me what you meant
@Tuney I meant exactly what I said.
@Mountain_Man that their skins are ugly?
@Tuney I agree with you.
@Mountain_Man so you think they’re ugly for having a different skin? That’s not normal please get therapy to help with your horrific insecurities
@Tuney "so you think they’re ugly for having a different skin?"
My comment was not about people. I agreed with you when you said the Gillette skins are ugly.
@Mountain_Man what the hell do you mean by “Gillette skins” do you think they have ugly skins? Or are you talking about something else, if I’ve misunderstood please tell me
@Tuney I think you are trolling now. Goodbye.
@Mountain_Man for your information i wasn’t trolling, so don’t dodge the question
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