Deep Dive

What you need to know about Animal Crossing: New Horizons' July update

A deep dive into this new update.

While Animal Crossing: New Horizons is one of the biggest games of 2020, it hasn't received a major update since April, but that will change soon as Nintendo is planning another free update for July 3.

While it's missing one major addition typically in New Horizons updates, the summer update adds a lot of new scenarios and furniture, along with a long-requested new mobility feature: swimming!

After a long period of relative silence around the game, Nintendo unveiled the free "Wave #1" summer update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons on June 25. When the update hits on July 3, it will bring swimming and diving back to the series as well as a new scenario with Gulliver and a returning character Pascal. Nintendo also teased that we will get another major update in August.

What's new? From a gameplay perspective, the biggest new addition of the first summer update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons is that you can now swim and dive off the coast of your island. These mechanics seemingly add new sea creatures to the game as well, which means that they can subsequently be donated to Blathers and shown off within the museum. This feature was teased in a data-mine back in April.

This update will also mark the return of Pascal, an otter that first appeared in Animal Crossing: Wild World. In New Horizons, you will encounter Pascal while out swimming, and you'll be able to trade scallops for DIY recipes. This is how players will get the new sea-themed Mermaid furniture set briefly seen in the trailer.

Finally, this update will see players encountering Gulliver once again in a scenario that's slightly different than his usual encounter with the player. He will now wash up on shore in a pirate outfit and give a "special reward" to those who help him, the press release about the update teases.

What's missing? This update is bringing a lot of awesome gameplay additions to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but it's missing one major thing previous large updates for the game contained: new holidays. An update in March added Bunny Day, while April's brought Nature Day, May Day, International Museum Day, and Wedding Season to the game. Unfortunately, Wave #1 summer update brings no such addition.

While July has historically been a holiday-light period of the series, with Yay Day and Starcrossed Day being the two major exceptions, Animal Crossing: New Horizons could have included more interesting summer holidays like the Fourth of July. But with Nintendo obviously being a Japanese company, it makes sense that they wouldn't celebrate a purely American holiday.

While the lack of any new holidays is disappointing to an extent, it also means that players won't have to worry about any major shakeups to their island outside of the new swimming areas. It's very likely that Animal Crossing: New Horizons' holidays will pick up again in August.

Players can trade the scallops they find to Pascal for DIY recipes.


When will we hear more? As we've previously mentioned, Nintendo confirmed that Animal Crossing: New Horizons will get another major update in early August 2020. While they didn't tease what this update would include at all, it's safe to expect new characters, holidays, and gameplay mechanics if those were all part of previous updates. Hopefully, we'll learn more about what it will include before the end of July.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available now for Nintendo Switch.

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