Hells bells

Here's when you can start your Animal Crossing tropical getaway with Tom Nook

Escape to your own private island.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons will finally release for Nintendo Switch on Friday, and that date isn't moving up because of coronavirus. As such, you probably want to know exactly when you can start playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and what else you can prepare for its release. Thankfully, Nintendo has released all of that information and we have rounded it up here for you.

When can I play Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

No matter where you are in North America, the start times for Animal Crossing: New Horizons are fairly straightforward. The game will unlock at 12 a.m. ET on March 20. Translating that timing to other locations, that means some North American players will be lucky enough to technically start playing it on March 19, 2020. Players on the West Coast will be able to escape to their very own island paradise at 9 p.m. PT on March 19.

For those who pre-ordered Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it'll be unlocked for you right at that time. If you buy it on the eShop after midnight, you'll automatically be able to download and access the game.

Can I pre-load Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

Yes! In fact, you've been able to do so for weeks. Once you buy the game digitally on the Nintendo Switch eShop, you should automatically get the option to start downloading the game. If you do decide to pre-load Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you'll be able to play it as soon as those start times roll around in your region. Be sure to do this if you're pre-ordering the game digitally!

You canalready pre-load Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

What is Animal Crossing: New Horizons' file size?

For those who don't want to venture out due to coronavirus, you'll most likely be picking up Animal Crossing: New Horizons digitally. If you are, it's worth noting that the game has a file size of 6.2 GB. Animal Crossing: New Horizons will also receive a series of updates post-launch, including a day one update, that will add to the amount of space it takes up. Make sure you have a stable internet connection to download the game and play online with friends.

While Animal Crossing: New Horizons' file size is dwarfed by the likes of Call of Duty: Warzone or the upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake, it'll still take up a notable chunk of the Nintendo Switch's default 32 GB storage. If you plan on playing a lot of Nintendo Switch games during your self-isolation over the next couple of months, it may be worth it to make one last trip out to pick up a 128 or 256 GB SD card for your Switch, or snag one online.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes to Nintendo Switch March 20, 2020.

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