Every time Carter, a longtime Deer crossing: New Horizons Player, wants to build a bridge on the island that he shares with his wife, he is defeated. The problem isn’t a lack of bells or Tom Nook’s limitations. Instead, Carter encounters a bureaucratic pickle: his wife is considered the island owner by the game, and she no longer plays Animal Crossing.
“She was the general visionary in the beginning,” Carter told Polygon on Twitter. Carter took care of the logistics like recruiting the best villagers, trading the beet, and unlocking Nook upgrades. Carter’s wife took care of the island’s aesthetics and general layout. But after that honeymoon, she finished the game. Months later, he’s still playing and she isn’t.
“She insists that it is okay for me to log into her account and make any necessary changes, but I am reluctant to do this more than is strictly necessary just because I am a very anxious person by nature,” said Carter.
As it turns out, many New Horizons Players are in a similar situation. Animal Crossing lets you share an island with a handful of people, and everyone gets their own residence on the island. Except after a year of updates, some friends have given up their shared games. Some users have a backup file full of memories and obstacles created by a person who is no longer in the picture.
For many players who are still involved in the game, the other players are no problem as long as they have permission to switch accounts to build bridges or ramps. Some people even use the added accounts to get additional recipes from Celeste or take advantage of the extra storage space in the aband oned houses.
One New Horizons Fan Mel told Polygon that her husband abandoned the game after a single day.
“I was pretty upset about his tent on my island,” she told Polygon. His tent opened on their island in July and remained a thorn in the side of their island for seven months. “I finally deleted his account today and am very happy about it.”
Others keep the houses as a kind of shrine, an act of love for the people in their lives.
“I have two nephews who call home on the island but they haven’t recorded the game in almost a year,” Ika, a longtime gamer, told Polygon on Twitter.
She also collects items for special events for her, like the robe of the Halloween character Jack and items for fishing tournaments, though she knows they may never return to the game. When they do, they will find that she has customized each villager’s yard to suit their interests. The youngest nephew has a small gym next to his house with a terrace for a dog house and a plush. The eldest created a zen garden in his garden.
“I still collect DIYs and leave the ones I already know on one side of the island. Once they pile up I log into their characters and learn some of the DIYs in case they ever log back so they log into more or less up to date with the DIYs, ”Ika said.
Carter knows the feeling. “Occasionally I will try to lure [my wife] Back in the game by making romantic in-game gestures like leaving rainbow balloons and dinosaur toys in front of their house, ”he says. “Which doesn’t make sense because she’d have to log in before she’d see it anyway, but I’ll do it anyway.”
New Horizons has continued to receive updates for the year since it was launched, and future updates are likely to continue throughout 2021. Perhaps these new items will lure back the players who abandoned the game, and they may see the care packages and tokens that their loved ones have left behind over the months.