Animal Crossing
Animal Crossing
Image from Adam Leonhardt at megadads.org

Animal Crossing fans have long been wondering when the next main installment in the series will hit. The last mainline game, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, released in 2012, with the sizable Welcome amiibo update rolling out at the end of 2016.

Players hoped to see a main series title for Wii U, but all Nintendo gave us was Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival, a cute but ultimately bleh spin-off game.

With the Switch’s release approaching on March 3rd, Animal Crossing players are excited at the potential for a new game that could take the delightful New Leaf to the next level. Some people have even noticed recent hints from Nintendo–“Ninhints” as I’d like to call them–popping up before our very eyes.

Known Nintendo insider Emily Rogers tweeted a while back that we would “maybe” get Animal Crossing on the Switch year one.

https://twitter.com/ArcadeGirl64/status/726088806491770880?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Could Nintendo be teasing a new Animal Crossing game? Let’s take a look at the, ahem, Ninhints.

Ninhint 1: Animal Crossing on Switch News Page

Animal Crossing
Image from Matthew Hayes

This is probably the meatiest piece of evidence, and I gotta credit Instagram user harvestgoddess for seeing it. She noticed this in a GameXplain video walking through the Switch, but anyone with a Switch right now can see an Animal Crossing picture on the Switch News tile.

In a recent press release, Nintendo stated the Switch News tab “will offer updates about the latest additions to Nintendo eShop, as well as providing information about upcoming games and other updates from Nintendo.”

The Switch’s online services aren’t live yet, so you can’t actually see the news in the News tab. I checked with WWG writer Matthew Hayes, who said the News tile was one of several tiles previewing certain console features.

But still. Why would there be Animal Crossing artwork in the News tab if there isn’t, ya know, news about Animal Crossing? I highly doubt they’d be porting a spin-off game or a title as old as New Leaf to the Switch, so my eggs are in the new-main-series-game basket on this one.

Ninhint 2: All Those AC Icons

Animal Crossing

The Switch user icon selection boasts an impressive amount of Animal Crossing characters, as we’ve seen in multiple UI videos and screenshots.

In fact, there are 12 Animal Crossing icons out of the 60 total you can choose from. The only other franchise that beats that number is Mario with 18 pictures of iconic characters and items being offered.

Out of the games featured in the icons, we know for sure MarioZelda, and Splatoon will have titles on the Switch. Pikmin 4, originally announced for the Wii U, is widely believed to be coming to the hybrid console, and Metroid and Star Fox rumors have been flying for months.

With so many characters offered as user icons, how could Nintendo not be giving us an Animal Crossing game on their newest console?

I know those are just two hints, but I can’t help but feel Nintendo is teasing a new Animal Crossing game for us. They really need it–and Monster Hunter honestly–to get the 3DS market in Japan.

But will we get it in the Switch’s first 12 months? Hopefully that day one update will hook us up with the news. We’ll keep you posted on any and all updates on when you can start a new Animal Crossing town on the Switch.