There is an eight-year gap between Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the franchise’s previous entry, New Leaf, and it’s clear that its developers spent every minute filling the sequel with every little detail they could think of.
Most players have likely noticed that they and their villagers leave footprints whenever they’re walking over snow or sand. However, Twitter user @zyx_xyzzy noticed something interesting while running around on the beach with several of their villagers: notably, that villagers will leave different footprints depending on their species.
Bird type villagers leave scratchy, talon-shaped marks on the sand, whereas canine, feline, and bear villagers leave distinct pawprints. Deer and equine villagers leave hoofprints. Rodents and squirrel villagers leave oval-shaped marks that are most similar to player characters’ footprints, but the villagers’ prints are slightly smaller.
While it’s not the easiest way to hunt down a wandering villager, tracking them down via their footprints on the beach is definitely extremely cool. The footprints also linger for some distance—about a screen’s length, and older footprints appear to be more faded than newer ones.
Footprints don’t take on grass, so you’ll only be able to see each villager species’ distinctive prints on beach areas or during the winter season, when snow begins to fall over your island. It’s quite an incredible detail! It’d be especially interesting if the developers implemented unique treads for the player character depending on what kind of shoe they were wearing.
New Horizons offers a number of footwear types, from sandals to boots to plain old walking shoes—even armored shoes. All of these are encompassed under the player character’s oval-shaped footprints, but what if? Imagine clanking down the beach in the middle of a scorching summer, your feet baking in your heat-conductive metal booties, and then looking down to see a pointy-toed footprint perfectly matching your armored shoes.
It’s a lot of work, especially considering that accounting for all the different villager species’ unique footprints must have already taken a significant amount of time. But think of how funny it would be! If not in this game, then maybe fans can hold out hope for the next. Just… expect it to take another decade or so.
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