Animal Crossing: New Horizons producer Hisashi Nogami and director Aya Kyogoku hope that players will use the game as an “escape” from the stressful situations in their real lives (via The Verge).

It is like the game is the antithesis of everything that’s happening right now—it’s a sedate social sim, wherein the player hunts bugs and catches fish off the shores of their very own island. They’ll invite others to their home, watching the seaplane soar overhead, and decorate their own house with furniture they’ve made from their surroundings. They might dress up a little with new clothes and designs, and hold modest but exciting ceremonies for the opening of new shops and facilities. And, all the islanders are animals and speak in an adorable babble.

“We’ve been planning this release for quite some time, so it’s unfortunate that this timing overlapped with what’s currently happening in the world,” said Nogami in the interview. “I am very disheartened and saddened by the events happening across the world. Considering the timing, we hope that a lot of the Animal Crossing fans will use this as an escape, so they can enjoy themselves during this difficult time.”

New Horizons launched last week, and smashed sales records for the most successful launch week of all Animal Crossing games in the series in the United Kingdom. Other entries have been released in Japan first, then released in the rest of the world afterwards, but this concomitant launch has been special for the developers. “It’s the kind of game you want to enjoy with other people, and talk about it, and share the experience with your friends and family,” said Kyogoku. “So I think that a global, simultaneous release is a really good approach for the franchise.”

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out now for the Nintendo Switch. 

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