Animal Crossing: New Horizons was delayed to avoid dev burnout

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

During the Nintendo E3 2019 Direct, Nintendo revealed the first gameplay trailer of the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The beautiful trailer filled the Animal Crossing fanbase with a ton of excitement, but also a bit of disappointment. The new game was originally slated to release this year, but the trailer confirmed it would instead release in 2020.

The delay was acknowledged in the Direct, though they did not provide a specific reason for it. Now, some more context has been added to the situation thanks to Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser. In an interview with IGN, Mr. Bowser elaborated on the delay a little more and mentioned that Nintendo’s main goal is to “bring smiles to people’s faces.” This includes not just its fans, but also its employees. Thus, for the sake of taking care of the wellbeing of its development team, Nintendo opted to push New Horizons back by a few extra months. According to Mr. Bowser, “We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance.”

Here’s his full quote on the situation:

“The crunch point is an interesting one. For us, one of our key tenets is that we bring smiles to people’s faces, and we talk about that all the time. It’s our vision. Or our mission, I should say. For us, that applies to our own employees. We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance.

“One of those examples is, we will not bring a game to market before it’s ready. We just talked about one example [in Animal Crossing’s delay]. It’s really important that we have that balance in our world. It’s actually something we’re proud of.”

Teamwork makes the dream work

The topic of companies pressuring development teams to work long hours has been well discussed throughout this year in particular. Developer burnout is a serious thing, so it’s wonderful to hear that the higher-ups at Nintendo have recognized that. Sure, it might have been better from a sales perspective if they finished Animal Crossing: New Horizons earlier, but it’s clear that Nintendo would rather keep its workforce in good condition rather than chase after the bottom line. After all, a happy team leads to better results, so not only was this decision a considerate one, but also a logical one at that.


A.K Rahming
Having been introduced to video games at the age of 3 via a Nintendo 64, A.K has grown up in the culture. A fan of simulators and racers, with a soft spot for Nintendo! But, he has a great respect for the entire video game world and enjoys watching it all expand as a whole.