Players of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp can spend time with their favorite anthropomorphic villagers in the real world, thanks to a new update that adds AR functionality to the game. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp is Nintendo's attempt to bring the charm of the Animal Crossing franchise into the mobile gaming space. Its outdoorsy theme set the stage quite well for Animal Crossing: New Horizons and its island getaways.
Ninteno is certainly no secret to AR technology. Its most famous mobile game, Pokemon GO, uses the tech extensively to simulate the presence of the franchise's iconic pocket monsters in a real life setting. The novelty of turning the real world into a Pokemon game paid dividends, and when the game launched in 2016 it was an instant, culture defining hit. Plenty of Pokemon fans remember hitting the streets in 2016 on the hunt for elusive monsters to capture and then running into scores of fellow trainers chasing the same goal. Pokemon GO is such a landmark hit that even franchises like The Witcher are trying to cash in on the AR monster-hunting craze.
Nintendo's newest foray into mobile AR gaming is of a much lower-stakes variety. A new video on the Nintendo Mobile account demonstrates how AR will be integrated into the Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp experience. By turning on AR, players can project their villager friends into the real world, where they can interact with the world around them and perform a variety of activities with signature Animal Crossing charm. The examples shown in the video included villagers dancing along with a pair of street performers, painting a woman posing in a city square, and posing for photos with the included AR camera. In addition to projecting villagers into real life, players will also be able to visit the cabin, which is a fully interactive AR space populated by villagers that players can talk to and photograph.
It seems like an odd time to introduce brand new AR features to a game like this. COVID-19 continues to keep players locked in their homes. The street performers, busy cafes, and city squares that the trailer visits are basically impossible to find in real life. But Nintendo has proven more than capable of adapting an AR heavy game to conditions such as these. Added COVID-era bonuses in Pokemon GO, for instance, were recently extended to make it easier for players to hunt monsters at home. Since the AR amenities in Pocket Camp aren't necessary to progress in the game, it's easy to imagine them instead as a welcome and charming distraction from the humdrum of lockdown.
The Animal Crossing franchise is renowned for its adorable and charming characters. Letting players interact with them in the real world seems like an absolute no brainer. The trailer does a pretty excellent job of highlighting how cute it can be to see a villager juggling in one's backyard or floating on some balloons. This new AR functionality should be an excellent way to spend some time in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.