Nintendo fans rejoiced when Super Nintendo World finally arrived at Universal Studios Hollywood and brought the world of Super Mario Bros to life with its immersive offerings and nostalgic theming.
Debuting first at Universal Studios Japan in 2021, Super Nintendo World has showcased how an animated, video game world can be converted into a real, tangible environment.
Having replicated the world of Mario so intricately, Super Nintendo World’s addition to Universal Hollywood has now prompted discussion surrounding which major game franchise could be next and we’d like to throw one particular suggestion into the ring:
Animal Crossing World!
Despite a back catalog of popular releases since 2001, the Animal Crossing video game franchise shot to prominence in the U.S. amidst the pandemic with Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The simulation game allows players to peacefully occupy their time by curating their own dreamy island escape, making friends, and catching critters along the way. Animal Crossing’s ongoing popularity makes it a fantastic candidate for the next big theme park land and we have a few suggestions as to how this wholesome animated world could be brought to life…
Environments and Landscape
Much like Super Nintendo World utilizes an in-world element, the warp pipe, as the entryway for guests coming into the land, Animal Crossing World could see guests arrive via the Dodo Airlines airport, or even via a train station if the land wanted to combine elements from previous Animal Crossing games as well.
Staples from the Animal Crossing games include fruit-filled trees, stone bridges, and flowers in full bloom - all elements that could be physically replicated to establish a real-life Animal Crossing environment that is true to its source material.
One of Animal Crossing’s most beloved activities, fishing could be represented by LED screens or projections which could be used to create the illusion of fish within little ponds. Meanwhile, familiar buildings such as the Town Hall, the Museum or Tom Nook’s shop would be the perfect exteriors for things such as retail locations or dining areas.
Plus, Tom Nook, Isabelle and various other beloved islanders could meet and greet with guests, making for a picture-perfect moment for any Animal Crossing fan.
A family-friend coaster could see guests sent on a frantic delivery mission courtesy of Tom Nook himself, soaring past different islanders on a high-speed journey. Alternatively, the land could take some loose inspiration from attractions such as Disney California Adventure’s Web Slingers and drop guests right in the middle of the island’s seasonal event, the “Bug-Off!” Guests could catch bugs using a similar tech as Web Slingers and compete in the beloved tournament from within the video game.
Since we’re thinking big, your adventures within Animal Crossing world could all be accompanied by an app (if that’s your kind of thing!)
Inspired by the game’s floating balloons that drop gifts once you shoot them down with a slingshot, an AI lens could see you hunt for balloons in the skies around you during your time in Animal Crossing World. Aside from this, the app could also serve as your encyclopedia for the various bugs you’ve caught during your capers on the ride, just like within the game.
Could Animal Crossing have a future in U.S. Theme Parks?
While Animal Crossing may not yet boast quite the same longevity as a pop culture icon as Mario does, the Animal Crossing franchise has all the right components to serve as a highly successful theme park land.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons became Japan’s best-selling video game of all time back in 2022, having sold more than 10 million copies since its 2020 release. With this in mind, it’s likely that any plans for an Animal Crossing land would likely be considered for theme parks in the east first, much like Super Nintendo World originally was.
However, theme park fans have long proposed intellectual properties such as The Legend of Zelda and Minecraft as new areas for Universal’s U.S. theme parks, therefore, there is an obvious hunger for strong adaptations of video game worlds that allow guests to experience and explore these fictional locations.
Currently, there are no known plans for Animal Crossing to make the leap over to any theme park globally, however, with Super Nintendo World having laid the groundwork for further video game/theme park crossovers in the future, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that guests could be wandering through a real-life Animal Crossing environment in years to come…
Would you like to see Animal Crossing have its own theme park land? What would you like to see included in the area? Let us know your thoughts by voting in our poll or by leaving us a comment below.