The Animal Crossing franchise is doing well for itself, thanks to the massive success of its latest installation. For a couple of years now, Animal Crossing fans have been enjoying Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a new take on the formula which asks players to cultivate and build on an island with the help of crafting mechanics. Sadly, Nintendo has seemingly ceased expanding New Horizons, so fans of Animal Crossing now have to wait and wonder what’s next for the franchise. Considering how New Horizons shook things up, it wouldn’t be surprising if the next Animal Crossing game tries something entirely new, too.
For instance, Nintendo could consider producing an Animal Crossing spin-off that crosses over with another one of its IPs. Nintendo has plenty of franchises with charming aesthetics that match the energy of Animal Crossing well, so it has a wealth of crossover options, but Super Mario seems like the perfect crossover choice above all. The Mario franchise is constantly getting new spin-offs and side games that use the Mushroom Kingdom and its characters in creative new ways, so an Animal Crossing-style social sim game starring Mario and his friends wouldn’t be so strange. On the contrary, it could be pretty adorable.
Imagining a Mario Crossing Game
Super Mario games often make minor references to Mario’s work as a plumber, but an Animal Crossing spin-off starring Mario would be a great opportunity to actually put those plumbing skills to the test, alongside all of his other handyman skills. In a Mario Crossing game, players might take control of Mario in a new Mushroom Kingdom town where he starts helping out various residents. While the spin-off probably wouldn’t have bipedal animals as its citizens, Nintendo could craft a range of new NPCs based on all the unique beings that live in and around the Mushroom Kingdom, from Toads to Koopas to Goombas, all of which have the right charisma for an Animal Crossing game.
A Super Mario game based on Animal Crossing would be particularly valuable because of how it can interact with Super Mario‘s world. Lots of Mario party games bring back secondary and tertiary Mario characters like Daisy, Rosalina, and Waluigi, but a social sim Mario game could give these characters more central roles. Luigi, Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina might all help Mario improve the town, while Wario, Waluigi, and Bowser might scheme to inconvenience Mario and his neighbors. Aside from giving these characters new roles to play, Mario Crossing could feature all kinds of building designs, clothes, and furniture inspired by beloved core Mario games to honor Super Mario‘s history.
Fusing Animal Crossing and Super Mario
Animal Crossing games are cute and relaxing as a general rule, so any possible Animal Crossing crossover or spin-off has to have the right tools to capture that energy. Super Mario is the perfect franchise for that. A game where Mario works to add new amenities to a town while hanging out with visiting friends and rivals sounds just as charming as a core Animal Crossing game. This theoretical crossover could differentiate itself with platforming segments in which Mario earns coins and powerups that help him fund construction projects in his town, but at its core, the game would ideally be all about having a leisurely time in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Nintendo hasn’t indicated that it plans on making a mutual spin-off of Animal Crossing and Super Mario, but Nintendo’s recent movements make anything seem possible. Core Nintendo franchises from The Legend of Zelda to Kirby to Pokemon have gotten highly inventive and experimental in recent years, so in order to refresh the Animal Crossing formula, Nintendo might turn to Super Mario for inspiration. For now, lovers of both Animal Crossing and Super Mario will just have to wait and see what’s next for both franchises.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available now for Nintendo Switch.
Nintendo explains that its digital sales grew ‘enormously’ over the holiday due to Animal Crossing and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
About The Author