There's something rotten about Animal Crossing's egg event

Let’s be clear, for the first week and a bit of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Nintendo played an absolute blinder. The introduction is a masterful ramp up to the traditional Animal Crossing experience, functionality and character building day over day until you reach a point you realise you’ve been playing a prologue all this time. The game proper is now ready to unfold. The whole experience is now wide open. You have toiled and crafted and you are ready for… eggs?

Eggs. The eggs are everywhere. And they stink.

Now, I think there’s an element of bad timing here – albeit one Nintendo is still in charge of. When April rolled around, most people who had got the game on day one were now just settling into their island life proper. March’s end was a gentle rush to gain stringfish and sturgeon before the season changed, but players had found their daily Animal Crossing rhythms.

And then those eggs arrived. And suddenly I’m getting flashbacks. Because instead of feeling like I’m playing Animal Crossings past, it feels like I’m playing Pocket Camp, the FOMO-infused smartphone spin-off which floods the game with events which dominate how you play and demand you do. Constantly.

Oh, we’ve got some ideas.

Let me explain. New Horizon’s egg event has you gathering eggs to craft limited edition furniture and clothing. These eggs have taken over the game’s usual crafting sources – meaning you will find them when you shake trees, when you chop wood, when you dig for fossils, when you fish. When you hear a balloon floating overhead, it’s an egg. When you open up a message in a bottle on the beach, it’s an egg crafting recipe. There is absolutely no way to ignore it.

Animal Crossing has always had seasonal events, but right now New Horizons feels like more of a live service game, and one where I’m being required to grind for resources to get everything you want. Event items have typically required you talk to certain characters and maybe hand over a few bells if needed. Instead, New Horizons’ crafting systems are being broken by this event template – which quickly fills up player inventories with half a dozen different egg varieties (let alone the new petal blossom resource, which has unfortunately also turned up at the same time).

Those who just want to get stuck into a standard Animal Crossing April or carry on with developing their island are finding themselves awash with eggs they do not want and unable to find the month’s fresh menagerie of fish and insects. If you’re newer to the game, or not able to play as much and still in its prologue phase, I’ve heard it’s worse. Because those eggs replace the items you would otherwise get from these sources – items like iron ore, which is a major bottleneck earlier on – players are finding it harder to progress.

We are in day three of egg hell but – like all periods of disruption – it will not last forever. Eventually, creepy ol’ Zipper T. Bunny will be back to celebrate Bunny Day, the eggs will disappear and life will return to normal. My concern, however, lies in this event template being the standard for New Horizons’ post-launch schedule going forward. Late April will bring the game’s next big update in preparation for a major event on Earth Day. My hope is the reaction to New Horizons’ first eggxistential crisis informs Nintendo’s plans. There’s no need for six different egg currencies. There’s no need to spread them over every part of the game.

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