In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there are hundreds of villagers that you can invite to your island, to create the close-knit community you've always wanted. You really can pick your neighbors. Here's how to get all the villagers you want in New Horizons.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons - How to Get the Villagers You Want
You can eventually build a community of up to 9 villagers on your island in New Horizons (10, including you), but you can't start it up right away. After all, at the beginning of the game, your island is basically a sandy rock in the middle of nowhere. In real estate terms, it's a real fixer-upper. You have to make it a place where other people would want to live.
To unlock the ability to invite villagers to your island, you first have to build your museum. Give Tom Nook five bugs or fish, then get Blathers on the scene and gather 15 more potential exhibits for him. Wait a couple of days, and you'll have a Museum to fill with all your discoveries.
Next, upgrade Nook's Cranny. You'll need 5,000 Nook Miles and 30 wood, hardwood, softwood, and iron nuggets to get Timmy and Tommy's shop to its final form. Pick a place for it on your island, and it'll be open for business the next day.
This spurs Tom Nook to turn Resident Services into a permanent building, rather than a tent, complete with Isabelle showing up as his support staff. Nook will also give you the DIY recipe for building a Campsite, which takes a day to complete, and ask you to build one, as part of his ultimate plan to hold a K.K. Slider concert.
Once the Campsite is operational, a random villager will visit the island every day, which Isabelle will mention in her morning announcements. You can talk to the villager in the Campsite's tent to play card games with them, and can get random pieces of clothing or furniture if you win.
If you speak to a villager three times, they'll eventually ask you to build them a specific item as a souvenir. Whatever that item is, if you don't already have the DIY Recipe for it, they'll give it to you. Keep talking to them after you provide the requested item, and eventually you can encourage them to become a permanent resident of the island. You can also discourage them entirely, so eventually they'll leave and a new random villager will take their place.
You can also recruit new villagers by heading out to Mystery Islands. There's usually a villager there--and again, they're randomly selected--who you can entice to visit your island by speaking to them twice.
The problem here, which you may have already spotted, is that both of these methods get you a random character every time, out of a base pool of just under 400 possible villagers. If you're looking for a specific buddy to be your new neighbor, or even a particular type of villager (maybe you want all bears or something, maybe that's your theme, it's totally up to you), it could be in-game years before you run into them, even if they aren't one of the rare ones. It's just down to the luck of the draw.
At time of writing, the only way to get a specific villager as a guaranteed appearance in New Horizons appears to be through scanning an amiibo, which you can do via the Nook Stop in Residential Services. Any character you invite into the game via amiibo will automatically be the next villager who arrives at your Campsite, ready to hear your island-life sales pitch.
You can't use this method to recruit villagers who already have a big role in New Horizons, however, such as Isabelle. Besides, they're kind of like your neighbors already.
When you first unlock the ability to invite villagers to your island, you'll be able to set up space for up to three additional villagers to live there besides you. Your overall capacity will increase over time, until you can have a total of 9 other villagers living on your island with you.
For each villager you invite, you'll need to pay Tom Nook 10,000 Bells for a plot of land where they can live. You get 1,000 Nook Miles as a reward for every villager who moves to the island, so even if you plan to be a hermit, it's a useful exchange.
If you end up with a permanent resident that you don't like, or you want to make space on your island for somebody else to move in, you can gradually make a resident feel unwelcome by complaining about them every day to Isabelle. You can also do things like avoid talking to them or hit them with your bug net, and eventually, they'll pick up and leave. As far as anyone can tell, this is a one-way trip; once you've harrassed a villager into leaving your island, they'll never return.
We've been living that Animal Crossing island life for a while now, and have a lot to say about it. Check out our game hub for more tips, tricks, and guides, including:
- How to keep track of your Fossil collection without constantly having to visit the Museum
- Did Redd sell you a forged piece of art? Here's how to ditch it
- How to unlock all the DIY Recipes for golden tools
What kind of community are you looking to build in Animal Crossing: New Horizons? Are you thinking a cozy isolated artists' colony, or maybe a Hawaii-style vacation retreat? I've actually seen a couple of horror-style Gothic basements that, while creepy, were actually pretty cool. Share your unreal-estate aspirations with us via our official Twitter, @PrimaGames.