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YouTube gaming channel GameXplain has put together a video exploring and analyzing the graphics of upcoming game Animal Crossing: New Horizons.



The over-14-minute-long video done by GameXplain member “brainchild” is titled “A Generational Leap! Animal Crossing: New Horizons Early Graphics Tech Analysis (Reveal Trailer)” and dives into the game’s E3 2019 trailer, looking at “lighting, hair, wind and water effects, environmental details, and more!”

For those without the time to watch the full video, user “LuigiV” over at gaming forum Resetera has compiled some bullets:


  • Shadow casting on every on screen object, big and small.
  • Normal mapped footstep and water ripple decals to keep shadows consistent.
  • Rayleigh scattering simulated for more realistic sky color in combination with dynamic time of day and weather systems.
  • Mie scattering simulated for more believable atmosphere and to make the world look a little bit larger than it actually is.
  • Real time anisotropic highlights applied to hair (a fairly rare technique that’s usually quite expensive on more realistically modeled hair); even features primary and secondary highlights (watch the video if this point makes no sense).
  • Great PBR materials though not always entirely accurate (artistic intent trumps realism).
  • Nice restrained use of [depth of field] blur.
  • Ambient occlusion is fully present but no global illumination, baked or otherwise.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons is set to launch worldwide on March 20th, 2020.

Hungry for more details? Be sure to check out our complete guide to everything we know so far about Animal Crossing: New Horizons!

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Written by Daniel Dell-Cornejo

Daniel is an editor at Nintendo Wire. Always with his head in the clouds, he is never apart from his creative thoughts – a blessing for an aspiring fiction writer. As a journalist and lifelong gamer, he aims to provide readers with the very best in Nintendo coverage.