New Horizons was delayed, from its original September 2019 release, so players are desperate to get their hands on the game as early as possible.
Will Animal Crossing: New Horizons offer early access? Or will there be an early release? Here's what we know.
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Early Access & Early Release
Animal Crossing: New Horizons was intended to release in September of last year, but was pushed back until March 2020 to avoid the dreaded 'crunch'.
The news would have no doubt left fans of the series disappointed, but understanding of the situation - hopefully, the decision will pay off and be worth the six months wait.
Unfortunately, there is no early access or early release. Despite the Switch themed console releasing one week before, it will not come with a copy of the game.
The earliest you can play the game is at launch. If you want to play it as soon as possible you should get it on the Nintendo eShop and pre-load it.
If you are able to get a copy of the game early, you should be able to jump on the game right away as it won't need online functionality to be playable.
The digital version of the game is now available for pre-loading.
This means that you can download and install the game right now so that you're ready to play the game once it goes live.
The game is roughly 6.2GB in size and the game will unlock at midnight.
Release day update v1.1.0 has been made available early.
The pre-order terms on the Nintendo eShop confirm that you won't be able to back up your save data with Nintendo Switch Online at launch, but you can "recover Animal Crossing: New Horizons save data from the server in the event of console failure, loss or theft will be available to Nintendo Switch Online members sometime in the future."