Official 4K footage of Animal Crossing: New Horizons confuses fans again

Last March an official image of Animal Crossing: New Horizons sparked all sorts of speculation due to its resolution. It was an image from the official Animal Crossing account where Canela reminded us that we already had Shamrock Day items available in the game. It turned out that the screenshot was extremely high resolution.

The screenshots Nintendo releases are normally 1080p and that particular one appeared to be in “4K”. As you can imagine, many fans wondered why this image looked so good and suspected that it was a computer-created image and not captured on Nintendo Switch.

Well, once again a series of images of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, posted on Twitter by Nintendo, could reaffirm rumours that a Switch Pro release is just around the corner. This is for the simple reason that the screenshots have been shared, again, in 4K (a resolution that the current Switch is incapable of).

These are the details that have been shared:

  • Animal Crossing screenshots, first examined by Animal Crossing World, measure a whopping 5760 x 3240 when the current Switch maxes out at 1080p. Nintendo has apparently been releasing screenshots of Animal Crossing at the higher resolution since early 2021, and via the game’s Twitter accounts in Japan, the UK and North America.
  • Alternative explanations for the new hardware could be that Nintendo’s marketing is upsampling for sharper screens, and/or that the images are coming from development platforms that aren’t limited by the Switch’s processors.
  • Aside from 4K, enabled by a new Nvidia chip, other rumoured upgrades for the Switch Pro include a 7-inch, 720p Samsung OLED display. OLED is superior to LCD mainly because of its higher contrast: individual pixels can be turned off completely, whereas the best LCDs can do is turn off parts of their backlight. 7 inches is also a larger size than the 6.2 or 5.5 inches present in the Switch and Switch Lite.
  • A Switch Pro might be needed to compete against PS5 and Xbox X/S Series, but the new console is generally expected to support 4K when docked, although a recent rumour suggests it could be limited to 1440p.

At the moment Nintendo doesn’t seem set to announce a Switch Pro during E3 2021, however, it’s possible or even likely that some sort of news will come in the coming months, especially if Nintendo is targeting holiday 2021 or spring 2022.