Disney Dreamlight Valley: Can it be the next Animal Crossing?
Animal Crossing is a huge series and in some ways, it is surprising because it’s just so laid back. Not that a laid-back game wouldn’t find an audience there’s certainly an audience for that kind of experience, but Animal Crossing’s runaway success and longevity is more than that (and yes the last release was coincidentally timed with the start of the pandemic but the series has always been one of Nintendo’s biggest mainstays since it’s inception).
And while you have games that are sorta kinda in that same vein (Stardew Valley for example), none quite have the same vibe Animal Crossing does, other games in the same genre tend to be more goal-oriented, arguably have an endpoint, and so on. And again not that Animal Crossing doesn’t have things to do and achieve, but it’s a very “well do it if you feel like it or do something else entirely and ignore all that” attitude that really separates it from the rest of the pack.
This is all well and good but of course, Animal Crossing is only available on Nintendo platforms, what’s to fill the void for those who want that kind of experience, and is it Disney Dreamlight Valley?
To be fair, Disney Dreamlight Valley seems to be straddling the line even tighter to land somewhere in between the more laid-back and more goal-oriented of the genre as there’s definitely a story in place and things to do but also at least before getting any hands-on it seems to have an “approach things in whatever order and whatever pace you feel like” vibe.
Lots of questions still hang in the air, however. Disney Dreamlight Valley will eventually be a free-to-play game when it has a full launch next year but when it launches in early access next week there are basically only two ways to play: either have an Xbox Gamepass membership or buy a “Founder’s Pack” of which there are several tiers that get you in-game currency and various cosmetic items.
Now, while the game is “free-to-play” supposedly the only thing to even spend money on is cosmetic items (though there will be paid expansions down the line). If the in-game activities are compelling enough that might be fine. Though if the most appealing thing about Disney Dreamlight Valley is getting cosmetic items and the only way to really get those in significant amounts is spending real money, that becomes a whole other issue. Like, if farming and cooking and freeing Dreamlight Valley from the curse it’s under isn’t that interesting but getting new clothes and furniture is (and that’s certainly a huge part of Animal Crossing for example), but I have to spend real money to get those things, well that’s kind of broken, and given that it’s Gameloft, that might even be by design.
The other big question surrounding Disney Dreamlight Valley is if the game will actually take advantage of the big personalities of the Disney characters it’s using. Disney has tons of beloved characters and many are clearly going to be making appearances in Disney Dreamlight Valley. But are we going to see any real representation of the character or might they as well be generic NPCs handing out various tasks? I don’t want to run errands for Ursula unless I dunno there’s at least some ill intent behind it or cook with Remy unless he’s being an active participant (though he does not need to pull on my character’s hair). If you have the license to use all these wonderful memorable characters but put no effort into it that’s such a waste and will really kill long-term interest in the game.
So, with less than a week til the early access launch, a lot of questions still hang in the air about Disney Dreamlight Valley. Some will certainly be answered not long after launch, some might not be answered til the game sees a full release next year. I’ll be sure to be giving early impressions, more long-term thoughts, and thoughts on big updates, the full release, and expansions as they happen. Hopefully, Disney Dreamlight Valley will be a game well with spending a few hours a week hanging with some Disney friends, we’ll find out soon enough.
That’s all for today, next week is not only the release of Disney Dreamlight Valley but next weekend is D23, the E3 of all things Disney (including a big panel just for games) so definitely expect multiple posts next week. See ya real soon!