Today I’d like to rewind the clock a few years to the glorious time before micro transactions grabbed the gaming market by stranglehold. You know, the Witcher 3 days. The days before CD Projekt Red tarnished its reputation by plaguing the world with Cyberpunk 2077.
Can you hear that?
Wind’s howling: Animal Crossing Edition!
(There’s probably a balloon to pop somewhere.)
It’s safe to say we’ll crown The Witcher as one of the ultimate fantasy franchises born of our generation. There’s always a thick, palpable mystery looming in the murky air of the land. From top to bottom, the strife-laden world proves an immaculate display of eternal discord. Everything from The Conjunction of The Spheres to Yennifer’s wildly unpredictable behavior meshes, sautéed into a plate of nihilistic perfection. Then it’s served in a seedy dining hall at the Blaviken Inn.
Adding humans to the invasive species list was nothing short of poetry.
But here’s what fascinates me most:
The Witcher was the first written franchise to build momentum in the realm of gaming. The ultra-high-budget TV adaptation lagged a few years behind. That’s huge. Traditionally speaking, game adaptations have been…
CD Projekt Red paved an uncharted path. They worked around heavy world development hurdles – Incorporating every last drop of inspiration drawn from a delightful cesspool of Polish, Slavic, Celtic, Greek, Norse, Persian, and Germanic mythology.
Even with the natural progression of technology, The Witcher 3 still reigns freely through the charts of best open-world games.
The Witcher’s rich lore submerges gamers into a playground of an enchantingly macabre medieval fantasy. It’s only natural that it swarmed the ACNH community like a hoard of Arachas.
Gulliver has crash-landed on the shores of ACNH with fierce tales from the faraway island of Skellige. It’s time to whip out our old Gwent decks. Listen, you clicked the link. It’s time to claim your Law of Surprise.
Here are the three best Witcher-themed islands in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!
Welcome to Novigrad!
My biggest takeaway from this island tour was the ever-lurking sensation of danger. Evidence of Noonwraiths and ferocious Nilfgaardian armies loomed around every corner, spilling carnage in their wake.
Drowners infested the precarious land of Crookback Bog. I spotted a wagon drenched in the aftermath of a Griffon attack. I’m barely scratching the surface here. My island expedition was often outright chilling!
Loose bells sat outside the fisherman’s wharf, yearning to catch the eye of a desperate wandering Witcher.
The resident houses reenact scenes from: The Rosemary and Thyme, Passiflora, The Golden Sturgeon, and the innards of Kaer Morhen.
Also, call it dumb luck, but I encountered Ciri on the training grounds of Kaer Mohren within five minutes. Easy win. Take that, Geralt!
Visiting the island of Salem was an endearing treat. This dream address was so true-to-form that my hands almost reflexively locked Tom Nook into a spell of Yrden. Not that the capitalistic rascal tanuki wouldn’t deserve such a fate.
The windy atmosphere and dense forest left an eerie ambiance that I’d never dreamt possible in an Animal Crossing game. The roads were lined and littered with scandalous wanted posters.
Clever use of forced perspective on the beachside added an immersive level of depth bound to feel homely to any Witcher fanatic, especially those who’ve cleared the Blood and Wine expansion.
Every rock on the island encircled a dreaded monolith! Can you imagine how long that must’ve taken?
Seriously, Darian was so devoted that even her villager homes were thematic. Geralt adorned himself in a Sword in Scabbard purchased from Kick’s. I savored every second spent on this masterpiece.
Yeah, you heard me right. Darian and I are on a first-name basis. Ha! That’s because I landed an interview with her. Fire up that drum roll, please!
Q: What inspired you to bring The Witcher to the shores of Animal Crossing?
A: “The Witcher 3 is one of my all-time favorites! So is Animal Crossing. I just figured I’d combine the two. I loved coming up with the areas inspired by locations you can explore in a Witcher game, including its DLC.”
Q: What monster encounter sits most vividly in your memory?
A: “Easily the battle with Dettlaff at the end of Blood and Wine. It sticks out for two reasons. First, it’s incredibly challenging! But it’s also this pivotal point in the DLC that’s the culmination of choices you’ve made. You’ve spent all this time getting to know him as a character and realizing his motivations. I felt bad for the guy. Having to kill him at the end was completely gut-wrenching. For that reason, I HAD to include his toy shop on my island!”
Q: If you had to live somewhere in the Witcher universe, where would you settle?
A: “Toussaint, hands down! It’s the closest you can get to a fairytale land in the Witcher universe. It’s bright and so full of life… especially compared to the other places you explore.”
Q: If Isabelle lets you have one friend from The Witcher be your neighbor, who would you pick as your lifelong bestie?
A: “Oh, that’s easy. I’d pick Regis in a heartbeat. I feel like everyone needs to have a friend like him in their corner.”
Q: Are there any other fantasy realms you might port over to ACNH in the future?
A: “I would love to do an elvish-inspired island from Dragon Age! I think that would be pretty neat. I’m astounded by the lore and architecture. It would be an awesome challenge, I think!”
They say the devil lies in the details.
The island of Andromeda features some hilariously clever references. Some well-positioned terraforming rooted a Mario pipe completely underground, transforming it into a fast travel station by a signpost! I also spotted our valiant steed Roach stuck on a rooftop.
If you’re team Triss, you’ll be pleased to see her poke her head out on this island.
There’s literal bucket loads of content here to add to your inspiration board: A rescue mannequin refashioned into a corpse for villagers to dance around? Brilliant!
The towering walls of Novigrad are a stunning display of grand Redanian architecture. Traversing the abandoned bandit camp felt sublime.
Beware! If you travel here, keep a watchful eye out for Aretuza, as well as the Church of Eternal Fire. Skeletal remains lie dormant in the streets, a harbinger of progress, I suppose. I decided to look the other way.
I mean, can you believe the sheer audacity of Luna? Telling me I was “Dreaming peacefully of an Island named Andromeda.” Yeah. She’s a baku, for sure.
Still, it wasn’t quite as frightful as my voyages to Nightmare Before Christmas Dream Addresses.
Visiting the Northern Kingdoms in Animal Crossing jostled some of my fondest gaming memories. Sure, wandering through Zelda-themed dream addresses still scratches that fantasy island itch, but the sensation of dense politics and imminent war added a new layer of euphoria to the experience.
It was like replaying one of the greats at a much less intensive time investment. And while the lovably clunky controls of ACNH felt pretty homely, visiting a Kaedwin populated by Blathers and the Able Sisters was a welcome drop in difficulty curve.
Sometimes I just want to zen out and take a relaxing stroll down memory lane. These dream addresses were treasure troves of medieval wonder, brewed with the finest Dwarven spirits. They were the perfect tonic for my ailment.
If you enjoyed them half as much as I did, be sure to show the creators some love on social. Or, in the not-so-humble words of Jaskier McDandylion…
“Toss a coin to your Witcher!”
Their work required unfathomable dedication. Heck, I get frustrated spending two days moving Nook’s Cranny a block to the left!
I know I played a bit on your nostalgia today, but there lies a remarkable beauty to behold amidst the trials of our generation. It’s the little love notes we continue to pass between cultures of the world. We’re like overly-affectionate pen-pals, soaking up intellectual marvels across the globe and adding our unique little twists. We’re growing together.
It’s the little things, like touring Japanese Alice in Wonderland dream addresses, lurking on the virtual shores of American-made Ghibli-themed islands, or exploring the Pokémon origin story of Delphox.
Then, a Polish saga written by Andrzej Sapkowski extends beyond the Atlantic into American minds – and straight into a Japanese game that prides itself on community and friendship.
What a time to be alive.
Sweet dreams, my fellow villagers! Baku or not, tell Luna I send my warmest regards.