Rather than start players off by moving them into a tiny house in a small town, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is going to buck the series trend by plopping us down with a tent and little else on a deserted island. Thankfully, Nintendo and predatory lender Tom Nook aren't making us go it alone: New Horizons will feature the largest roster of villagers at launch of any Animal Crossing game to date.
Word of New Horizons' villager count comes straight from the official Animal Crossing Twitter account, which has been trickling out in-character tidbits as Tom Nook following yesterday's Nintendo Direct presentation. The latest tweet mentions 383 customers for Nook's Deserted Island Getaway Package, indicating that New Horizons will outdo Animal Crossing: New Leaf's 333 villager roster at launch.
Nintendo later bumped that number for New Leaf up to 399 with the release of the free "Welcome amiibo" update in 2016. According to the fan-run Nookipedia, 472 villagers have been introduced over the course of the Animal Crossing series, with just over 100 of those characters appearing in each mainline game.
New Horizons' line-up of new and familiar faces isn't limited to villagers, of course: the recent Nintendo Direct presentation gave us our first look at Isabelle's new private sector job with Tom Nook and confirmed that many of the series' beloved shopkeepers, traveling salespeople, and other side characters will make their way to players' islands one way or another (even if it means washing ashore in a daze like poor Gulliver).
The number of villagers who can live in a single town has fluctuated over the course of the series, and Nintendo still hasn't confirmed how many NPC neighbors players can have on their islands. We do know that up to eight players accounts can share an island on a single Switch, with the drawback being that each Switch can only have one island at a time.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Switch will introduce players to their new island homes on March 20, 2020—the same day that Isabelle's new best friend Doomguy resumes his righteous ripping and tearing.