There is something powerful about a cryptic collaboration between two brands or IPs. In this case, the forces of FOMO (fear of missing out) took root once Animal Crossing x Build-a-Bear was first revealed and fan hype was at an all-time high.
When left to just your imagination, the hype is justified. Animal Crossing has over 390 unique animal villagers and the player-controlled villagers themselves are always sporting new looks and accessories. Many fans expected a "Build-a-Bear" experience of creating a customized plushie set in the style of Animal Crossing.
There was even a rumored list of characters circulating among social media, adding more anticipation to what the mysterious reveal could be.
Oh... it's just you two.
However, the actual reveal was an Isabelle and Tom Nook plushie. While in hindsight this character choice isn't so surprising, the vanilla nature of the reveal felt at odds with the collaboration's exclusive feel.
Many questioned the decision to create waitlists and roulette-style admission (typically reserved for limited-run products) when both of these plushies will be available in all retail Build-A-Bear locations this Summer.
Naturally, the community online began to sound off:
Still sold out.
Despite the disappointment, the allure of premium Animal Crossing merch is a powerful thing. Almost immediately, Isabelle and Tom Nook were no longer available and only the luckiest of line-waiters were able to snag them first.
Could Nintendo have done something more creative with this collection? Absolutely. Considering most of the "end-game" of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about collecting your favorite residents while creating an island that reflects a player's personal style and taste, the crossover could have at least allowed a moderate level of Build-A-Bear customization to the plushies outfits.
Instead, Nintendo released two cute plushies of the game's most iconic NPC's. Not a bad release, considering how fast they sold out, but not nearly as internet-breaking as it could have been.
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