Nintendo today confirmed in emails to outlets in Australia and New Zealand that it will not provide Animal Crossing New Horizons review code until the launch of the game itself on 20 March. After Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Rescue Team DX and Pokemon Sword and Shield, this marks the third occasion Nintendo has elected to limit local first-party code since November 2019.
The email didn’t specify why review code is being held back in Australia and New Zealand until launch, nor does it mention that Animal Crossing New Horizons review code is being distributed to other regions ahead of a confirmed 1.00 am AEDT review embargo on 17 March.
When asked for comment on the situation, a Nintendo Australia and New Zealand representative told Stevivor that “titles are reviewed on a case by case basis, and on this occasion review codes for Animal Crossing: New Horizons are only available in Australia on launch.”
The represenative continued to say they “can’t comment on other regions” and access to review code. Multiple requests to speak with representatives from other regions have not been returned.
While local sources believe that the limiting of review code is in response to a Pokemon Sword and Shield leak that was traced back to Portuguese outlet FNintendo, it’s unclear why Australia and New Zealand are being targeted in this instance. Nintendo confirmed it had cut ties with FNintendo over the leak, asserting it will “will always protect its intellectual property and brands.”
“Leaks hurt not just Nintendo, but the thousands of employees who work hard to bring games to market, and the millions of fans around the world who look forward to news and surprises,” Nintendo’s statement on the leak continued.
Animal Crossing New Horizons heads to Switch on 20 March.