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Rocket ACNL Moving In

Rocket moving out in New Leaf

In the Animal Crossing series, villagers will sometimes move out of a town, usually after living there for a while. Triggers for villagers moving out, and options regarding convincing them to stay, have varied throughout the series, although in New Horizons villagers will never leave without the player's permission, and the move-out system can be used to the player's advantage to kick out specific villagers.

In Animal Forest and Animal Crossing[]

In the original versions of the game, villagers often move in and out without warning. If the player uses the train to visit other towns, there is a high chance of one of their villagers moving to the town they visited.

In Wild World and City Folk[]

A villager who has decided to move will suddenly have their belongings packed in boxes, at which point the player may ask them to stay, or a visiting player may invite the villager to move to their town. Sending a letter with a present attached to a villager who is 'in boxes' can sometimes force them to stay.

Specific to Wild World is the 'latency' stage; villagers who are currently between hobbies have the possibility of deciding to move.

In New Leaf[]

Villagers will sometimes reveal in dialogue that they are thinking about moving away, and specify the date they plan to do so. The player may wish them well, or attempt to convince them to stay. Other animals may also sometimes reveal that a villager is thinking about leaving.

Certain villagers, especially those with smug and sisterly personality types, can be tricky to talk to about moving. Sometimes they will accept the player's request to stay, while others will double down on their decision to leave. And while they will usually thank the player for wishing them well on their move, some will occasionally take the lack of concern as a sign that they need to stay and grow closer to the player.

After several days of considering moving, if they have not been asked to stay, they will pack their belongings in boxes, at which point they can no longer be asked to stay. However, a visiting player may invite the villager to move to their town; successfully doing so will result in the villager's door being locked with a message stating they've decided to move to the other player's town. They might also move to the town of a recent visitor, a town the player has recently visited, or the town of someone the player has StreetPassed if that feature is enabled.

Villagers can be visited in their new towns, and they will remember the player. Villagers that have moved away can also sometimes be encountered on Main Street if they are one of the 16 latest villagers to move out, either walking outside or in one of the shops. After a 17th villager moves out, the oldest villager to have moved out will no longer appear in Main Street and has a chance to move in again. However, use of Amiibo via Wisp will ignore this system and can move in any villager, even if they are one of the 16 latest villagers to move out.

In New Horizons[]

Similarly to New Leaf, villagers may reveal their plans to move away through dialogue. If a villager is roaming around with a thought bubble above their head, it could indicate one of many things, including thoughts about moving away. Though this is not always the case, as thought bubbles can also indicate a villager wants to give something to the player or is considering changing their current catchphrase.

Upon confronting the villager, the player will be given the option to convince the villager to stay, or allow them to move away. The day after they have made the decision, they will have their belongings packed up and will not leave their house. Once they have moved, an empty plot of land will replace their house. The empty plot will remain set for a future villager to move in, and can only be relocated after a new house has been built. Also, the exact timeframe for a villager to consider moving out is two weeks after another villager has completely moved in, or one week after another villager considered moving out but was persuaded to stay.

It is also possible for a third party to enter a player's town and claim a villager that is moving out, and vice versa. If a player has an open plot of land on their island, they can talk to a villager that has packed away their belongings on another island. Talking to the villager twice in a row will trigger the option to ask the villager to move to the player's island. After talking to the villager, they will contact Tom Nook and purchase the empty plot of land, and will be seen unpacking their belongings the next day on the player's own island. This is only possible, however, if both players involved have a Nintendo Switch Online Membership, as it is required to connect with other players.

Moving in[]

Pre-New Horizons[]

Animals move in at the beginning of the game, one at a time, or until one of the other neighbors moves out. In Wild World, the town starts out with three neighbors, and five minimum (minimum because it is possible a villager will move out within a few days of beginning the game) will move in. Villagers will move in on top of a random signpost. If an animal is moving in, then they will not leave their house until they have unpacked. The first time the player talks to them, they will introduce themselves and will be very pleased to meet them. The second time the player talks to them, they will tell the player to come back the following day as they are too busy unpacking. Lazy villagers may whine about needing to unpack their pillow for a place to sleep, snooty villagers complain about how their house is such a mess, and normal villagers will feel like they need some time to get settled.

In New Leaf, sometimes villagers from other towns that have been StreetPassed will move into the town. If the player has visited the villager's former hometown and has met the villager beforehand, the villager may recognize the player when talked to the first time. The villager may talk or mention its former hometown and/or sing the former town tune occasionally.

It is somewhat dangerous to let villagers move out in New Leaf, as new villagers may move in and place their houses right on top of flower gardens, designs, or trees and bamboo, resulting in them being destroyed. If a villager moves out, players should take caution as to where their rare flowers are, as to prevent them from being destroyed. However, in the Welcome amiibo update, it is no longer possible for villagers to move on top of designs placed on the ground.

New Horizons[]

New Horizons brings more control to the player when moving in villagers. At the beginning of the game, the player can pick where they want their two starting villagers to live. After some time and some of Tom's Nook's tasks are completed, the player will unlock Nook Miles Tickets. These tickets can bring the player on Island Tours where they may meet other villagers and invite them to move to their island.


After the player has asked three villagers to move in, they will not be able to ask for any more villagers. Tom Nook will call the player and will state that he has some villagers interested in his Deserted Island Getaway Package. When the player talks to him in person, he will state that he needs help setting up the plots of land open for the villagers to move in. He will give the player three housing kits. Each housing kit needs proper furniture placed in and around the plot before the game can progress. After the furnishings are complete, the plots will be sold right away. It is suggested that the player pick their villagers first using mystery island tours if they don't want random villagers filling up these plots. Plot 1 always houses a lazy villager, plot 2 houses a normal, and plot 3 houses a peppy villager.

Only one villager can move in per day.


After all three villagers have moved in, there will later be the option to set up five more plots, each costing 10,000 bells to set up. The player may place these wherever they choose and do not need furnishings like the previous three plots of land. If the plots are sold, Tom Nook will then reward the player with 1,000 nook miles for each plot sold, and only the first time they sell. It is suggested that players find a villager through mystery island tours the day they set the plot if they don't want a random villager.

Only one villager can be asked to move in per day via Island Tours at this stage.

There are currently four ways villagers can move in:

  1. Invitations through mystery island tours. Villagers only appear on tours if you have an open plot unless you are in the prologue of the game.
  2. Inviting a campsite villager. For more information, check out the campsite article.
  3. Have any open plots you have fill in naturally. Tom Nook may sell your open plots to a villager of a personality who is not on your island. The chances of an open plot being sold each day at 5AM the day after the plot was put down increases each day since the first day the plot was laid out, to a near 100% after 4 days have elapsed. If you have obtained a villager from someone else's void (playing with someone who let a villager move out without having them adopted by another player), that villager is guaranteed to fill up that plot on the next day.
  4. Adopting a villager from another player's island when they are "in boxes". Requires an open plot.

Move-outs (New Horizons)[]

The player has the power to force a villager to move if they want to make room for another villager or simply do not like the villager. The player can manipulate the game's mechanics to move out a villager of their choosing, although it will take time without time travelling. Unlike previous games, villagers will never leave without your permission (unless a glitch involving inviting a camper when another villager is in boxes occurs).

From time to time, villagers outside may be in a thinking pose, where a thought bubble will be visible above them. This does not necessarily mean the villager wants to move out, but it is most commonly associated with it. If the villager is thinking about moving and you talk to them, you will be given the option to either prompt them to stay, or allow them to move.

Move out prompt selection implications[]

If you prompt a villager to stay, they will immediately stop thinking about moving, start a cooldown of 5 days where no one can ask to move, and never think about moving at all until the player prompts another villager to stay.

If you prompt a villager to leave, they will start packing up on the next day, and free up their plot on the following day. Other residents will talk about the villager moving out, and Isabelle will mention their last day on the island. During the day the villager is packing up or is "in boxes", they can be adopted by other players as long as they have an open plot. Villagers that are not adopted will be "voided," where they could be potentially picked up randomly by island visitors into their move-in queue. There will also be a 15 day cooldown where no one can ask to move.

Cancelling a move-out[]

Should the player regret telling a villager to leave, they have the rest of the day to login as another island resident and talk to that villager to cancel their move-out. Once they're in boxes, there's no coming back, and they will move out after the island moves past 5AM again. Time-travelling back when a villager is in boxes is completely safe.

Move out triggers and selection process[]

  1. These conditions must be met on any given day:
    1. Have at least 6 villagers
    2. 5 days have passed since the last time you have answered yes or no to a villager move out prompt
    3. 15 days have passed since the last villager moved out (Does NOT include villagers kicked because of campsite)
  2. If the above conditions are met, on the given day, there is a (v * 5) + c percent chance a villager will think of moving out, where v is the amount of animal villagers on your island, and c is the amount of days since you have answered "yes" or "no" to a move-out prompt. If you have 10 villagers, the chances can range from 50% to 80%.
  3. If the dice rolls, a villager will be picked to ask to move out. Only one villager can think about moving out on a given day. This will be in the form of a thought bubble at first, although they may not always have a thought bubble at all times. Thought bubbles do not appear when a villager is inside. This will last the entire day, and acts as a FLAG on that villager - a CONDITION that makes them think about moving out. This flag will end on the next day if the villager was not confronted. This is random, but villagers with higher friendship levels are less likely to be chosen. For example, a villager with favor level 3 (60+ friendship points) is eight times more likely to ask to leave than a villager with maxed friendship. This is based on the average friendship levels across all residents, which means adding more residents reduces this effect, assuming the new player-controlled residents don't build up friendship. The chances of a moveout for a specific villager can be projected using this tool.

EXCLUSIONS: Your most recent villager, the last villager you said no to during a move out thought, a villager with their birthday in the next 7 days, or a villager who was scheduled to move are excluded from asking to move out.

Additional notes and manipulation strategies[]

  • You have to talk to a villager at least once if you want them to move out.
  • As long as a player does not complete the move-out request conversation, the game will not reset the c value nor cause the 5-15 day cooldown. It is suggested that players close the game without saving if they initiate this conversation to prevent this. The only way to know a villager wants to move out is initiating this conversation in the first place.
  • If the target villager was not confronted (move-out conversation never finished) at all during the day, the villager will give up thinking about moving out, and the game will do the entire process again the next day. This method is used to transfer thought bubbles to the desired villager. Remember: the game just checks if you have answered "yes" or "no" to a move out prompt, and nothing else.
  • Thought bubbles can be eliminated by hitting the respective villager with a net. Keep in mind thought bubbles don't necessarily mean a villager is thinking about moving out, and the move-out thought bubble may appear again later in the day.
  • You can force the game to autosave by sending a gift to another player using Nook Shopping.

Move-outs via Campsite[]

  • If an island is full and a non-amiibo campsite visitor chooses to move in, one random villager will be selected to leave.
  • The player will always know what villager the camper will replace and they will be able to approve the decision.
  • What the game picks to move out is completely random, but will exclude villagers in boxes (moving in or out) and villagers who are scheduled to move.
  • When the player approves the decision for a campsite visitor to replace an existing villager, that existing villager will be put into boxes right away and will leave on the next day.
  • To kick out a specific villager using the campsite, the player is to close the game without saving (using the home button) the moment a campsite visitor chooses to kick out an existing villager the player wants to stay. If the player says "no" and doesn't close the game without saving, the camper will only ask to replace that villager onwards.


City Folk[]

New Leaf[]

New Horizons[]