The latest update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons comes down on a popular hack where players forced regular trees to bear things other than fruit, such as fossils or, most prominently, star fragments.
The move comes on the heels of a highly controversial moment within the Animal Crossing fandom, where players were sharing “Dream Addresses” with each other, allowing fans to visit a saved version of their island. Notably, visitors would report players sporting islands with star tree fragments to Nintendo for cheating, a move that resulted in dream island takedowns, or, at times, a temporary revoking of online connectivity. Some claimed that they were harassed or bullied over having star trees by viewers of YouTubers who made a game out of reporting hacked islands as well.
The reporting phenomenon upset segments of the community, as the hack was seen as merely cosmetic. Players who hacked their games knew they were bending the rules, but since Animal Crossing isn’t competitive, many felt that it was unfair for their games to be restricted by Nintendo. That said, some made a business out of disseminating star trees for real money, since most people can’t acquire them without running a modded version of the game.
According to those impacted, former star trees are now regular money trees. While this move is surprisingly aggressive from Nintendo, who has allowed similar hacks within previous games, like Animal Crossing: New Leaf, it should at least stop people from fighting over reported islands.
The patch also addresses a couple of other things, per Nintendo’s notes:
Fixed an issue where shining soil disappears after returning to your own island after a dream and buried Bells appear in that location instead.
Fixed an issue where the player swings their shovel through the air when attempting to hit a rock placed at a certain location.