Up until now, the worst you could expect after an ill-advised purchase from Redd the art dealer in Animal Crossing was a dubious fake that Blabbers’ museum would refuse to take off your hands. New Horizons is seriously upping the stakes, however, with art work that’s not just fake but haunted in some cases – morphing unsettlingly as the sun goes down, and possessed by the blinking, grinning, and shifting spectres of the damned.
Well, okay, that’s probably a little overdramatic, but there’s definitely something up with the paintings in New Horizons, as some unsuspecting Animal Crossing players are starting to report. And although the cataloguing of this haunted art is only just getting underway, the general theme appears to be that all afflicted items are forgeries, and that all undergo some form of transformation as the day goes on, reverting back to normal in the morning.
Certain fake versions of Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, for example, will suddenly snap their eyes shut at dusk, and Tōshūsai Sharaku’s The actor Otani Oniji III as Yakko Edobei adopts an unsettling grin. The haunted version of Hishikawa Moronobu’s Beauty Looking Back, meanwhile, will turn to face in the opposite direction as night falls – and worse, examining the painting rear reveals a woozy stain of the figure seeping through.