Between the upcoming massive free update and the paid Happy Home Paradise downloadable content, Nintendo announced a whole lot of stuff for Animal Crossing: New Horizons last Friday. But none of those announcements, even the return of the fabled froggy chair, are as important as our new friend Wardell the Manatee.
Decked out in what looks to be the official outfit of the Paradise Planning Team, Wardell the Manatee is looking sharp in his island-inspired button-up and his beige khaki plants. Despite the fact that the villager in the DLC trailer is wearing a normal-size hat, for some reason Wardell’s chapeau is relatively small, perched playfully atop his tuft of brown hair.
Anyone can be cute when they’re a prancing monkey with adorably massive eyes, like Wardell’s tiny coworker, Niko. Loving a little monkey is easy and obvious. Loving a massive manatee with beady eyes? That’s the love that comes when you truly appreciate all a person or anthropomorphic animal has to offer.
Wardell is a newcomer to the Animal Crossing series, but fans think he might be the relative of an old friend, Wendell the Walrus. In the original Animal Crossing, Wendell was a traveling artist/merchant who occasionally sold wallpaper to your villager. In Animal Crossing: Wild World Wendell began trading his custom patterns for food. This bartering scheme continued into Animal Crossing: City Folk and New Leaf. Sadly, Wendell is nowhere to be found in New Horizons, but now we’ve got a sea cow who may or may not be a relative to our fine, tusked friend.
What do we know about Wardell? Aside from his occupation as a member of the Paradise Planning Team, we know that Wardell the Manatee makes an excellent subject for Animal Crossing fan art, with dozens of outstanding drawings popping up in the days since his big debut. We know that he is lovable as heck. To quote one of my Twitter mutuals, “Tell me: who is your favorite Animal Crossing character and why is it Wardell?”
We also know, from official Nintendo screenshots, that Wardell is a fan of island drinks, along with the rest of the Paradise Panning Team staff.
While it remains to be seen how Wardell’s personality plays out in-game, we’re assuming he’s a bubbly marine mammal with a heart of gold and that he gives excellent advice and, quite possibly, hugs.
We look forward to standing by our manatee when Wardell joins the Animal Crossing crew as part of the Happy Home Paradise DLC on November 5.