Note that the spade used is very tiny, and is a completely separate model from Villager's down smash, which is the same shovel model used in the AC games.
Obviously Sakurai & the rest of the Smash Bros developers speak with developers of the various games included. For instance, Sakurai mentioned in his initial video that the developers of Wii Fit requested the Trainer's face be re-done for Smash Ultimate. And Simon's reveal trailer showed Luigi using the plunger poltergeist grab before Luigi's Mansion 3 was even announced, and the plunger item wasn't revealed until a few months after the announcement, so he's definitely privy to upcoming info before the general public.
Villager's moveset also has a small wood chip occasionally fall out of the tree after it's chopped, and this can be picked up and used against opponents. The wood chip itself hasn't appeared in an AC title until New Horizons, where it's achieved the same way, by chopping trees.
This makes me think that the concept of wood chips / crafting / etc. was considered for the eventual AC: Wii U that never saw the light of day and mentioned to Sakurai. If so, I'm wondering if they also mentioned the spade item, too? I can't imagine the Smash team would've wanted to design an entirely new model when they clearly already had the shovel in the same game. Perhaps we'll end up seeing a spade in New Horizons when planting saplings (& maybe flowers?)
Maybe I'm wrong, but it's definitely interesting to think about.
this is a good post and I don't really have much to comment on directly, but I very much hope we get a bowling ball as a furniture item. that move being smash original always bugged me bc I'm sure there are other heavy items that villager could've dropped instead of a bowling ball
Visit my dream towns!
Angie from Maplerow, Ranae from Wayfield and Olive from Yorkwood
^This. From what we've seen, there's no tool belt. Yet. Still. After all these years, where other games already made one for key items. And zero organization for items in the pocket, which Pokemon has had from near the beginning.
This was one thing I was begging for. But perhaps we still have time.
~Grand winner of Push the Button  in Forum Games with 2113 points!~
I'm fine with tools taking up space in the inventory when there's no reason to carry around more than six or seven of them, but if there do end up being dramatically more tools with non-concentric purposes then I would rather there be some sort of separate tool belt or something along those lines.