Splatoon is hitting back at the worst part of online gaming

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Splatoon, as mush as it doesn’t look like it, is actually a pretty serious shooter. You’ve got weapon classes for different situations, coupled with the standard player progression system that has kept games like Call of Duty ticking for all these years. It’s just wrapped up in a cute, childish package, which is meant to attract a new audience to the world of online gaming. A world which Nintendo is restricting, so that its true colours aren’t shown.

Despite being a heavily focused online shooter, Splatoon won’t have voice chat. We’ve known that for a while, but it’s been the most confusing piece of the Splatoon puzzle. According to co-director Yusuke Amano, the decision was made fairly early on into development as well. He, and the rest of the Splatoon team, want to make an online game without all the inherent nastiness – so they’re limiting it as much as they can.

“This is coming from personal experience. When I played online games, I didn’t like the negativity I got and people telling me ‘You’re crap. Go away’. So we wanted to focus on the positive aspects of online gaming,”

Anyone who’s ever played an online game (ever) will know that this is the sad reality of it all. Online anonymity brings out the absolute worst in some people, and I’ve also personally stopped playing some games purely because of the toxic community. I do, however, think that it’s an issue that can’t really be avoided, so stripping an important feature from an online game might not be the best way to combat it.

Splatoon is marketed for a younger audience, so it’s commendable that Nintendo want to create a safe, relatively happy environment online for them to play in. But for players who really want to play the game seriously online, having no voice chat puts a massive dent in proceedings. It might have been better to make it an optional setting – and one that was maybe tied to family settings on the console itself.

The rest of the interview didn’t reveal anything new, but Amano did explain that each of the recently revealed Amiibo for the game will have “5 rare piece of gear” embedded into them. So if you want to really bling out your Inkling next month, you’ll need to cough up a little extra.

Last Updated: April 9, 2015

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