Op-Ed: Three Ways to Make Splatoon Better

Splatoon is great, but there are still a few improvements Nintendo could make to it.

By Anthony Pelone. Posted 06/08/2015 07:00 6 Comments     ShareThis

With Splatoon capturing the hearts of Wii U owners everywhere, it’s clear Nintendo’s latest creation has been a resounding success. Splattering arenas and fellow Inklings alike with colorful splotches of ink has players glued to the television for hours on end, and witnessing the various Miiverse memes (typically SpongeBob SquarePants-related) swarming the plaza is a hilarious delight. Sometimes I even stroll up to the sleeping form of Judd the cat referee, my fingers brushing against the screen in a futile attempt to stroke his luscious fur.

Creepy obsessions aside, the core online multiplayer mode could still use some work. Splatoon is so absurdly fun that we can perhaps forgive its relative lack of content, but what supplements the actual online mode is rather bare-bones. Granted, this should be no surprise given Nintendo’s conservative approach to online gaming, but some more options and features could definitely help streamline the game’s online scene. Thankfully, it’s been confirmed Splatoon will be gradually supported with additional content and patches, so I’ve come up with three essential ideas for potential Splatoon patches.

Let Us Switch Weapons!

Splatoon is host to a wonderful array of ink-spewing weapons, be they the fan-favorite Rollers with their innate Kraken abilities, the sniping Splat Charger, and even a modified NES Zapper! Players are still trying to find their own niches and tastes in this new shooter, but what makes it more frustrating than it should is whenever you decide to switch weapons after a match. You can certainly do so in the online lobby, but it’s something of a pain to hop out of a room, go back to the lobby, open up the menu, quickly switch weapons, and then wait again for another room to set up.

It’s all rather annoying, especially with friends or when you’ve found a group well-matched Splatooners. So the solution is simple: patch in an option to switch weapons in-between matches! While matches start up rather quickly, an ideal patch would allow a 30-60 second period for players to switch weapons and outfits.

Stay Fresh! …for the 500th time.

Are the televised Callie and Marie segments incredibly charming and adorable? Yes. Do they grow old, especially since they start up every time you begin the game and you can’t ever skip them? Depends on who you as. They’re certainly useful for revealing the current round of stages, but I can just as easily find out for myself in the online lobby.

While I can tolerate the Squid Sisters just fine, I’m not too fond of how I get booted out of rooms just to hear them announcing the next round of stages. In this case, we just need options for a) whether or not we want to hear them yapping about new developments; and b) implement a non-intrusive announcement that doesn’t halt online matches. Sounds good to me.

Voice Chat, Please

Splatoon’s producers have gone on record explaining why voice chat– a ubiquitous component of online gaming– is absent from the game. The reason? One all too familiar to Nintendo fans: to avoid hurtful comments and keep the online scene G-rated. While there’s no denying the barrage of insults and swears that pervade voice chat sessions, that’s no reason to limit options for the player. Nintendo may slowly be catching up with its online infrastructure, but omissions such as this only prove how embarrassingly out-of-touch its direction can be.

I enjoy Splatoon to the extent where I don’t mind losing at all, but I can recall numerous instances where voice chat could’ve benefited my teams greatly. Pressing the “C’mon!” text command simply doesn’t cut it, and in a game focusing on team coordination, more advanced communications are vital. I can understand the producers’ goal of bringing in new audiences, but if they’re so scared of losing them, why not just initially set the voice chat option to off?

Those who defend Nintendo’s decision have suggested foreign languages could throw a monkey wrench into the potential voice chat feature. I can’t imagine that hasn’t already been present in hundreds of other online titles, but while I’d suggest regional matchmaking features, it seems custom matchmaking is in the works for DLC! A shame it won’t arrive until August, though.

So those are my three main suggestions for patches to implement. As it stands, Splatoon is an incredibly innovative, appealing IP that always keeps me coming back for more, but some extra steps and updates in the right direction can render it a true online multiplayer masterpiece. Whether or not Nintendo will address these concerns as per beefing up the matchmaking remains to be seen, but until then, I shall continue staring at Judd’s snoring majesty.

6 Responses to “Op-Ed: Three Ways to Make Splatoon Better”

  • 1379 points
    xeacons says...

    Sufferage for Inklings! Mario Kart allows players to vote on a track before online race begins. The same option should be available for Splatoon arenas, rather than randomly picking between two (count ’em 2) options.

  • 819 points
    Toadlord says...

    I think the first two actually have a really good shot at happening. The weapons things is something I definitely wish was present from the get-go. Especially when I find a group in ranked that I want to continue playing with.

  • 1558 points
    penduin says...

    Between-match equipment switching would be superb, and an option to turn the announcements into a bottom-of-the-screen crawl or something would be cool.

    But voice chat… For friend matches, maybe I can understand the request. For general gameplay, no way. If I want to hear teenagers screaming, oh wait, there’s no way to finish that sentence. Nobody ever wants to hear teenagers, ever, at all. Felt that way even when I was one. :^)

    • 1379 points
      xeacons says...

      Yeah, I’m on the fence about voice chat. Also, keep in mind, we’re playing worldwide, so having japanese players trading strategy doesn’t help english speaking players. Which reminds me: we need regional!

      • 81 points
        Anthony Pelone says...

        I actually mentioned this in the article, but since they’re including more matchmaking options in August (one of which could potentially be regional) I figured I should focus on more pressing issues.

  • 459 points
    Drew Ciccotelli says...

    We don’t need voice chat, it never works like we all dream it should. It has been proven over and over again that when you give dummies a voice in competitive video games they become snarling little racist, anti Semitic, homophobic mongrels. If you want strategy hook up you phone so you can talk to one another though a more secure and friendly channel. Let the voice chat issue die and don’t let it downplay the game’s significance and value.

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