Splatoon is shaping up to be the biggest Wii U release of the summer — but in the UK, its launch looks set to be impacted by a robbery that took place earlier this week. Reports are circulating that the lorry carrying stock from Nintendo’s European warehouse has been stolen, effectively cancelling the pre-orders of many consumers.
Word of the heist broke via an email circulated by GAME UK. In it, customers who pre-ordered the limited edition of Splatoon are informed that the shipment has been stolen, and as such their order won’t be delivered to them on the game’s anticipated European release date of May 29.
Customers are being offered the standard version of the game at a reduced price, but they’re still going to miss out on the Squid Inkling Amiibo that’s bundled in with the limited edition. Given the enormous popularity of the collectibles in recent months, it’s easy to see why some fans are frustrated with this outcome.
However, there’s really not much that any of the companies involved could do to rectify matters. It seems that the truck that was carrying the shipment was itself stolen, which makes any recovery of the missing stock highly unlikely. Video game reseller CEX has even delisted the limited edition from its site to prevent illegal trade-ins.
It remains to be seen whether the theft will have any palpable impact on the game’s popularity. One of its major selling points is online multiplayer, but its implementation ahead of release has been criticized as being rather primitive. The limited edition now being in short supply is further bad PR for the title.
That’s a shame, as critical response to Splatoon has been quite positive. Fans are always lobbying for Nintendo to create new gameplay experiences with fresh IPs, and this seems like a game with the potential to start a brand new franchise. That said, if fans don’t take to it, that’s very unlikely to happen.
Splatoon has been a huge focus for Nintendo over recent months, and is expected to do much of the heavy lifting for the console as it tries to build up some momentum over the summer. While little could have been done to prevent this situation arising, it’s yet another piece of bad news for a game under lots of pressure to deliver.
Splatoon is set to release on May 29 in the United States and Europe, exclusively for the Wii U.