In Splatoon, the upcoming Wii U exclusive from Nintendo, players control characters called ‘Inklings’ that are able to shoot colorful ink across the game’s world. In single player, players must defeat an octopus army and in multiplayer the aim of the game is to decorate more of the world with their color of ink than the enemy team. Players can use their ink to increase movement speed or climb up walls and they can also turn into a squid and swim through it.
Although Splatoon is a family friendly third-person shooter, there are some serious tactical elements to the game. In the game’s online multiplayer, players are able to use the Wii U GamePad to look at the map and catapult themselves towards another teammate while also using different outfits to buff their character’s stats. The game even features a large range of weapons (including sniper rifles, giant paint rollers, shields and ink tornado launchers) that will have to be used effectively if players want to win.
It seems unusual, then, that Splatoon will arrive without voice chat, which presumably would help players work together. However, in an interview with Edge, Splatoon‘s co-director Yusuke Amano reveals that there is no voice chat due to his own, toxic experiences with online multiplayer.
“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. I don’t want you to misunderstand—I’m not denying having chat in an online game does contribute to fun. But, as we’ve said, we want to grab new people.”
Some Splatoon fans disagree with Amano’s opinion and claim that the team is robbing fans of an important feature. While it’s certainly true that some players do spout abuse via voice chat, other players use it effectively – calling out enemy positions, telling players when to run for cover, or just shouting out words of encouragement. These fans also argue that if Nintendo wants Splatoon to be the family friendly answer to games like Ghost Recon, Mass Effect and Grand Theft Auto (which all have strategic gameplay to some degree) then voice chat is absolutely necessary.
On the other hand, some wholeheartedly agree with Amano. By removing voice chat, they say that there is no risk of exposing children to profane language and abuse, and that they’ll be able to enjoy the game on their own terms. They also say that those teams who do want to use voice chat can go for a third-party option like Skype.
Some gamers suggest that Nintendo should make a compromise for those on both sides of the fence, but so far voice chat is out. Perhaps Nintendo could put more filters in place or even turn voice chat off by default and make it an opt-in feature.
Do you think Nintendo has made the right decision in leaving voice chat out? Do you think voice chat is an important part of shooters?
Splatoon will be released on Wii U on May 29, 2015.