Time flies doesn't it? Just over a year ago Splatoon launched on the Wii U in May of 2015. The game itself became an instant hit and was an incredibly popular addition to the Nintendo family even for a fresh new IP. The game opened the door for many new players at home and overseas, as well as new opportunities for artists and content creators. With the Wii U not doing so well and the "previously named NX" just around the corner the stage was set for something new.
This time, it actually happened. They did it, the absolute madmen. There's a new Splatoon game for the Nintendo Switch.
Overall ImpressionsFirst thing's first, The presentation of the Splatoon section of the reveal trailer was just as exciting as the overall reveal of the Nintendo Switch! In more ways than one it left me optimistic and curious about the direction Nintendo decided to present the game. The reason why I say this is because they decided to go for an eSports theme. Now we know that Splatoon in it's own right is a competitive 3rd person shooter but the game itself lacked certain functions that would have supported an eSports run for the game. This is definitely a nice subtle hint that Nintendo is serious about pushing Splatoon further than before. However, what these "changes" or "additions" are remain to be seen.
Secondly, the Inklings' new look. Seems like Nintendo did in fact listen to some of the criticisms of the customization features from before. This time around the Inklings now sport fresh new hairstyles as well as a new clothing addition: PANTS! One interesting thing to note is that it seems like some of the gear from the previous game will return as well.
Here's where we get to the juicy stuff. Time to see what these small bits and pieces that we've been shown might indicate about the next game.First off, I want to make one thing clear. I do not, by any means, believe this is a port of the Wii U game. Yes the gameplay looks similar but the designs and overall aesthetics are too different for it to be a port. I'm riding the sequel train.
The "eSports" Theme
Now, as I mentioned before we we given a taste as to what the game looks like in the presentation in the form of an eSports like event. As I've already mentioned in this article Splatoon on Wii U lacked specific functions to be able to support an eSport environment. Two things that come to mind are Hardware and Software functions that were not present in the game due to possible limitations of the console. The first example (software) being Spectator functionality. This is a no-brainer, the community has asked for a spectator mode since the august update went live. If this presentation give us any indication that Nintendo is serious about Splatoon being an eSports title, then a spectator mode should be a guarantee.
Another thing to note is something that is more centered around the overall price of the system, which is setup costs for locals. Most people are assuming that the price of the console will be around $250-300 USD however there are certain factors here that could also play a part in expenses for LAN events and local tournaments. The overall cost for set ups may not be as strikingly different than the one's at events like SquidStorm:
(Which can be expensive if you don't have people bringing their own setups, price is also dependent on venue rental, and if you're the only one paying for it, In which case, is insane). Overall Price Range is estimated to be between $3.5K-5K plus venues rental.
Something to also take into account is even though the Switch is Nintendo's newest console, hardware limitations could still happen meaning certain things people are asking for in the next game might not make it through. As much as I would hate to see that happen, it is a realistic expectation, but I personally think we'll be fine. Don't Panic
Control SchemeThe Nintendo Switch is not a Dual screen console, it is single screened. For a game like Splatoon that's a pretty big change. This mean's that there wont be a second screen option to view a map. However this also means that some previous in-game functions might either be completely altered of removed entirely. I'm talking about Super jumping to players, beacons, and spawn, where to send an inkstrike, and other things like how much ink is placed on the map in real time. Another thing that is somewhat questionable is whether or not motion controls will be back given the different control schemes involved. It would be likely that they'd return if the "gamepad" like scheme was the only scheme but it probably isn't so it is possible that this new game will have true 1:1 analog control. But again, if the tablet has gyro functionality then we could see otherwise.
What remains to be seen is how different will the overall controls be in comparison to the first game since the impression given here is that it will be more analog focused and how the button layout will differ from the previous console as well. It's a mystery... for now.
As I previously mentioned, it seems as though we are going to be getting new customization options in the form of hairstyles, PANTS! , and new weapons based on the (obviousness of this assumption) redesigns of 3 primary weapons (Splattershot, Roller, and Splat Charger). the addition of new clothing options implies that we might be getting a 4th gear set. This New possible gear set would add to the already existing three sets of gear being headgear, clothing, and shoes.
Now you all know this, but each set of gear has a maximum of three ability slots meaning "if" they are adding this as a new set of gear we would be able to use 16 slots of abilities including 4 primary abilities, new brands, and new abilities, which is definitely a game changer. As I previously mentioned before it seems like gear from the first game will also make a return as well along with the new set of gear too. Interestingly enough, one thing that strikes me odd is that not every inkling is wearing unique sets of pants. To me this seems more of a cosmetic change rather than an actual gear change, but it could also mean that you can now toggle certain gear to be off instead of having all sets on your character. If that were the case that might mean that the normal "Under Armour" like clothing could be a new default gear set that might have no abilities attached to it until you place gear on.
Straw grasping aside I think the gear system is in for an overhaul
I know this is just a preview video and this is likely to change, but I noticed some small visual and overall aesthetic changes/improvements that we could see in the next game. The spawn animations were the first things I noticed. Now when a whole team spawns it seems that depending on the weapon you have your body will position itself in a different pose. I also noticed that the overall spawn platform design looks different as well sporting a black/green color scheme to it (the inklings were green so that's why it's that color too). Now the map that was shown gave me an urchin underpass impression but it also seemed to be much more open and larger compared to some maps we have. It's not a guarantee that the map will stay the same when the game launches, but it is a cool little change.
The newest look at the next Splatoon game has given players hopeful thoughts and has created a general optimistic feeling about the future of the franchise. Fan's prayers are being answered in the form of new gear and customization options, and possible even more than that like spectator mode (Seriously though this needs to happen)
But, I am very optimistic that this new game, sequel, port, or whatever will be a nice step in the right direction. We're counting on you Nintendo. Do us proud!
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The Next Chapter: Splatoon on the Nintendo Switch: First Impressions and Analysis