It’s all about having a positive experience online.
Splatoon is a gorgeous, fresh, innovative new IP from Nintendo, in a genre that they usually don’t much dabble in- it’s a shooter game by Nintendo, with a unique twist on it, and it promises some frenetic fast paced, squad based action from the players.
Unfortunately, the game also has one rather crippling flaw- it does not support any form of voice chat whatsoever. Unlike Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, or Mario Kart 8, which supported voice chat in private lobbies, Splatoon has absolutely none whatsoever. A rather curious oversight for a team based shooter, don’t you think?
Speaking to EDGE, the director explained his reasoning behind the omission. “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.”
I can understand where he is coming from, because I have had multiple unpleasant experiences online myself, but that is why you offer options- if players don’t like what they are hearing, they can mute the chat. if parents don’t want their kids voice chatting online, they can lock it behind parental controls. But allowing for chat in at least private lobbies just seems to be a no brainer to me.
That said, it is of course entirely possible that the game is great in spite of this (especially given its dual screen design, where the Gamepad always tells you the lay of the land, and lets you coordinate your movements). Multiple other big name shooters, such as Destiny, lacked voice chat options, and they did just fine. We will have to wait and see if Splatoon turns out that way.
Splatoon launches exclusively on Wii U in May. We will keep you posted.