It was a bright, and colourful day in the Eaton Centre until Nintendo’s inklings decided to claim territory. They managed to ink the heart of the mall, the Centre Court Fountain. But they got some help with the aid of Air Magic, a special effects company situated in Toronto, they were able hold down the core of the mall from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Using biodegradable dye in the water made it all possible. Giving the illusion of orange ink, they gave bystanders a first look at Splatoon. Heather Potter, Spokesperson at Nintendo of Canada spoke about the rush she got from the reaction of Torontonians.
“Fans are obviously loving Splatoon, but what I love is the family and kids that are stopping and looking are possibly getting their first experience of Splatoon,” said Potter. “That’s what we were going for.”
Potter expressed in her words what the impact of the game has on the company and what Splatoon has done for the genre.
“Splatoon is an original IP so that’s exciting for us, but it’s also our first foray into the third person shooter realm,” she said. “So it’s bringing that Nintendo flavour to a shooter game. We knew we haven’t gone there, and kids were wanting to play those shooters but what Nintendo does is family-friendly games. So then a light bulb went off and we were like ‘lets do this, let’s give the kids what they want’.”
With Nintendo’s family-friendly competitive racer, Mario Kart 8 launching last year relatively around the same time as their ink based shooter this year, Potter believes Splatoon will have the same lasting impact.
“I think Mario Kart 8 has years of fan following so I think Splatoon definitely has a back seat to that but with that being said, there’s so many great things that appeal to a Mario Kart Fan,” she said. “The online, the competitiveness, the local-multiplayer is what all our fans keep coming back for. It’s that the same rush and excitement that Splatoon fans will come back to again and again.”
Unlike Mario Kart 8 however, Splatoon won’t include voice chat. Not even for friends going head-to-head. Potter explains why that is and urges players to become more familiar with the second screen on the gamepad.
“We wanted to make it all inclusive,” she said. “We wouldn’t want a kid to go online and play with a stranger and not know what that stranger might say or do but there’s a flipside to it too, it amplifies the cooperativeness and the team player aspect of the game. The fact we have the gamepad with this map so when you are playing online it’s important to look down and utilize that second screen to see where the players are instead of yelling at them over voice chat to find them.”
For players convinced that Splatoon needs voice chat, Potter thinks time and dedication with the games mechanics will serve as an alternative.
“I’d say give it some time. We were all new during the global test-fire right, people are still trying to get the mechanics down and figure out the technique of play,” she said. “They might not have been looking down because again that’s totally new component to a shooter game.”
Splatoon was first unveiled at E3 2014 with a heavy focus on multiplayer. It was anybody’s guess that a campaign would be included. Potter sheds some light on what the purpose for saving the zapfish in Inkopolis is for players.
“I think by default Nintendo just loves their campaigns,” she said. “They love their boss battles, it’s also a mode we use to get players used to the mechanics and the different means of squirting ink on the walls. All the things you might not have learned by playing online which can be overwhelming in that environment that’s why we have the campaign so you can jump in and learn all those techniques beforehand. There’s also that inherit completionist vibe to completing a game by beating the final boss so we have that too.”
Alongside solo missions in the campaign, Amiibo support is in Splatoon and each inkling and squid include their own special missions, weapons, and gear. Potter adds why their inclusion keeps players engaged.
“I think with Amiibo launching last year and this being our first real triple A IP to include Amiibo functionality out this year gave us time to really iron out how we wanted Amiibo to work within this game,” she said. “I think with the new levels, weapons its really important to keep the player coming back to play again and again.”
Although the Amiibo functionality in Splatoon is filled with content, Potter still believes another fan favourite title from their library holds the top prize for best use of Amiibo still to this day.
“I wouldn’t because I love [Super Smash Bros.] and the way you play and level up,” she said. “ It had that level of team comraderie in Smash and I think people developed a real emotional connection to their Amiibo at that point as well,” she said.
On the multiplayer spectrum side of things, fans have expressed the lack of modes in Splatoon. Potter wants to ensure there’s plenty of multiplayer to be played in Battle Dojo.
“Wait until you play Battle Dojo,” she said. ‘There’s some serious battles in our office right now with the local multiplayer. Instead of covering turf you trying to shoot these balloons and also take out your opponent and by doing so increases your score. Just by being in the same room as them just becomes a really heated battle.“
Potter finished with the possibility of new downloadable content coming with Splatoon and how frequent it will be.
“Nintendo tends to not do paid DLC,” she said. “I can’t say yay or nay at this point but there will be a steady drumbeat of content coming throughout the summer. More details to come on that.”
Splatoon is available now on Nintendo Wii U.