No Voice Chat In Splatoon For Logical, Frustrating Reasons


It looks like Nintendo’s creative look at the third-person shooting genre, Splatoon, won’t feature a native voice chat option. This revelations comes from Edge Magazine, revealed by the game’s co-director Yusuke Amano. He provides a solid reasoning for the decision, even if it comes off like a decidedly-Nintendo kind of move.

"Not that you’ll be able to hear any cussing yourself: Splatoon has no voice chat now, and it never will. You can blame the infamous toxicity of online players for that. “This is coming from personal experience,” Amano says. “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.”Amano admits this approach means missing out on a feature that makes online play stand out for many players. “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."

I’ve been wrestling with this Splatoon issue today, begrudgingly agreeing with Nintendo on this one. The game is rated E10+ by the ESRB, noting Cartoon Violence. The target demographic is children, with young and regular adult players an added bonus. The frustration that comes with team-oriented shooters is quick to lend itself with abhorrent tangents of cursing, and it personally takes me out of the online shooter experience. Even with the options to turn it off, knowing Nintendo’s problems with adults preying on their younger demographic within their services, you can see why Nintendo is hesitant about these kinds of things.

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However, when discussing a game where one team needs paint control over a neutral ground against another team, which is the core of Splatoon play, tactical advantage is everything. Being able to effectively communicate moves, locations to cover and more on the fly makes it a more engaging experience. A suitable common ground would be to include voice chat, although make it mute-all by default. That way, only those who opt in via an options menu would hear errant Ne’er-do-wells cursing in a kids-oriented video game.

What makes the decision to go away from voice chat in Splatoon frustrating is that it’s a decision made in a good place, while continuing a disastrous trend. Nintendo’s policies within online gaming continue to be archaic in nature. The fact that it’s the year two thousand and gosh darn fifteen and Nintendo still doesn’t have a long-standard account system for Nintendo consoles is mind-boggling, with downloads and other online gaming experiences dumbed down as a consequence. Dedicated online shooter fans won’t pick up this game because of the lack of voice chat, and it’s hard to blame them for it.

h/t NeoGAF

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