Splatoon: Nintendo’s New Multiplayer Shooter E3 2014 First Look
Nintendo shed some light on its newest IP at this year’s E3 2014. Splatoon; A new innovative and wacky third-person action ink shooter for the Wii U
The premiere opens up at the entrance to the new and renowned Kyoto Aquarium in Japan that was opened to the public in 2012. We are then taken inside the vivarium where we get a close up yet brief look of the exotic aquatic life Kyoto has to offer before we are introduced to some of Splatoon’s creative team.
Meeting The Developers
We meet the producer of Splatoon, Hisashi Nogami, whom you may know as the director of Nintendo’s popular franchise, Animal Crossing. We are then introduced to Splatoon’s two game directors, Yusuke Amano and Tusubasa Sakaguchi.
Mr. Nogami starts off by giving us the true definition of the type of game that is Splatoon.
“Splatoon is an eight player, four on four online multiplayer action game.” Nogami says. “It’s all about controlling territories.”
But what about the core gameplay?
The game starts and we are shown our first gameplay footage of Splatoon for the first time. Armed with what looks like to be squirt guns from the 90′s, four orange human characters spawn in their base. Several cuts of gameplay are then shown which is presented to be the orange team (Good guys) and the purple team (Bad guys). Hectically battling it out and spraying their respected team colors of ink all over the map, the first 10 seconds of random gameplay has you asking one question and thinking one thing. “What is this craziness?” and “Shut up and take my money!”
“Teams battle to claim their turf by splattering the map with ink and the team with the most territory when the time runs out, wins.”
“Nogami’s son actually came up with the squid idea” says Yusuke Amano. “One day out of the blue he’s like… “Hey, let’s make them squids!”
Nogami then explains that rather than focusing on character design early on, they instead decided to come up with the game first, and only then did development create characters that corresponded best for the gameplay in mind. This style of development has always been Nintendo’s desired approach in game design.
The camera once again cuts to Amano. “One day when Sakaguchi’s son and I were hanging out on our day off he said… Hey! what if you are able to switch off between being a squid and a person! For example, say you can only shoot ink as a person but as a squid you are able to perform a wider range of actions.”
“With that as our main concept we thought of different ways to expand the gameplay, and the squid idea meshed perfectly.
During this segment we are presented with more gameplay. The human character instantaneously switches from human form to that of a squid. In squid form, the player begins to jump effortlessly higher and glide seamlessly around the map in its own team’s ink. The maps shown in the gameplay almost resemble that of a skate park as the character in squid form preforms a variety of moves off of ramps and inclines. My first impression of Splatoon is that the game just looks insanely fun and lighthearted, something Nintendo is known for. Considering some of the core concepts of Splatoon came from the minds of children, it is no surprise why this wacky innovative shooter looks so inviting and entertaining.
Some of the gameplay mechanics discussed by the team are quite interesting. As a squid, you are able to swim at insane speeds in your own ink or even use it to swim up walls! However if the player happens to enter the enemy teams ink, beware, the contrary will happen and you will find yourself slowed. So watch out!
At the start of the game Amano tells us that your first priority is to expand your team’s territory by splattering ink everywhere which in turn gives you and your team more room to move around as a squid and use abilities. Sakaguchi then takes the lead to discuss the gyro sensor motion control feature. Using your gamepad to look up or down simply move your controller in the direction you want to look and your character will follow suit.
Use your map!
Amano reveals that a bird’s eye view of the game map is displayed on the gamepad, allowing the player to see the location of everyone in game along with the respected territories of ink spread. One can only imagine the strategy that players are faced with in determining their next move with this information. Resembling the creep spread of the Zerg from Blizzards popular Starcraft franchise one can really get a view on how quickly the map can go from blank to an ink filled slipping slide.
One of the coolest things about the map feature however is the fact that by using the gamepad map one can simply click on an enemy and their character is sent blasting off through the sky to the desired enemy, getting the player right in the action as fast as possible. This is just one key elements of gameplay that makes Splatoon so unique and fast paced.
From ink splattering rifles, head-shot inducing snipers, tornado flinging rocket launchers, exploding ink frag grenades, to paint rollers to mop em’ all up; Splatoon has the tools to do your ink warfare bidding. Will you jump straight into the fray aggressively reigning down ink of doom? Hang back and take one for the team to defend the base? Or will you lay down ink trails for your team to efficiently travel the battlefield with ease? Whatever your play style, whatever your strategy, Splatoon is your multiplayer ink shooting playground.