Nintendo’s Online Team Shooter Won’t Have Voice Chat, Because…Nintendo

Nintendo’s Online Team Shooter Won’t Have Voice Chat, Because…Nintendo

We’ve known for a while that Splatoon, Nintendo’s take on a third-person shooter, wouldn’t have voice chat. But we know why they have left it out now, and I think it’s the wrong move.

Splatoon is the featured game in the latest issue of Edge magazine in the UK. I haven’t read the whole piece just yet, but the this quote from co-director Yusuke Amano really stood out to me:

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.

Look, I get it. The Internet can be a scuzzy place, and we’ve all experienced someone gross while playing online. That’s not a reason to ditch the feature entirely, though. Online multiplayer is about cooperating within a team, and communicating through voice chat is incredibly effective.

Splatoon is not Journey, a game where the cooperation of players isn’t required. Victory in Splatoon will demand people work together, and the game won’t feature a key tool for that.

I wouldn’t blame Nintendo if voice chat was turned off by default or age-restricted, but rather than exploring avenues to meet players halfway, Nintendo’s running from voice chat entirely.

Splatoon might end up being a great game, but stuff like this could severely limit its potential.


    • I’m rather excited for this game, even though I don’t own a WiiU and have no current plans to buy one.

      It’s great to see Nintendo trying to do something new both by establishing a new franchise and pushing into a genre that they’re not traditionally experts at.

      If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about Nintendo, when it comes to the actual games themselves it’s not worth getting angry about what appears to be a stupid decision until I’ve played the game itself. They’re generally pretty good at making gameplay decisions and if they think the game works without voice chat then I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

      • I agree.

        I’m tremendously excited and I can’t wait to try it out come May.

        I wouldn’t be surprised to see, you know, messages that you can edit and that will be assigned to the D-Pad, or some such.

        “Good job!” or “Help” like you can use in MonHun.

        • D-pad? Why stick to the D-pad when you can use the tablet?

          I’m thinking in terms of a touch interface similar to the verb/noun setup used in old-school adventure games.

          top of tablet – list of names in your team.
          Next – a list of verbs – “watch out”, “move”, “wait”, “needs help”…
          Finally a list of places/things – “objective A”, “behind you” “to your left”

          Three touches and your companion hears “watch out behind you” in a prerecorded voice, selected for each player/avatar at the start of the match.

          Certainly not as flexible as voice chat, but probably good enough for government work…

  • Honestly I have to say I agree with him. Evertime I’ve played a online game using a matchmaking system, I make sure to mute everyone else. I feel that hearing some guerilla shouting and swearing into his $2 microphone really breaks immersion.

    What Nintendo needs is a party chat app like on the ps4

  • To be fair a lot of kids will be playing this as well as adults. Some adults more than others don’t know how to act like adults.

  • I’d prefer an “opt in” approach to voip, as I commonly use fps games as a backdrop for chatting with friends.

    The console has all of the hardware built in to do this, so it feels a little wasteful to use such broad strokes in handling what has long been a staple of multiplayer gaming.

  • im fine with this as i usually mute people in call of duty etc anyway but what the wii u really needs is a separate party app similar to the other current gen consoles and allow chat through that this would make it easier for online multiplayer with friends as well as allowing chat in games that ordinarily be muted due to randoms swearing etc.

  • As if anyone uses voice chat to cooperate anyway. Most of the time no one has a mic, and those who do are usually obnoxious.

    • I guess they have more than two brain cells and realise that muting after the fact still exposes kids to all the crap voice chat brings.

  • I understand their point of view on this, I do, especially if the target demographic includes children. Children safe gaming sure thing. But I would like to see an advancement in this field of child friendly chat options with a voice – recognition style voice chat.

    A voice-recognition style would play approved pre-recorded ingame voice messages to your team mates. ie If the player says “Hello” ./play soundemote hello and the ingame character will say “Hello” even cooler if each player had a different sounding voice etc.

    Then you can preload it with stuff like Defend / Attack / Point / Flag / Together / Numbers / Gratz etc… so players could string sentences like Together Defend Point A or if Player 3 says “I am attacking flag” it could emote “Player 3 says he is attacking flag” there was a recent game called “There came an Echo” where you controlled AI with limited vocab, and I think can work well with a limited vocab, but also that voice is the best way to co-ordinate others.

    That way you can have the fast reaction time and interaction of voice, but also cut out the negative aspects cause they wont include the dirty words… and at the end of the day the worse you could get is if someone called you a FAG!… their character would voice emote “FLAG!”

  • This is an FPS that 10 year old kids will play. They need not be exposed to that kind of crap. And we all know how well age-restricted stuff works. Neglectful parents will never get around setting it up.

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