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Splatoon, the upcoming Wii U exclusive shooter that pits teams against each other for inky supremacy, will not feature voice chat when playing with strangers. Whether or not this means it’ll include the feature when playing with friends has yet to be confirmed, but we do know for sure it’ll be absent when playing against randos from around the world.

According to the developers, the concept is simple enough that you can look down at your off-screen map and plan your own strategy accordingly. And judging by how toxic lobby and in-game chat can be on more prominent shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield, I suppose I can understand why Nintendo wants to avoid that type of atmosphere for their younger player-base.

Who knows though, that may not even be the reason it isn’t being included in the first place. And if it is, why not just offer a way to, I don’t know, mute people?

Chatting with squadmates and planning strategies on the fly is what makes a team-based shooter fun. Having a squad of people run around like chickens with their head cut off typically leads to frustration in modes like Team Deathmatch or CTF, and rarely, if ever, a victory.

Personally, I have no interest in taking my eyes off the screen to look down at a mini-map to determine where I’d like to strike next. This is a personal issue I have with the GamePad in general though, and unless I’m using it as my primary screen, I find it distracting to switch back and forth between them. Voice chat isn’t exactly a new concept either, so the stubborn decision to leave it out is questionable at best.

If the concept really is as simple as it sounds, maybe their approach can work. I try to be open minded about things before putting on my pessimistic hat, and I’ve played other games online without voice chat just fine. They weren’t competitive at all, but it still worked; and, more importantly, was still fun.

But as a company that’s constantly under fire for being behind the times, Splatoon isn’t going to earn them any votes. This is the same company that opted for cartridges in the CD era; decided to forgo internet connectivity on the GameCube when online gaming was coming in to its own on Xbox and Playstation 2; decided against HD graphics on the Wii.

It’s not like voice chat is a missing feature on the Wii U either. Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. offer voice chat, as does Call of Duty: Black Ops II–a Wii U launch title, and a third party game.

As a fan of Nintendo, and an advocate for the Wii U in general, I sincerely hope that if Splatoon forgoes voice chat while in a party with friends, that it works. Like I said earlier, they haven’t confirmed whether or not it’ll be in the game, other than it won’t if you’re playing with random people.

But if Nintendo decides against voice chat altogether, does that kill your interest in Splatoon?

Bio Card Brad

Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter. He’s an aspiring video game journalist that one day hopes to make this writing thing a living, and will always miss living in his hometown of Baltimore. If he’s not writing, he’s usually glued to a game or watching low budget horror films with his three cats. Get in touch with him by e-mail at the address above, or follow him on Twitter.

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Written by CheapBossAttack

Freelance games writer for cheapbossattack.com and regular podcast contributor at counterattackgames.com. I'm a sewer-dwelling console heathen with a passion for RPGs and horror games. Follow me on Twitter @cheapbossattack.

17 comments

  1. Wow, if Nintendo wants online multiplayer, this is NOT how to do it. The reason I lost interest in both Mario Kart and Smash was the lack of communication during the race/fight. I love talking with friends while gaming. It’s ridiculous to keep chat away especially when it comes to a strategic shooter like Splatoon.

    1. Yeah, in those two specifically you could talk in the lobby, but it was dead silence during the matches. I… don’t care for that method. At all.

      I enjoy being on my Xbox and just talking to friends while we all play whatever it is we want to play; be it grouping up for Diablo, or playing different games entirely.

      Nintendo wants you to be social, just on your couch. It’s sad. I don’t live near the same people I crammed on my couch with playing NES and SNES in the 80’s & 90’s. Nintendo doesn’t understand this.

      1. Plus, many Nintendo games are only fun under one roof. At least letting us talk online gives us that “feel” but they don’t want us to have that.

        I also use my Xbox for random chats or gathering friends together to play our next game. I think Nintendo thinks they know what they are doing but the YouTube stuff was a huge drop is trust with them and online gaming.

      2. Yeah, it seems the bigger YouTubers that they were probably hoping to gain from are totally opposed to the idea of only being able to publish videos of Nintendo games.

        Forcing them to either comply, or create an entirely different YouTube account for the Nintendo Partnership seems silly, as they’d have to gain their entire viewerbase all over again. It’s not like a bulk amount wouldn’t migrate and subscribe to their Nintendo channel as well, but it’s a bit of a hassle I’d think.

        Nintendo is an odd bird right now. The Wii U pushed out some really, really excellent games last year, but they just seem stubborn in their attempt to distance themselves from Sony and Microsoft by refusing to take hold of modern game/console expectations.

      3. Good outlook on it and I agree with all of it. However, Nintendo should stop distancing and start complying with today’s standards in video games within the YouTube world.

        I watch a few YouTubers and one in particular that normally only does Nintendo games is GameXplain. I worry for them since the majority of their facts and talks are only about Nintendo. They do a fantastic job with theories and predictions. I just hope they are not getting shut down or no revenue from all the work they do.

      4. Yeah, and with it recently being confirmed that even if you DO do the Nintendo partnership, they’re blacklisting ad revenue on two huge games: Super Smash Bros. and Bayonetta 2. Ouch.

        I know the original point of the article to was judge the consumer reaction to Nintendo forgoing voice chat for a game within a genre that usually thrives on it, but Nintendo is definitely a whole different beast altogether in the console department.

  2. Like it or not, in the world’s eyes, Nintendo is leading the charge for more widely-accepted games. The success of the Wii across many demographics implies that strongly. And if this is true, I’d rather Nintendo play it safe and make it the default option for players -not- to be in communication with people they don’t personally know. But I do believe it should be an option because we’re adults, we know how to make decisions for ourselves, and we know what we’ve enjoyed in other games. For concerned parents, voice chat options could be hidden behind parental controls, and the problem would be dealt with.

    Personally, I love creative non-voice chat options for communication, in the way of BF4 or LoL, with their highly accessible message wheels. I don’t always feel like talking after all and it’s great for people who don’t have microphones to still be able to participate in our team’s strategy.

    So to summarize, I think there’s merit in not having voice chat on by default, but I think it should still be a choice given to mature gamers. And it would be nice to have creative ways to communicate apart from voice chat, because not everyone has access to it or feels like communicating that way all the time.

    1. It’s definitely easier for non-chat options on PC, as a keyboard and mouse are as much a part of the game’s controls as it is to communicating.

      As someone who raids in MMOs, I can attest that voice chat is definitely not necessary, as anyone can type basic instructions in to a chat screen and that’s that.

      Maybe Splatoon with have something that allows you to tap a spot on your off-screen map to ‘ping’ it, suggesting that spot on your squadmate’s map as a place of some interest.

      We’ll see how it all works out, but I still don’t understand the option to avoid it completely, rather than make it a choice to the player or parent.

      I’m also okay with people opting to forgo the chat function altogether. I totally get that, and sometimes I don’t want to talk either. But make it a choice, don’t remove it altogether.

      1. Mhm, it’s definitely gotta be a choice. And hey, the Wii U’s tablet-like controller would be perfect for a mini-map ping system as well as other options such as chat presets. There’s a really delicate balance between what gamers have already come to expect and the negative things that would scare away the rest of society, but I think it’s important for the medium that the latter is more seriously considered, even if we gamers feel we’re being left out of the equation for now. The medium ebbs and flows. We just have to keep being civil and vocal about our views, and the game industry -should- keep improving.

  3. On the one hand I can see why a lot of people would be upset. Voice chat makes things so much easier in team based shooters when trying to formulate plans, and strategies. On the other hand, I humbly submit to you that there is also a chance you’ll be dealing with trolls over VOIP during multiplayer. So without voice chat you do get one more avenue at attempting to play in peace.
    Personally the game itself looks like a great spin on the third person shooter. So I’m intrigued to check out Nintendo’s paint shooting Super Soaker game with or without voice chat. That said, I think they should find a way to allow for VOIP during private games against friends.

    1. I totally get that. I guess I’m just puzzled as to why it wouldn’t be there with the *option* to turn it off.

      Not dealing with voice chat is just as easy as putting everyone on mute though. I guess I feel that the technology has been there since 2004, before that on PC, and for this specific genre it’s a no-brainer. You jump in groups with randoms that are annoying, you mute them, just like you do in other games.

  4. The lack of voice chat and the undetermined price are the main factors for my indifference of this game as of now. The E3 trailer had me hyped, but as the months went on I really couldn’t get behind paying 50 or 60 bucks for this game when it comes out this year. I think Splatoon would have been a great 20 buck downloadable title than a full priced release.

    1. Nintendo is generally known for including a solid amount on content in their games though, so who knows. I hear there’s a solo campaign mode that’s basically a 3D platformer that focuses on traversing using the inky squid powers, on top of the obvious multi-player.

      Captain Toad also released at a lower price at the end of last year, so maybe Nintendo will launch Splatoon for 40 or 50 to draw in for a new IP.

    2. 20 download? For as much content as I’m seeing, as well as a full on single player you think this new ip is only worth that much? I have to respectfully disagree there’s a lot of info out there and a lot is being put in this game Nintendo does not fail to deliver, that being said. A game based on covering as much ink opposed to kills would require a lot of team work, removing voice chat is foolish. Not every person that uses voice chat is 12, this game with the right people and voice chat would be ibcredilbly competitive and fun

  5. I generally do not care about voice chat. However, for a game that involves teamwork, such as Splatoon, such a feature is vital.

    If Nintendo is, however, able to implement some sort of communication system through which you can ask for help, discuss attack patterns, and devise strategies, then it will be fine. I they don’t, though,…..

    1. I agree, I don’t care about voice chat all the time, but the option should definitely be there.

      I mentioned this in an older comment, but if they at least offer map pinging or something on the touchpad, that’s a start. But I *do* like actually talking to my friends while we play games together.

      >Me: “Hey guys and gals, want to play some Splatoon tonight instead of Diablo 3 or Halo? Okay, see you at 8pm!”
      >Us: *dead silence for 3 hours*

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