We’re talking about a series of multiplayer shooters that have captured the minds and hearts of Nintendo console users.
- Platforms: Wii U
Given the high popularity of multiplayer games, Nintendo needed its own online shooter for the Wii U console. Therefore, the Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development division was tasked with creating such a game, and ensuring a low barrier to entry so that people far from video games could have fun in online matches.
The developers came up with a concept in which two teams confronted each other in the arena and tried to seize territories using ink. The team thought that this was a pretty interesting idea to implement and decided to develop it into a full-fledged game.
According to the plot of Splatoon, the action takes place in the distant future – 12 thousand years after the extinction of humanity. The battles involve Inklings and Octorans, evolved squids and octopuses that can change their shape, either running on two tentacled legs or diving into paint and becoming invisible.
A major conflict raged between these two nations in the past, the echoes of which are manifested in the present, at the time of the events of the game. Gamers can learn about this when completing the story campaign. However, the main focus is on a sporting competition called Turf War: fighters fight in the arena, trying to cover as much territory as possible using various weapons and their abilities.
Splatoon pleased players with its style: the developers retreated from the military theme and presented the audience with a bright, colorful shooter, which greatly contrasted with military titles like the Call of Duty series. The cartoon style did not prevent the project from being dynamic and exciting: gamers had the opportunity to use different tactics, including setting up ambushes, and could also fight in fun modes, both PvE and PvP.
At release, the game was criticized for the lack of content, but the authors quickly corrected the situation – gradually added new modes, maps, and weapons, increased the rank of players, and made it possible to create private rooms. In addition, the developers regularly held online tournaments and in-game events. In addition to this, Nintendo held virtual concerts with the participation of the game’s characters and launched sales of manga for the game and other related products.
Thanks to its ease of learning, colorful images, and cartoonish style, Splatoon has become one of the best family multiplayer games. This motivated the publisher to begin developing a sequel.
SPLATOON 2 (2017)
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
The sequel was released in 2017 for the then-new Nintendo Switch console. Accordingly, players were treated to much-improved graphics, as well as new game mechanics, weapons, and modes. For example, jetpacks allowed participants to soar above the battlefield, and shotguns combined the functions of a shotgun and a shield.
At the same time, the authors abandoned some features from the original that were not very popular. Thus, Splatoon 2 did not include the “Dojo Brawl” mode from the first part, which was a split-screen duel on one screen. The main modes, such as “Battle for the area”, “Battle for zones”, “Battle for the tower” and “Megacarp” migrated to the sequel, and they were joined by the new mode “Ustroball”.
In the story campaign of Splatoon 2, players continued to follow the conflict between the Inklings and the Octorians: completing the campaign was not mandatory, but for completing missions and collecting various items you can get various bonuses for multiplayer, including weapons. The developers also released the Octopus DLC, which gave the opportunity to look at the war from the point of view of octopuses.
The second part of the series received a warm welcome. Critics and players liked the way the game makers retained everything that was great about the original and brought enough improvements to the sequel that it could be considered a full-fledged sequel. Players were also delighted with the cartoon style, intense gameplay, and a wide range of tactics in multiplayer battles. Some technical aspects were criticized, such as the lack of voice chat, an inconvenient tactical map, and the function of searching for opponents.
Based on the experience of supporting the first part, the developers began to actively release updates for the sequel: players regularly received sets of weapons and levels, held in-game “splatfests”, and Nintendo flooded the market with related products, including stylized controllers, bundles with the Nintendo Switch console, and Amiibo figures and so on.
SPLATOON 3 (2017)
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Finally, the threequel was released in 2017 on Nintendo Switch. Like previous parts of the series, Splatoon 3 is focused on quick matches with locations painted in team colors – whichever side of the conflict paints more territory will emerge victorious.
You can fight with ink weapons, and heroes belonging to the Inkling or Octoling race switch between humanoid and squid forms: the first allows you to run on your own two feet and shoot with your main weapon, and the second allows you to quickly move in paint.
The game has returned to the story campaign and a number of multiplayer PvE and PvP modes, familiar to gamers from previous releases in the series. In terms of new content, Splatoon 3 has added new areas including the main hub, some new weapons including a bow, new combat moves and expanded customization options, as well as a new Maps and Area mode which is a collectible card game a game with forming a deck and painting the playing field.
At the same time, the project received a number of technical improvements related to the search for players and data processing on the server, which improved the user experience.
Splatoon 3 was expectedly praised: players liked the signature aesthetics and dynamic gameplay, the correction of shortcomings of previous games, and the general evolution of the series. From the moment of release until the beginning of 2023, sales of the title exceeded 10 million copies. Nintendo, meanwhile, released a stylized Nintendo Switch OLED console, Amiibo figures, and other related content. Well, the developers pleased the audience with regular updates and events.
The Splatoon series is very popular. Its characters appear in other Nintendo games, it hosts eSports competitions and is loved by both casual and pro gamers. It’s the perfect family racing game and boasts multi-million dollar sales. All this is thanks to the low barrier to entry and refusal of ultra-violence.
While support for Splatoon 3 continues, it is too early to talk about the release of the fourth part. Most likely, Nintendo will release it for the release of its new console, which has been rumored for a long time. Be that as it may, given the success of the franchise, we can expect that in the future players will take part in battles between Inklings and Octolings more than once.