Splatoon is an upcoming online-focused 4 versus 4 shooter by yours truly, Nintendo, for the Wii U. With recent news of Splatoon not featuring voice chat for, not technical reasons, not deadline limitations, but because the director of Splatoon, Yusuke Amano, deeming it part of the toxicity of online gaming. He believes that voice chat can contribute to unsettling feelings in gamers as he has had unpleasant experiences himself.
“This is coming from personal experience. 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 says he’s not saying that chat in an online game can’t contribute to fun but they want to grab new players.”
While I can admit that certain individuals run amok with anonymity online being their battle armor, I don’t think that this is a reason to shun voice chat altogether just because of a few bad eggs. If Nintendo were truly concerned about the safety of others while also being inclusive, avoiding cyberbulling is as simple as a mute/block/disable option. Amano’s ideals imply that Splatoon may never have voice chat.
Disgruntled fans have been letting Nintendo know exactly how they feel on the official Splatoon Facebook page as well as any Splatoon related post on Nintendo’s general Facebook page. Here’s a fan made video of many of the responses the Facebook pages have been receiving.
If I were Nintendo, here’s what I’d do to appease both sides:
1) Lock voice chat behind the parental controls so that children and younger players are protected.
2) Make voice chat’s default off so that people who want it have to go into the settings to turn it on.
3) Make it only available for friend matches or private matches only.
4) Include a mute and block button next to players’ Nintendo IDs throughout the game where they are readily accessible.
5) Probably the BEST solution – update the Wii U console to feature a party chat system. The controller already has a built-in mic and there is already a service on the system, Wii U Chat, that allows you to video chat with the people on your friend list. The system is very much capable of pulling off such a feature. This way, we’d never have to worry about in-game voice communication ever again. This YouTube fan had the right idea. He believes that older gamers should be able to pay a one time fee for party chat.