Author Topic: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind  (Read 6235 times)

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Offline oksoda

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Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« on: February 04, 2015, 05:15:00 AM »

Two generations after it was popularized, Nintendo still won’t implement full voice chat in its games.

http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/editorial/39573/splatoon-upholds-nintendos-tradition-of-being-a-step-behind

I will never forget the two or so years that I obsessed over Halo 2. Late at night, after work, school, and other non-galaxy saving tasks were completed, I went over to my friend Adam’s house so we could play Halo 2 online via split-screen. With our headsets on at all times, we coordinated plans on capturing flags, revealed goddamn sniper locations, and surely talked a lot smack in the pre-game lobbies. Yeah, people frequently crossed the line and we’d hear some pretty heinous things, but the good far outweighed the bad. Annoying young punks as were, Adam’s username had something to do with going vegan, while mine was the title of a Bad Religion song – “Atheist Peace,” to be specific. Every now and then, in a lobby before a match, someone would chime in “oh hey, I’m vegetarian,” or “Dude I love Bad Religion.” Our friends lists steadily expanded over time with each of these connections, and soon it wasn’t just the two of us getting together late at night to play; we had a Halo crew. And it was all thanks to being able to talk while we played.

That was 2004. Since then, voice chat has grown into a more robust and absolutely standard feature for Microsoft and Sony platforms. System-level chat and party systems allow you to talk with your friends while you aren’t even playing the same game, creating a feeling of simply hanging out each time you sit down to play. At nearly 30 years old, I’ve found this system to be a pretty good facsimile of how I played games back in my early 20s.

Unfortunately, Nintendo hasn’t placed the same focus on voice chat. Or really any focus, save for some hackneyed implementation and a very, very bad accessory. That trend looks to continue, as today it was revealed that Splatoon, Nintendo’s upcoming multiplayer-focused shooter, will have no voice chat in random matches with serious questions marks regarding voice chat anywhere in the game (we have reached out to Nintendo for clarification). 11 years after I spent endless nights organizing attacks and talking about punk albums, Nintendo still hasn’t implemented voice chat in a substantial way.

The Wii era certainly set Nintendo well behind its competitors. While Sony and Microsoft brought online gaming to the forefront of the home console experience, the Wii never made online play a priority. I laugh about it now, but I remember getting excited in 2006 thinking “man, I can’t wait for Adam and I to be able to play Wii Sports online just like Halo.” That, of course, didn’t come to fruition until some eight years later with the release of Wii Sports Club on Wii U. The Wii’s lifespan was spent wondering, after a game was announced, if it would actually feature online multiplayer, let alone voice chat.

Then came the Wii Speak. I really can’t figure out how this accessory was ever approved. Forsaking the headset model, Nintendo opted instead to create a microphone that sat atop the TV, across the room. Not only was the microphone closer to your TV’s speakers than your mouth, it also picked up any background or ambient noise in the room. This move is particularly bizarre given that Nintendo was actually supporting voice chat on the Nintendo DS; they even sold a headset so you could chat during matches and trades in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl! Meanwhile, the Wii was given no such support.

The Wii U fixed most of these shortcomings. It features a much more reliable online infrastructure, and video chat – yes, something potentially much more dangerous than voice chat – is actually a key feature that was highlighted during the Wii U reveal at E3. Launch games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II featured voice chat right out of the gate, using either a headset or the microphone built into the GamePad. It seemed like online play was going to finally become a focus for Nintendo.

And really, it has. Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. both run flawlessly, and Splatoon is poised to be Nintendo’s first foray into creating a competitive online shooter. But still, voice chat doesn’t appear to be a priority. Mario Kart and Smash Bros. both support lobby chat, but once the matches start, it is pure silence. We know the hardware can support voice chat during games, as seen in Call of Duty, but it’s still omitted. Why?

I can live without talking during games like Mario Kart and Smash Bros., but Splatoon absolutely deserves the feature. Like in 2004 with Halo 2 or today in Destiny, being able to coordinate attacks with your teammates is crucial. Given that one of the major goals in Splatoon is to cover the field with as much of your team’s ink as possible, voice chat seems paramount in deciding what areas of the stage need to be focused on. Without the ability to do so, I’m worried that Splatoon is instead going to be a chaotic, mostly singular experience. That isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s far different from the game I thought we were getting.

Today’s news has certainly put a damper on my excitement for Splatoon. I had visions in my head of grand Nintendo World Report matches pitting readers against writers, but without the ability to talk both before and during matches, it’s hard to look forward to silent matches with no strategy or ****-talking, which are basically the core tenants of good-natured online play.


Offline StrikerObi

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 01:28:13 PM »
It's 2015. I can video-chat in HD with somebody on the other side of the globe from my mobile phone. But I still can't talk to somebody over a broadband connection while playing a Nintendo game. There's no excuse anymore.

Offline Ceric

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 01:32:30 PM »
Especially since they showed someone Video Chatting to someone during a game in the WiiU promo video.
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Offline Khushrenada

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 01:41:04 PM »
If you really want some fun, try typing message to other player in Animal Crossing New Leaf. Pecking away at a tiny keyboard into a text box that can barely hold 5 words. Nothing like having long chats using that.
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Offline Ceric

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 01:45:19 PM »
If you really want some fun, try typing message to other player in Animal Crossing New Leaf. Pecking away at a tiny keyboard into a text box that can barely hold 5 words. Nothing like having long chats using that.
Got you beat.  Typing to other players using the CCPro in the middle of a Monster Battle in Monster Hunter.  If that's not enough same thing but with a GCN Controller in PSO.
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Offline Phil

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2015, 02:07:47 PM »
Inexcusable.
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Offline Soren

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2015, 03:05:46 PM »
That last sentence really drives the point home. This is terrible, and the game is doomed to fail if it doesn't stack up feature wise with similar games.
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Offline Ian Sane

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2015, 03:52:08 PM »
I remember the infamous E3 where Nintendo more or less announced that the Gamecube was not going to be online.  I think it was 2003.  At the time I thought it was an incredibly stupid move simply because Nintendo was setting themselves up to be years behind the competition and would either have to immediately make the jump to the current industry conventions or be stuck behind in perpetuity.  And they've been stuck behind ever since.  It really feels like Nintendo is in an isolated bubble and is thus rediscovering everything themselves.  They could literally buy the competing consoles and mess around online with them for a week and gain tons of knowledge of how out-of-date their setup is.  They're either too proud to do it or too damn stupid.  And what really sucks is that the out-of-date routine would later extend to the hardware itself.  The same company that decided that online wasn't worth pursuing in 2003 also decided to not pursue HD in 2006 and then got caught with their pants down running into roadblocks on the Wii U that every other videogame company in the world had figured out years before.  I never thought at the time that this luddite nonsense would define the company in almost all areas.  This has all gone down under Iwata's watch as the no-online thing happened about a year after he took the helm.  That befuddled moron is sinking the company like a stone.  Ironically the company was better at being current when they were run by a cranky old geezer.

While this voice-chat thing isn't going to do Splatoon any favours I wonder if the overall design is going to come across as out-of-date as well.  The most recent Nintendo game that is similar to this would be Metroid Prime Hunters and that's from 2006 and it was a handheld title and wasn't really seen as that impressive at the time anyway.  So is this going to be Nintendo rediscovering the genre?  We know they almost certainly don't play other companies' games.  If they're inventing this as they go along I fear they'll come across the same ideas everyone else came up with years ago.    I fear we might be lucky to get a game that feels like it's from 2010.

I want Nintendo to step out of their comfort zone and not just stick to the same genres and franchises.  But to do that they have to get themselves hip to other genres so they don't release games that seem out-of-date.  Imagine making a platformer in 1988 without any familiarity with Super Mario Bros.  Your game would probably look like some Donkey Kong clone and would get soundly rejected for being primitive.

Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2015, 04:28:10 PM »
We should have Ian write the feature about Nintendo's development teams, since he clearly knows way more about how the company works internally, unless he's pulling all that completely out of his ass.
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Offline Adrock

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2015, 04:55:41 PM »
I want Nintendo to step out of their comfort zone and not just stick to the same genres and franchises.  But to do that they have to get themselves hip to other genres so they don't release games that seem out-of-date.
You just described Splatoon.

Offline ShanD

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2015, 05:55:56 PM »
I'm glad there's no voice chat. I've been playing PvZ Garden Warfare recently and after hearing what some people say in such a lighthearted game, I've taken to muting voice chat immediately when I get in a game. Basically put, I don't want to talk with random people in games anymore, at all. Destiny's initial implementation got it perfect. You can talk with your friends or other people you have chosen to play with, otherwise you hear sweet silence. Hopefully, if Splatoon has in-match voice chat, it'll be similar to Destiny's implementation.
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Offline ShyGuy

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2015, 06:00:15 PM »
Too bad there is no voice chat. I would never use it, but still.

Offline Triforce Hermit

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2015, 06:34:14 PM »
Any chance of it reaching a mildly successful competetive community is dead now.
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Offline Khushrenada

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2015, 07:12:05 PM »
The same company that decided that online wasn't worth pursuing in 2003 also decided to not pursue HD in 2006 and then got caught with their pants down running into roadblocks on the Wii U that every other videogame company in the world had figured out years before.

Yes sir. That's why no other game company except Nintendo had to delay releasing a game in 2014 because they had all cleared the hurdles of HD development. Only Nintendo has problems. The rest of the industry is great and can release an HD game with no setbacks, glitches, errors or bugs in a timely manner because they have all mastered game development while the programmers at Nintendo are still trying to figure out how to program a character to jump from one spot to another because of their "Luddite" technology.

Why I could just pull a random article from anywhere off the internet about the steady flow of game releases to show how incompetent Nintendo is compared to their competition. Here's one. Let's see. It's called February Is the New October: The Big Video Game.... Delays... of 2014. Delays? Huh. It must just be an article about Nintendo not releasing anything in 2014. What else could it be according to Ian Sane's version of the world, am I right?

Hmmm. That's odd. I read the whole article up and down and there's not one Nintendo game mentioned as part of the 2014 delay. In fact, all the delayed games are from other companies. I don't get it. Why aren't they cranking out the HD releases that we know are so, so, easy for them thanks to Ian's Sane's insider knowledge of the whole industry? In fact, the article even says:

Quote
It’s also pretty clear that these current-gen systems were by no means ready to release when they did. We’re now almost a year into the PS4 and Xbox One‘s life cycle and developers are still struggling to hit their dates.

What?!?!

But... but... but... but...

So on the Wii U we had to deal with delays but on the other consoles we don't?

Not being able to create HD games at a decent timeframe because you are inexperienced with the process while every other videogame developer in the world has six more years of experience then you does mean you are behind the times.

Or maybe Nintendo now believes that the costs are down but don't realize that part of that is that the savings come from devs having more experience with such games and can thus make them more efficiently.  Those devs also have engines they can reuse and with sequels they can even reuse art assets.  Nintendo's lack of experience means that they are no different than a company starting their first PS3 game back in 2006.  They don't have resources to reuse or previous experience to cut down development time.

What is going on here? We've been told over and over by Professor of Videogame Development Ian Sane that all other developers are great and can quickly release HD games but a quick check of actual facts (the kryptonite to Ian Sane's posts) reveals he doesn't have an actual degree and is clearly not an expert nor does he seem to have a very good understanding of what is going on outside his Nintendo-grudge bubble. Or perhaps it is some kind of tribute to "out-of-date" Nintendo that his posts and rants are often stuck behind in the past as well. We may never know as one can clearly not use his posts for any reliable information.
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Online broodwars

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2015, 07:26:30 PM »
I don't give a **** about voice chat since IMO the entire human race can go **** off. On the rare occasion that I play a multiplayer game, I'm happy to just enjoy the sounds of the game itself. That said, however insignificant I view voice chat, it's an important feature for team-based multiplayer games, which Splatoon IS. There is no justifiable reason for not having it in a 2015 team-based shooter. If you want to protect the kids Nintendo thinks actually play Wii U instead of just about anything else, fine: have a separate mode with voice chat disabled just for them or just show them how to mute people.
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Offline pureval

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2015, 07:48:31 PM »
The latest report I saw said that this was a bad translation. All that has been confirmed is that there will be no voice chat in randomized matches. There is still a chance you can chat with friends.

Offline Soren

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2015, 08:22:27 PM »
Anything less than full voice chat (lobby and match) in friend matches is unacceptable.
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Offline Enner

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2015, 09:21:57 PM »
Now I kinda want to see the game have no voice chat just to see the fall out. And here I was fearing that the game wouldn't have host migration. I totally forgot about voice chat! Then again, I really don't care about voice chat since I have no one I want to talk to  :sads:


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Offline fred13

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2015, 07:32:19 AM »
I'm hoping it's like Advance Wars Days of Ruin was. If I played against a random person there was no voice chat, but when I played against my friends there was voice chat (and you didn't even have to buy the headset as it used the built in mic to do it)

Offline Ian Sane

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Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2015, 10:00:01 AM »
I want Nintendo to step out of their comfort zone and not just stick to the same genres and franchises.  But to do that they have to get themselves hip to other genres so they don't release games that seem out-of-date.
You just described Splatoon.

Yes I did.  That's my argument.  Nintendo is stepping out of their comfort zone but runs the risk of making a game that seems out-of-date if they don't familiarize themselves with the current conventions of the genre.  The absence of voice chat (or at least voice chat in all modes) would be an example of such a convention and isn't a good sign.

Re: Splatoon Upholds Nintendo’s Tradition of Being a Step Behind
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2015, 12:38:05 AM »
I never use voice chat so its no skin of my back. I would prefer that features like this be included though, but make it optional. I don't care for it but obviously a lot of other people do. However in their defense this is NOT a Call of Duty game this is a kids game, like it or not this game is going to be played largely by children, you can argue COD is played by kids if you want that's just bad parenting though. If this was a T or M Rated game that was following industry conventions yes chat in game would make sense but this is a game where you will have 8 year old's playing against grown adults, its better to be safe than sorry.
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