[Opinion] Splatoon: A game changer for new Nintendo IPs and how its Success will Affect the Future of the Switch
On the day Splatoon was first revealed, I was there, watching the E3 direct. I was excited for its release but, funnily enough, I never really got into it and only really put about 20 hours into it. Yet, the impact of a game like Splatoon, was far bigger than you would think it would be and its success soon paved the way for games like Arms to come along and this is what I am going to talk about today.
For the purpose of this piece, we need to go back into context to understand why its success is important. The Wii U was a struggling console, it had major titles like Mario 3D World and Super Smash Bros and each of these titles, performed well for a console not owned by many. In my opinion, the Wii U and 3DS saw a lot of old and top Nintendo franchises on them, with very little new IPs. It was the continuation of Mario or Donkey Kong we kept seeing along with revivals of old franchises like Kid Icarus, Luigi’s Mansion or Fire Emblem (which translated into becoming a major for Nintendo, but that’s another article for another day). When you talk about major Wii U games up until 2015, there was no new IP from Nintendo. For clarification this is not a story about the Wii U, it’s about a new IP that changed Nintendo and proved they were capable of doing new things.
Splatoon encompasses what Nintendo has been doing lately with Mario and Zelda. Take something familiar and remaking it, to make it new and fun. Splatoon took the shooter genre and instead of varied goals of getting kills, fill an arena with your team’s ink. The kill or “splat” part takes a backstage (while still remaining important). Your score is determined by how much you’ve inked the terrain and of course the splats you’ve done. This a major rethinking of the shooter genre, and it applies to the family audience (what I mean is that Nintendo’s audience at one time, was kids and their families). This is a shooter, kids could play while still being fun for all. That is Nintendo at their best in 2015 and their strategy at the time, make games the whole family can enjoy.
The game was well received. It was a success in three ways making it a global success: it had good sales, had good critical reception, and had good implementation and acceptance by fans (proof is in characters appearing in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe). Splatoon is a big part of Nintendo nowadays and some forget it’s less than 3 years old. It has its own dedicated following and any Nintendo fan can find enjoyment in it.It’s also heavily supported what with Nintendo adding free updates and Splatfests. This kept the community alive and Nintendo never let it die. That’s dedication right there.
During the Switch trailer, Nintendo showed footage of Splatoon on the Switch. We didn’t know whether it was a port or a new game. Most predicted a port like the Mario Kart 8 footage shown. Fast forward to the Switch Presentation in January. Nintendo blew everyone’s mind with the Splatoon game being a sequel. Not only that, but it was to release in the first year of Nintendo’s newest console along the likes of Mario and Zelda. Splatoon 2 currently has an install base of 3/10 of Switch owners owning it. That’s big for a sequel of a new IP from 2015 years ago (around 3 million copies sold for the sequel). With a big and packed year (what can be called be the greatest first year for a new console, again another article for another day ) Splatoon 2 did well. This is good and important. The likes of ARMS followed Splatoon and Nintendo aren’t afraid of making new IPs anymore. They know some fail, some work (ARMS, its nothing spectacular but still a success) and some become a legend like Splatoon. In a few years, you’ll probably forget about ARMS (unless it takes off like in the future) but you’ll definitely remember Splatoon. Why? Because I know for a fact that Nintendo will support it. Us, the fans will support whatever is next for the franchise. If it’s not good then we’ll let Nintendo know and they’ll fix it. The young franchise has a future and it’s up to Nintendo and us to decide where it goes. Remember just tweeting at Nintendo saying you love Splatoon helps. They may not like or respond to it but they may see it. If they do then you’re telling them you want it to stay! Look at Metroid Prime. Our voices were heard. Even Pokémon, they took a new direction with Sun and Moon and the sales let them know it was right.
What I’m saying here, is that it’s impressive for a period where no new IPs were seen from Nintendo to suddenly have one that’s huge and has a future. I hope Nintendo takes risks and introduces us more new IPs like Splatoon, because who knows, the next legendary franchise may be around the corner…
Thanks for reading and comment! I encourage a debate and I hope to get conversations going. As always, stay fresh!!!!
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