More AAA games should follow Splatoon's example

Splatoon mixes things up with how it does game updates, but is this something other games should do as well?

Splatoon was a highly hyped game and, for most people, it didn't disappoint. In Japan, it is now the best-selling game on the Nintendo Wii U eShop. In the United States, it is the second best-selling game on eShop.

Why is the game doing so well? There are multiple reasons and I think that the way Splatoon content is pushed out is a genius business move. The game is also just fun! Here's what other games could learn from Splatoon.

The Splatoon Way

Splatoon is the game where you play as a kid who can turn into a squid at anytime and shoots ink all over the place with various weapons.

There is a single-player campaign, but you play the majority of the game in online multiplayer matches. Now, the game doesn't have more content than any other game, sometimes it has less, but it spreads it out in a very smart way. Let me explain.

Constant Updates

Splatoon has updates nearly every week. How is that possible? That's because it is already on the disc. There has been on disc "DLC" in the past and it gets negative reactions, but Splatoon knows how to do it right.

This is for good reason because many people believe that you shouldn't have to pay for something that is already on the game when you bought it. Well, Nintendo thinks so, too! You don't need to spend any more money, you just unlock features as you go.

There are many weapon sets, maps, and game modes added constantly. The best part is, it's all free! There is never a download to do, so you know this was already in the game, they are just unlocking it.

The real reason they do this is to prolong the life of the game and not overwhelm players. After seeing so many weapons, I can see why they did this. There is an awful lot here.

Even though there are only three game modes currently, with a fourth coming soon, it doesn't feel like too few. Sometimes less really is more.

Letting a little come out at a time and allowing you to play only some of the overall possibilities at once really changes the feel of the game. It may sound like you're being tricked, but it is refreshing when you experience it.

Weapons and Gear

The weapons in Splatoon are more like weapon sets. When you pick a weapon it has a set sub-weapon and special weapon that comes with it. Since you cannot pick your own sub and special weapons, most guns have at least 2 versions.

Splatoon aerospray

For example, the Aerospray RG and Aerospray MG are basically the same guns with a different color. They have the same stats, but different sub and special weapons.

This is something that makes it seem like Splatoon has a lot more content that it does. Is that a bad thing? I think the presentation and subtle variety is brilliant.

The headgear, clothing, and shoes you can wear all have abilities that give you an edge in battle. The first ability on this gear is considered the main ability and cannot change. It also has the same benefit as 3 sub abilities of the same type.

You can reroll the sub abilities on gear once you get to max level and spend 30,000 of the in-game currency. This lets players try for the abilities they want, but keeps players on an even playing field by making the main abilities the same for everyone.

You can buy this gear from the shop, which changes inventory every day, or custom order one item a day by inspecting players in town. This gives players something else to look forward to every day.

Map and Game Mode Rotation

This is probably the biggest part of Splatoon's model to keep the game fresh. Instead of letting you play on all the maps and games modes at any given time, they let you play on two maps for Regular Battle and two maps for Ranked Battle.

splatoon map and game mode rotation

These maps cycle every 4 hours so your gameplay experience changes throughout the day. It also keeps people from burning out or playing a map too many times that they get bored with it. The Ranked Battle game mode also cycles.

The Future of DLC?

This cannot be considered DLC since you don't actually download it, but I think other companies should adopt this practice. DLC can be done the same way, launch the game with lower content that usual, but add free DLC every week or two. It's actually very similar to how The Witcher 3 releases free DLC, but you get even more.

Splatoon weapon list

Just one of the four pages of weapons.

This allows the game to come out faster, keep players coming back each week, and give the game a longer lifespan. So, when is it okay to add paid DLC? That answer varies on the consumer and a big reason DLC is getting such a bad rep.

Games like Evolve and Destiny, two games I own, charge quite a bit for their DLC, especially Evolve. In Evolve's case, I believe they went a little overboard. If these were free, or if they even had other free content updates along the way, I don't think it would have been so bad.

When I first played Splatoon I was happy, but couldn't wait for more content to be added. After seeing all the content that was released and what they have planned, I'm glad they went this route.

I can enjoy what the game has to offer and familiarize myself with each weapon, map, and game mode. If they released everything at once, it would be overwhelming and there are plenty of weapons I'd probably never even see.

Do you also think other games should adopt this practice, or should it be unique to Splatoon?

Published Jul. 8th 2015
  • Durinn McFurren
    Maybe if I played the game I would feel differently about it, but the idea of limiting content this way (particularly by only allowing certain maps to be played at any given time) doesn't seem very appealing to me. Even gradually opening content that already exists seems kind of like cheap trickery to try to get people to continue playing for longer in case their attention would otherwise wane. If a game is really good, it should keep people's attention without needing to use those kinds of psychological techniques.
  • Connor Van Ligten
    Featured Contributor
    I agree with a lot of the things in the article but Splatoon still lacks the ability to back out of lobbies or change your loadout when you're in a lobbby, which is ridiculous.
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    I agree, it is the one thing I hate about the game. It didn't matter much at first for me since I only used one or two weapons, but with the new modes and weapons being released, I really wish they would add an option to change weapons at least without backing out.

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