Thinking about the "Splatoon"
Since at the moment we know that Splatoon 3 is a reality, but don't know details yet, I figured it'd be an opportune time to make a retrospect about the series.
I've watched every Nintendo Direct since around... E3 2012? I got the WiiU as soon as it came out, and was a big cheerleader for it it's whole lifecycle (which sure is something in retrospect) and so you can imagine how pumped I was for a new IP that looked fun and promising!
I was sixteen years old when the game came out, which imo was like perfect age for it. I hadn't been that stoked for a game since New Leaf had came out, and I played all the testfires and bought it on release day. I remember I went to buy it before I went to my classes, and had the game in my backpack all day.
If I had to encapsulate my life during the summer of 2015, it'd be me playing Splatoon for WiiU, listening to Unstoppable by Mystery Skulls. I played the game so much that year in general, but for whatever reason the summer stands out to me specifically.
At the time, I also was feeling very frustrated about my art. A few months earlier, Mystery Skulls Animated: Ghost came out. I watched it on Halloween night with a friend, and it hit me at the right time.
I loved the music, and the characters were just fleshed out enough for me to latch onto them, while also being vague enough I could flesh them out in whatever direction I wanted.
In retrospect — getting into it was a really good thing, but at the time it was a mixed bag.
Rewinding a bit for context, the fanbases I had been in before I got into MSA (Mystery Skulls Animated) were really big, and that meant if I had an idea, someone else had already drawn it. And in this case, that was a great thing. I didn't need to create, because other people already had! ❤ I could look to their work and get the same fulfillment I would have had if I made it, but without any work! ❤
Then in contrast when I got into MSA, the fanbase was small. There were fans, but they rarely drew the precise ideas I wanted, so that meant if I wanted something drawn I had to draw it. Before then all I had set out to draw were like Pretty Woman #17 standing facing the left, and now suddenly the things I wanted to draw were much more ambitious, which made the limitations in my skills at the time so painfully obvious, and that made me very frustrated.
Like I said, as frustrating as it was at the time, I'm glad it happened because it drove me to get my shit together and get better at drawing so I could cure my own frustration, and thankfully that's what happened!
This is all an aside, but my point here is that Splatoon was a good distraction away from art, which at the time was a big bag of emotions.
When Splatoon 2 came out, I also was pumped. I also remember watching the first teaser and also did the testfires, and also got it on release day.
I was less excited for it than I was when the first game came out, and that can be attributed to like a bunch of reasons. It was a sequel, the game didn't immediately boast anything so revolutionary (it's fun to have more customization options, and things like new sub weapons and specials are fun! but none of it was as exciting as a whole new IP and game concept). I also had just graduated and was about to start my first year of college, so I had less time to devote to it.
Don't get me wrong, I've had a lot of fun with Splatoon 2! But it hasn't stuck with me like Splatoon on WiiU did. I go back and forth between believing there is some "problem" with Splatoon 2, and that's the culprit of why I haven't enjoyed it as much, and believing I'm just nostalgia blinded towards the first game.
Most likely it's a combination of the two, so keep that in mind moving forward.
The teaser for Splatoon 3 has me hopeful for the music in the game. I'm a huge Squid Squad fan, and not a very big Wet Floor fan, so I'm taking the fact Splattack plays in the teaser as a cautiously optimistic sign that I'll like whatever the main band's music is like.
On the internal lore side of thing, I'd love for Squid Squad to reform but without Ikkan, leaving him in Diss-pair since it seems like he's the reason they broke up. (To add fuel to this, the Splatoon 3 teaser version of Splattack doesn't contain any of his vocals so...food for thought.)
On that topic, the thing I'm looking forward to learning the most is the reveal of the singing duo for this game. Like y'know! The Callie and Marie, or the Pearl and Marina of this game.
I'm hoping we'll get a fun punk duo or something adjacent to that, since it'd feel fitting with chaos winning! But I'm just really curious in general. I'll be disappointed if it's just Off the Hook, or The Squid Sisters again.
I hope the stages are fun, I've grown a little disappointed in how their stage design philosophies have changed overtime.
Saltspray Rig and Walleye Warehouse are my two all-time favorite stages, and they were some of the first ever designed stages.
Meanwhile my least favorite (for the first game) is Mahi-Mahi Resort which was one of the last stages added to the first game.
And in general, this trend has continued into Splatoon 2. I can more confidently list the stages I don't like in Splatoon 2, than stages I do like. This is even true for the stages that are taken from the first game, and put into the second. There's something intrinsically I like less, and I'd mark it up to completely being nostalgia blinding if it weren't for the fact that when I do boot up my dusty WiiU, and play a few rounds, I still end up enjoying the levels more.
If I had to guess, I'd say maybe it's because the levels in Splatoon 2 are larger than the ones in the first, and I have some sort of bias towards smaller stages for some reason I don't even know?
The later Splatoon for WiiU stages, and all the Splatoon 2 stages feel to me like samey overlapping cubed floorplan, reformed with different themed locations. I look at screenshots of these different stages, and go "Ah yeah, I guess I get the theme here." but in practice it just feels bland to me.
But it seems like it's just me, I rarely if ever hear people make this same complaint, so take this all with a grain of salt. If you like the stages in Splatoon 2 better than the stages in the first game, then that's great and I'm happy for you! And regardless of my own feelings towards the stage design, it hasn't stopped me from enjoying the hundreds of hours I've put into Splatoon 2.
On a less opinionated note, during the first game I mained a Dual Squelcher and Kelp Splatterscope, and in Splatoon 2 I maintained the same weapons in their newer forms (so the Dualie Squelchers, and all the different forms of the Splatterscope depending on the day). But this year I switched it up and have been really enjoying a Heavy Splatling Remix. I'm curious what I'll use in three.
I'm more excited for three than I was for two in the prerelease. Just the combination of more time having passed, and not as much change going on in my life, I have more time to be excited.
I'll close out with some ideas for things I think would be fun! (It'll be funny if they come true, and equally funny if they don't).
I'd like if there were three team turf wars. I imagine a new set of stages would have to be created, in order to accommodate it, but! I think it'd be fun, and heck — it's Splatoon three. The stages would look beautiful in three colors of ink, and it'd be a big selling point for "why you should buy this sequel, even though there's already one game in the series already on the console!"
I'd like more little communication options on the D-Pad!
I get really euphoric when people Boo-yah back to me at the beginning of matches (I always boo-yah at the start of matches... I think everyone should it's fun and cute) the D-Pad communication options are just so fun, I'd love ones mapped to left and right!
With the same D-Pad communication idea, I'd love to be able to communicate on the loading screen and/or result screen. Think somewhat similar to Mario Kart 8, but I'd imagine it being more rudimentary because it's just like a little speech bubble next to your name as opposed to a full on Mii walking around. BUT! If we got a lounge our little inklings can walk around in while we wait for the next match? I'd lose my marbles at how adorable that is.
I hope we get news soon! I'm so excited!!