Despite the recent release of its first paid, single-player expansion, Octo, Splatoon 2 remains a multiplayer-first game for most of its community. Nintendo Switch’s online capabilities were free when the game launched, which helped support and expand the player base — and continues to do so. With the premium subscription service Nintendo Switch Online on the way, however, should players be concerned about a shrinking multiplayer field or, worse, a greater divide between experienced Squid Kids willing to pony up and tentative newcomers testing the waters?
Producer Hisashi Nogami doesn’t think so, he told Polygon. But he does anticipate some changes to how people approach the game once the Nintendo Switch Online barrier goes up this fall.
“We don’t think it will have no influence,” Nogami said. “We imagine it will have some sort of influence or effect by the addition of Nintendo Switch Online. [But] we want to use Nintendo Switch Online’s addition as a way to redouble our commitment to the community and reaffirm for them that we’re going to support this game more and more.”
What that will probably look like is a continued, consistent flow of updates to the multiplayer modes. Those include weapons, costumes and stages, and roll out to all players at no cost. (Splatoon’s priorities in both multiplayer and free content is what makes the $19.99 Octo Expansion particularly surprising. Nogami says the team has no current plans for more single-player, premium releases, however.)
The promise of new things to play with in Splatoon 2 will hopefully sway anyone put off by the upcoming, $20-a-year requirement to keep playing the modes they had already been playing for a year. Nintendo Switch Online will, in effect, change Splatoon 2 from costing a one-time fee of $59.99 to $59.99 plus an annual subscription fee for however long you want to keep splatting opponents with your Inklings.
For Nogami, the pending Nintendo Switch Online fees only encourage the team to double down on providing a fair experience for all online players.
“It’s not to say that there’s no possibility that we’ll ever consider releasing some paid premium multiplayer content,” he explained, which would add another barrier of entry to Splatoon fans. “The main thing we want to maintain is this even playing field for players.”