I will write what I want to write, thank you very much.
Here are some things Nintendo could do in a Splatoon sequel-
We don’t really have a full idea of what the NX is yet, but it seems to comprise of a dedicated home system and traditional handheld that will work together in some way. I’m not sure if they’re making the same games playable on both systems, or if they’ve got some new take on this idea, but I’m sure Splatoon 2 will exist in some form on both systems. This is interesting because it could split the game into two forms, taking advantage of the unique benefits of both home consoles and handhelds. This is essentially what Nintendo were experimenting with in the last Super Smash Bros. Splatoon held back on local multiplayer so they wouldn’t have to cut back on how processor-intensive the core game was. With handhelds, this isn’t a problem, since every player is holding a CPU in their hands. This is what the handheld version could focus on. Smaller, adaptable maps designed to make games as exciting with fewer players. The home version could focus on a more intense single-player, bigger online games, and more features overall. Customization and upgrades are a big part of Splatoon, and splitting a user profile between two games gives players more opportunity to earn money, level up and customize characters. If I’m on the ball with this NX prediction, I think this should be a primary focus in designing the next game.
Splatoon’s multiplayer was all about symmetry. Symmetrically sized teams of equal ability on symmetrical maps. It’s an elegant, tidy way to balance things and make the game quicker to learn. It’s also a bit predictable and limiting to the game’s design. I think a lot could be done with wilder maps, stranger weapons and varied teams with balanced pros and cons to every unique characteristic. It’s a hard thing to get as perfect as the rest of the game, but limit these things to distinct optional modes within the multiplayer, perhaps with handicaps to stronger teams, and I think you could have something that adds a lot of value to the game.
More environmental tools and gimmicks-
Splatoon’s single player mode was filled with ideas that could have transitioned into the multiplayer, but were left out. Big balloons of ink to burst, wee roomba things that cleaned ink off walls, the zipline things, big cannon things you could use. Loads of that stuff. You can work that stuff into the multiplayer. Easy idea. These people can design good, clever levels, and I doubt adding these components in an interesting way would be much of a challenge for them.
Change the map rotation system-
I’m not saying get rid of it. I’ll defend the map rotation system as an interesting concept with a flawed execution. Switching up your customisation to what’s available to play is an idea with potential, and I’m happy to see it explored further. But I think a two-map rotation is awfully limited. I think putting all the best modes on a single rotation is frustrating when you want to play a specific mode. I think the system needs some drastic changes, and I’m surprised they haven’t already been made to the Wii U game in an update. Either give us more access to content within a single play session, or present the available content in a better way. Make changing character set-ups less of a hassle. Counterstrike and Call of Duty let you load and save different customisation set-ups before matches, and I think it would be a huge advantage to Splatoon.
Make Splatfests better-
Splatfests are a brilliant idea. They bring a lot of attention to the game, and the laughably trivial themes to vote on are a great way to start daft, silly arguments between people. People who don’t even play the game get involved. Actually taking part in the Splatfests seems a bit of an anticlimax in contrast to the fun surrounding them. Players are stuck on three maps on the game’s most basic mode for a full 24 hours, with a fairly bland reward. This isn’t how it should be. I appreciate that keeping the games in Turf War mode means every player can take part, but I don’t think locking off the other modes to longtime players really adds much to the sense of community or occasion when matchmaking is still an aspect anyway. Can’t we compete in different events? Like the Olympics? Yeah, that’s good. Like, every 3 months or so we could have an Olympics-style Splatfest across several modes? That’s maybe a little too specific, but I think it’s a fair pitch for the kind of thing that could make these events more exciting. We should be given a reason to remember old Splatfests. Can we at least keep our t-shirts?
Make rank levels mean something-
Currently in Splatoon, I’m still about level 30ish. I’m an A rank, but my level is still relatively low, because I haven’t been given a reason to care about it. Once you’re at a high enough level to play in ranked matches, it stops meaning anything. Now, I don’t think this is an entirely bad thing. A lot of online shooters tie weapon and ability unlocks to ranks, which incentivizes leveling up, but also weighs the odds against new or casual players. I think there’s an obvious solution here – Tie rewards to levels, but make them frivolous, cosmetic things. Clothes unlocks and stickers and things. Maybe you could change your results screen animations? Maybe high levels could get the same unlocks that are typically tied to amiibo? I think people would appreciate not having to buy a toy for that stuff.
Further explore the setting and characters-
One of the most charming and bizarre aspects of the original Splatoon was its setting and fictional history. The fun fishy characters were given a comically dark context as post-apocalyptic evolutionary descendants of our modern day creatures. I often feel concerned for the future of unfashionable animals so, I really liked that Splatoon gave kids a reason to get excited about mollusks and weird floaty things. Though the original did an impressive amount of this stuff, the mythology is some of the most obviously fertile territory for expanding on in a sequel. Wouldn’t it be good if they could really tie the single-player campaign to a story that felt interesting, relevant, and charming? Wouldn’t that be like Nintendo at their best? Aye.
A nice wee touch in the original were the GamePad minigames you could play while loading new matches. They were fairly insubstantial, and purposefully so. You didn’t really feel like you’d been interrupted from anything important when a new game started. Just silly wee time wasters when you actively want that time to be wasted. It’s the kind of thing a sequel could overlook, but one that it would be a shame to lose. It also lets Nintendo have a stab at stupid, shallow mobile-style games, and I quite like giving them the space to do something a bit crap without annoying anyone. Just please don’t make them amiibo exclusives this time.
More sea-creature inspired nonsense-
I touched on this a little bit previously, and it’s something that will almost inevitably happen in a Splatoon sequel, but I think it’s a fun idea and one that should be explored. Big stupid fish things. Just, like, I don’t know, a shark, erm, train, or something. A big dolphin who’s, like, a mayor or something. Cod doctors. Eel knees. We’re all on board now, so you can go really stupid with this stuff.
Play up on how beloved the Squid Sisters are-
This is very important. Splatoon launched with a million charming wee ideas, and the team didn’t really know what fans would gravitate towards. Callie and Marie are the big thing. Everyone loves them, and that works to the setting’s favour. They’re pop idols. Everyone’s supposed to love them. In Splatoon, they’re relegated to a few small jobs. I hope to see them do much more in a sequel. I want an in-game TV with variety show appearances. I want concerts to be going on next to outdoor maps. I want them to turn the Squidmas lights on. I want a lot of Callie and Marie in Splatoon 2. And see the secret agents in the original game’s single player mode? I want them right involved in the new campaign. Put them in the levels. This is what I want the most.