Splatoon 2 devs on rollout of content, matching system and ranks, background details on NPCs, more
Famitsu conducted a big interview a few months ago, which was recently posted online. The magazine interviewed the following developers:
– Producer Hisashi Nogami
– Director Yusuke Amano
– Director / art director Seita Inoue
– Director and lead programmer Shintaro Sato
– Sound director Toru Minegishi
In the interview, the various team members touched on a bunch of different topics, including the approach to rolling out new content, the matching system and ranks, NPCs, and much more. We have a summary of the discussion below.
This time the team has been adding weapons one by one because they want the same amount of attention for each weapon. With Splatoon 1, they learned that when they added two new weapons at once, one of them would end up getting overshadowed by the other.
There were more new stages than returning stages. This is because simply bringing back old stages would only have little surprise. Since they want to satisfy both new and returning players, they changed the order of stage additions.
The team didn’t make major direction changes in balancing from Splatoon 1, but the fans are very enthusiastic and progress quickly. Compared to the previous game, there has been much more pattern combinations between weapons and stages, so there was more involved to balance them all.
On the matching system, they first gather eight players with similar rank points, and then split them by weapons so that a team doesn’t have too many players with same weapon. They didn’t intentionally gather people who had a winning or losing streak, but there’s a theory that when a player had a winning streak they would be grouped into tougher matches, and when they started getting fatigued they ended up losing multiple times in a row.
The rank point gap between S+ players is bigger than ordinary players. Only about one in 1,000 active players are in the S+40 to S+50 region in Ranked Battles. There is even less than one in 10 players that do reach S+, while 80% of the overall player base are in A or less. Also, about 90% of S+ ranked players are within a +/-150 hidden ranked power range.
In Splatoon 1 rock was the popular genre, so they tried changing it in 2. They also made a new band composition. When Minegishi heard the new theme song “Inkoming!” he talked with Nogami and said, “This feels like the era is moving forward; more like five years than two years.”
They prioritized making good background music first before forming the band to play that music, and then the design team would make the CD jacket-like artwork. Due to this, the band members would often change; some getting added while some others removed. However, Off the Hook is an exception to this as they first decided that they would be a unit of DJ and rapper along with their visuals first – then the song came afterwards.
In Splatoon 1 street fashion was the trend, but in Splatoon 2 they tried adding more uniqueness such as Flow with ethnic clothing and Jelfonzo with high fashion.
All Jellyfish in this world are born by splitting. That means Jelfonzo was born by splitting from Jelonzo. Jellyfishes are like a hive mind. For example, when they hold a wedding ceremony, it doesn’t mean someone among them gets married, but they’re just simply holding the ceremony. Jelonzo and Jelfonzo start gaining their own consciences so they can speak.
Flow used her working holiday to go on a trip before reaching Inkopolis Square. During the trip, she met the owner of Headspace; the owner liked her, so she got hired to work there.
Bisk has a unique way of speaking: anastrophe. The team tried to express him as an adult man. They made him into a giant spider crab because they wanted someone with high posture. He came from a cold country and broke up with his girlfriend to join a band. Just like Flow, he became attracted to squids.
Crusty Sean finally has his own shop. But he opened it because he’s someone who follows the current trends, and one of them happens to be people opening their own shops. However, he is indeed able to manage his shop well.
There was also some talk about drink tickets, as Famitsu asks if the effect is doubled with the affinity brand. It’s not stacked, but the probability is higher than a single brand, so it isn’t meaningless.
The music in Inkopolis Square changes depending on the player’s location. It’s basically the same thing as the prequel; they put speakers all over the place that play different kinds of music.
Sounds contribute to creating atmosphere in the location. For example, the song at front of Grizzco Industries had an atmosphere that feels like some smell can radiate from the game screen. As for Salmon Run, they imagined it as a Japanese restaurant outside Japan that is not run by a Japanese person.
In Splatoon 1 they changed the acoustic effects each time player moves between the four shops, but in this game they instead employ an arrange shift that also describes the personality of each inhabitant. For instance, the arrangement in Shella Fresh is related to Bisk’s guitar and mystery files that describe his past.
The Squid Sisters’ original role was to guide the battles and run festivals, but they then moved on to Hero Mode. This is why Off the Hook is now in charge in guiding battles and festivals.
When asked why Bomb Rush Blush had an orchestra, Minegishi simply answered “because it would sound like the final boss.” Sato added that they wanted to express the feel of the story’s real culprit.
The probability of each event occurring in Salmon Run is different, but they have no specific requirements so they are purely picked randomly. So it is possible for fog to appear three times in a row (by the way, fog is Nogami’s least favorite Known Occurrence)
Just like real-life salmons, the ones in this game have different appearances based on the environment they’re raised in. If the environment is harsher, they would become large salmon. Steelheads and Maws have big bodies, while Scrappers and Steel Eels have high intelligence. When Famitsu mentions that the latter two are being treated more like weapons than machines, Sato clarifies that the parts that spray ink are machines.
Salmons basically wield kitchenware, but everybody else has a virtue in fighting to actually cook the Salmons. Grill is the ultimate form of that. When Salmons are fighting to the death, they can feel the same sense of unity. They would be one with the world if they were eaten by other creatures, and they also fight for the pride of their race.
The new stage MakoMart is based on a large supermarket in America. The update also took place on Black Friday in America, which was why Squids are buying a lot of things in the trailer.
Arowana Mall and Walleye Warehouse are two more stages that have returned. Arowana Mall looks like it has more passages because there are changes in tenants and also renovation work, so the composition has changed. Meanwhile, Walleye Warehouse has no changes at all, because considering that the team already changed a lot of things, they wanted to have at least one map that stayed intact. The only thing that’s different in this map is the graffiti which is based on the winner of Famitsu’s Squid Fashion Contest.
All members in the band Ink Theory graduated from music university, so they are well-educated girls who also do aggressive things. The band members wearing neckties are respecting the Hightide Era from the prequel.
The final question is asking for plans on future updates, with Nogami responding as follows:
“What we have announced this time will be added by February 2018, but as we have announced before release, we will continue adding weapons and stages for a year, and Splatfests for two years. Other than that, we will also continue to make more updates including rebalancing, so in both aspects of battles and part-time jobs, please continue looking forward to Splatoon 2!”