2015 Game of the Year #6: Splatoon (Tie)

This week Shacknews is counting down its top ten 2015 Games of the Year, as tabulated by both staff votes and input from our own Chatty community. At a tie with Pillars of Eternity for the #6 spot is Splatoon, the Wii U shooter with a unique Nintendo twist. 

Ozzie Mejia, Senior Editor: Splatoon was a weird concept for me going in, just because I've always had a pre-conceived notion of what a shooter is supposed to be. Then I remembered that Nintendo loves to turn these conventions on their head. I should have expected the same here.

As much as I love the run-of-the-mill shooter, Splatoon feels so different in its rules, its concept, its mechanics, and even its controls. It's all-out chaos, but in a more wholesome way. It's the kind of shooter chaos that you can enjoy with anyone and that's why I loved Splatoon so much this year.

Steve Watts: Editor-in-Chief: It's such a strange concept that it's almost not even a shooter. Nintendo was smart to deemphasize combat, since it makes for a much friendlier environment. Everyone can contribute, whether or not they're a crack shot. Want to hang back and cover the floors near home base? That's perfectly valid and helpful! Welcome aboard, squid kid!

I think we also have to give credit to Splatoon for setting the tone of Nintendo's apparent new service-oriented philosophy. It began taking season passes seriously with Mario Kart 8, but Splatoon's summer of content is different. Nintendo knew it had to strike out with an absurd amount of continuing support to make a mark in the shooter space, and it delivered. It's a trend the company looks to be continuing with Super Mario Maker, which we can hope is a good sign going forward for its other franchises that would benefit from the same constantly-fresh approach.

OM: And unlike all of Nintendo's other season pass content, it's pretty much all been for free! Nintendo knew it had an unknown and unproven quantity, so rather than offer a bunch of premium content, just offer a lot of it for free and let people grow to love it. That went a long way towards people coming back to Splatoon and I've loved the weapons and the new stages that have been introduced. It's like the game's slowly evolved over the course of the past year and a lot of depth has been added to it. Tower Control and Rainmaker have been wildly entertaining and have really kept this game alive.

SW: Plus, providing a constant stream of content was an easy way to address the criticisms that it was content-light at launch. I think the initial package is absolutely worthwhile for how unique it is as a shooter, but just in case any potential players still had concerns Nintendo addressed them preemptively. It was a smart way to keep a game in the public consciousness when it could've otherwise been forgotten way too quickly. And that would be a shame, because it's such a fine-tuned idea that I'd hate to see it fall by the wayside.

OM: Yeah, I don't think we have to worry about that anymore. It's more than proven itself this year.

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