When Nintendo fails to make an obvious move, you have to wonder: Are they not going to do it…or are they just not going to do it yet?
Last week, the Big N finally gave us a glimpse of the gear provided by the upcoming Octoling amiibos, and as usual, the reveal brought the usual amount of surprises with it. The new gear will be part medieval fantasy, part nightmare fuel (what is that creepy mascot, anyway?), and all very much in line with the current Halloween push (even if these figures aren’t coming until December). While I’m totally on board with the new looks, I was surprised that Nintendo decided not to bring the Salmon Run gear to regular ink battles. The programming and modeling work for these items was already done, and the look is certainly fresh enough to fit in with Splatoons 2‘s bright-and-crazy vibe, so why not take the easy win and bring the Grizzco gear to Turf Wars?
Then again, as I look back on a tweet I posted last July…maybe Nintendo’s thinking about scoring a touchdown rather than settling for a field goal.
Amiibo releases have been few and far between this year (and I’ve publicly questioned whether they’re worth buying at all), but Splatoon 2 is the one series that appears to be using them effectively: Of the eight figures slated for release this year, six of them have been associated with the game (Pearl & Marina, the Octoling trio, and the Smash Bros. Inkling). While Smash Bros. will likely add to the figure release numbers by the end of this year (K. Rool, Simon Belmont, Smash-specific Isabelle, etc.), the fact remains that if Nintendo still wants to make money off of amiibos, Splatoon players are still willing to buy them.
I didn’t talk about the Grizzco gear in my last Splatoon post, so let me make another prediction here: I think a Salmon Run-themed amiibo set will be coming sometime in 2019, bringing a host of old (and perhaps new) Grizzco gear with it.
First, let’s address the question of what the figures would actually look like. The first two seem fairly obvious:
- The Mr. Grizz statue/wood carving seen after entering the Salmon Run area.
- A standard Chum, complete with frying pan.
The third, however, is a bit of a mystery. None of the Boss Salmonids really stand out to me, but some seem a bit more unwieldy as a figure than others (Stingers are too tall, Steel Eels are too long, and Maws are rarely visible long enough to be terribly distinctive). I see either a FlyFish or a Scrapper as the most logical choices, with the special Goldie boss as a wildcard. (Just having a 2-pack similar to Pearl & Marina is also a possibility.)
Next, let’s talk about the gear giveaways:
- Wearables: The Salmon Run hat, overalls, and boots would be given out by one figure, similar to how other full sets are handled. (While the overalls and boots fit together as if they were a single item, I imagine that they are actually separate items that the game draws on the PC just like any other clothing and shoes.) The special-weapon packs on the hat could be included by default, or might only appear when a player actually has their weapon charged in an ink battle.
- Weapons: We’ve seen several weapons that were designed specifically for Salmon Run, and while they might be a bit OP for Turf Wars in their current forms, they could be tweaked to just be re-skinned versions of existing weapons:
Grizzco Weapon Ink Battle Equivalent Grizzco Blaster Clash Blaster Grizzco Brella Undercover Brella Grizzco Charger Bamboozler Grizzco Slosher Explosher
- In-Game Bonuses: This is an avenue Splatoon 2 hasn’t really explored, but a co-op mode like Salmon Run would be the perfect place to allow players to power up via amiibo. Because everyone is working together, having an amiibo unlock a third special attack charge or grant a character bonus (speed, attack, etc.) benefits the entire team, and thus wouldn’t be seen as an unfair advantage (except by the Salmonids). It’s a longshot idea, but it’s definitely a possibility.
In the end, I think bringing the Salmon Run gear to ink battles in Splatoon 2 makes too much sense not to happen, and by tying it to amiibo, Nintendo can create yet another revenue stream that shouldn’t annoy the player base. Creepy mascots are all well and good, but when an opportunity like this comes knocking, Nintendo shouldn’t ignore it.