Voice chat has been a hot topic regarding Splatoon 2 of late, beginning with the reveal of the game's admittedly odd Hori headset and culminating with Nintendo's price and release window revelations regarding its paid online service last night. As such, you'd be forgiven for assuming a video released by Nintendo entitled "Splat Chat" might have something to do with voice chat in Splatoon 2, but alas, it does not. Still, it does contain worthwhile information regarding the upcoming Splatoon 2 invitational, strategies that will undoubtedly be at play, and changes to the game's Ranked Battle Modes.
Like with the original Splatoon, Ranked Battles include Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Rainmaker. Splat Zones' tweaks are the most minor, remaining largely the same except for noticeable tweaks to the UI. The main change is a small meter in the top center of the screen, constantly illustrating territory needed by each team to relinquish control and "change hands." While this doesn't directly affect gameplay per se, it is nice to have a visual representation of how close your team is to wresting majority territory control at a given moment.
Conversely, Tower Control is seeing more substantial adjustments, with added placeable checkpoints that last for a full five to eight seconds. This move is clearly designed to introduce fiercer competition en route to towers; rather than simply bolt for the goal and engage in the ensuing blood bath (or more aptly, ink bath), skirmishes will break out along the way, allowing for greater variety of scenarios and outcomes. The change will no-doubt introduce more strategies as well, as teams may cluster around checkpoints at opportune moments or place them with clever timing.
Lastly, the way the Rainmaker weapon itself operates in Rainmaker mode has been altered, shifting from more of a "chargeable tornado" style to something that resembles a powerful beam weapon, albeit with a bit more timing and skill required to aim and launch it properly. The idea is presumably to introduce a bit more skill to the mode, rather than have the Rainmaker as something of a devastating wild card, though it certainly still falls under that category. Regardless, with Nintendo pushing Splatoon 2's status as an esport, it only makes sense that layers of skill and strategy are being slowly but steadily added.
Splatoon 2's launch is coming up fast, with a worldwide Nintendo Switch release date of July 21st. Before that is motion brawler ARMS on June 16th, and both games will be featured in their own respective competitive tournaments at the upcoming Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles June 12-15th. For all the details on how to tune in, check out our coverage.