One of the slightly frustrating things about Splatoon 2 is that the popular Salmon Run mode isn’t always available for play. One of the two western developers who work at Nintendo, Jordan Amaro, has recently participated in an interview with Glixel and has explained that the reason behind this decision is that it all comes down to how Japanese developers think about game design compared to those in the west.
“In Japan, everything is tailored. You’ve probably heard Sheena Iyengar’s TED talk, in which she went to a restaurant in Japan and tried to order sugar in her green tea. The people at the cafe said, “One does not put sugar in green tea,” and then, “We don’t have sugar.” But when she ordered coffee instead, it did come with sugar! In Japan, there’s a sense of, “We’re making this thing for you, and this is how we think this thing is better enjoyed.” This is why, in Splatoon, the maps rotate every couple of hours. And the modes change. “I bought this game. Why can’t I just enjoy this game the way I want?” That’s not how we think here. Yes, you did buy the game. But we made this game. And we’re pretty confident about how this game should be enjoyed. If you stick with us, and if you get past your initial resistance, you’re going to have the time of your life with this game. You’re really going to love it.”
“You have to trust us that if you could play Salmon Run online anytime, that would result in a worse experience for you and everybody.” To an American like me, that feels really hostile and a little dramatic. Then again, how many times have I been late to appointments or hanging with friends because the burden of choice made me hesitate when I was picking a restaurant or thinking about what I wanted on my burger? Not being able to play Salmon Run at certain times of the day feels like an inconvenience, but maybe Nintendo’s actually doing me a favor. Now I’ll go to bed instead of staying up all night playing Splatoon!”