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Splatoon's Free DLC is Coming to an End in January

What does the end of Splatoon's DLC mean for the future of Nintendo's popular shooter franchise?

News by Nadia Oxford, .

When Splatoon first hit the Wii U last spring, it was a bit light on content. The core game experience was exemplary, but the selection of available stages was sparse.

Over the months, Nintendo's padded out Splatoon nicely with new stages, new game modes, and tons of new weapons and clothing items, all available via free downloads. And the recurring Splatfest events, which give Inklings important issues to fight for (Cats vs Dogs, Pizzas vs Burgers, Autobots vs Decepticons), offer great initiative to get back into the game if you've been dormant for a little while.

It's been fun, but part of the ride is coming to an end early next year. Once the upcoming January 2016 update for Splatoon is live, Nintendo is done with free downloadable content for the game, aside from bug fixes and balance tweaks. There are currently no plans for paid DLC, either.

Splatoon's co-director, Yusuke Amano, and its producer, Hisashi Nogami, talked to GameInformer about the past, present, and future of Nintendo's hit ink-flinging game. When asked specifically about upcoming downloadable content, Amano explained he prefers to let players master all of Splatoon's elements versus piping an endless stream of content into the game.

"I really think of it as content that extends the ways in which you can play Splatoon," he said. "[F]or example, getting used to a certain weapon – at that moment, they would get new weapons and maps, and have to go back to that idea of 'OK, how am I going to figure out how to use this weapon? How am I going to develop strategy for this map?'"

Indeed, when you combine Splatoon's available weaponry with the diversity of the stages on-tap, you're presented with hundreds of war strategies you can theoretically master across months if you have the time and dedication.

It's still kind of sad to learn the days of major Splatoon updates will soon be behind us. We spent the summer falling in love with the Inklings and getting wrapped up in the intensity of their turf wars. School? Work? Forget it -- when you're a kid-squid, all that matters is splatting your foes with '90s-neon ink.

Nintendo might turn around at some point and surprise us with another update, but it seems unlikely for an obvious reason: The NX. In fact, Amano and Nogami may be slipping away from Wii U Splatoon to start (or increase?) work on a version of the game for Nintendo's next-gen hardware. The company could do far worse than unleash the NX with a souped-up iteration of Splatoon.

Either way, the end of DLC hardly marks the end of the healthy Splatoon community. Continue to take up arms and commit acts of vibrant vandalism.

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