It's now less than a day until our next Nintendo Direct or, to be more precise, a Splatoon Direct. Nintendo is mimicking its Direct scheduling approach from 2014, filling the spaces between its latest major broadcast and E3 with presentations focused on retail releases. Mario Kart 8 had its own - fairly lengthy - Direct not long before it arrived, and it lifted the lid on details while also delivering a pretty entertaining show. Mario Kart TV and slow-mo replays were used to brilliant comedic effect.
With Splatoon, though, it feels like we already know a great deal about its various modes. There have been Tumblr posts and spots in broader Direct broadcasts, along with preview events that allowed the likes of us to share our initial impressions.
So what's there still to learn, and how can Nintendo make the most of the broadcast? That Mario Kart 8 equivalent we mentioned was uploaded to YouTube with little fanfare, whereas this Splatoon equivalent was announced with nearly a week's notice. With that in mind it has a bit of pressure to deliver, in addition to the fact that Splatoon is carrying Nintendo's late Spring / early Summer hopes for its home console.
So what can we expect, and what do we want to see? Let's break it down.
Plenty of Humour
If the Mario Kart 8 Direct of last year is a template we can expect a light-hearted, slightly silly tone. Splatoon is perfectly suited to this with its quirky design, bright colours and chaotic action - marketing so far (through the Tumblr and commercials targeting young gamers) also point to comedy as a likely component.
Daft guns, squid fashion and dramatic ink-based takedowns can all be used to make us smile. If this Direct is in the 20-30 minute range, it'll need some humour to keep us interested.
A Breakdown of All Game Modes
For those that have kept up to date with announcements and Nintendo Direct details, plenty is already known. We have the single player campaign, casual and ranked online modes, local multiplayer and amiibo figures that unlock challenges (which then unlock equipment). We've seen in-game stores, the role of items to buff abilities and more.
Yet part of this broadcast will be recapping these details for those that have missed the memo to date. For the most observant of fans this'll mean some twiddling of thumbs, but hopefully that aforementioned humour will keep it ticking over.
Demo to be Available Following the Presentation
We're drifting into the wishlist now, and this one seems quite unlikely; yet to be fair, Nintendo's hardly consistent in this area. It's almost religiously dodged demos in many cases, yet caused an internet meltdown when it released one (to Club Nintendo members initially) for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.
A demo would certainly be logical for Splatoon - it's a new IP in a genre largely ignored by Nintendo, while it has a clever control scheme worth showing off. Introducing Wii U owners to this title with a few single player stages / tutorials could be a smart move. In a perfect world there'd be limited online match options as per the Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate demo on 3DS, too.
Announcement of Online Teams, Clans and Tournaments
In our dreams, but perhaps Nintendo will defy the odds here. We already know that voice chat won't be available in online matches - even among friends - which makes this a long shot, but due to matches being team-based there's a lot of logic in allowing gamers to organise themselves and compete in a structured way. The ability to form online teams - or clans, if you prefer the term - could be terrific, and online tournament functionality could also be fun. Imagine entering a knock-out round where all teams must be present, or even a points-based setup where the best team is given prizes of coins or equipment.
Nintendo's heritage with these sorts of features is somewhat all over the place. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U still lacks the promised online Tournies, yet we have games such as Mario Kart 8 and Code Name S.T.E.A.M. with solid online multiplayer and tournament elements.
Splatoon is, let's not forget, primarily an online multiplayer experience. That's how it was originally revealed and remains the focus of its marketing, with the single player mode almost being an afterthought. It would be a great pity if online matches were simply random, chaotic affairs. Nintendo fans have Miiverse, social networks and forums on which to organise themselves, we just need the in-game means to team up and battle as intended.
DLC, of Course
Those working on Splatoon have already talked up DLC, and considering Nintendo's enthusiasm for the concept in multiple major releases it seems like a no brainer. Additional challenges, single player levels, arenas, equipment and more are all within scope for DLC.
This being a shooter, we do hope that cynicism is avoided in favour of extra content that enhances the game at a fair price. More the Mario Kart 8 approach than the pricey outfits of Super Smash Bros., we'd suggest.
The only sticking point in the potential for DLC to feature in the presentation is that Nintendo may not want to discuss it just yet, especially as it often - but not always - prefers to avoid the stigma of day one DLC, or implying that content is stripped out of the initial release to be sold separately. We shall see, but this could be an announcement for a future day.
Those are some of the features and details we expect or want to see in the upcoming Splatoon Direct. Don't forget that it's all happening on 7th May at 7am Pacific / 10am Eastern / 3pm UK / 4pm CET, and we'll be broadcasting each regional stream with live blogs here on Nintendo Life, with news and reaction once it's all finished.
While we wait for that, let us know what you expect - or want - in this Direct in the poll and comments below.