A portion of a Game Informer interview with producer Hisashi Nogami and lead programmer Shintaro Sato...
GI: The implementation of Miiverse in the first Splatoon was sort of bizarre and interesting. You see everything from people leaving funny messages on the walls of your plaza to even conspiracy theories. Is there any sort of implementation of a sharing of messages like this in Splatoon 2 with no Miiverse on Switch?
Nogami: That's a good question and it's nice to hear that you enjoyed in Splatoon 1 the ability to post messages and artwork. Our idea with that feature was that after playing multiplayer, your plaza is populated with some of the people you played with and in creating this Miiverse functionality, it was that you weren't just competing against these people but also that you were seeing what they are thinking and it's some way to meet players indirectly and maybe see what the player base is thinking and create a sort of community atmosphere. This would mean that each time you enter the plaza, you would have some sort of update and some sort of change to the environment.
As you pointed out, while we don't have Miiverse on the Nintendo Switch, we have made sure to allow players in the same way to post artwork on the ground and walls, or messages to other players. So I think players will be able to continue communicating in an indirect fashion and seeing what players from around the Splatoon 2 community are thinking.
GI: Another way that the plaza got personality and updates was Splatfest. Will we see some new surprises with Splatfest this year? How do you keep that party-like atmosphere exciting?
Nogami: First of all, we are definitely planning to continue Splatfest in Splatoon 2. As I mentioned with the players posting messages and artwork in the plaza, Splatfest is a way that we feel that by creating that festival atmosphere, we're able to create a sense of unity or an indirect way of communicating that they are participating and sharing the same type of event. You can rest assured that while we'll give you more detailed information later on what that may look like, we will be decorating the Inkopolis Square in a party and festive way.
GI: Why did you decide to keep voice chat to friends and other close players as opposed to just general matchmaking?
Nogami: First off, I think it's appropriate to say that we think that voice chat is a type of communication that's not necessarily required for players to enjoy the game. At its core in the multiplayer gameplay, we think the most important thing is to be constantly paying attention to the conditions on the ground in the stage you're playing and to think about what your teammates are doing and what might the opponents be doing. That's sort of a core gameplay element.
But, it's true that in the development of its community, there have appeared a number of high-level players and players who want to take the game more seriously. For players like that who want to take their communication and coordination to the next level, we wanted to answer their expectations by including something like voice chat.
It's also natural that talking to your friends is fun. So even for the players who are seriously minded, we've realized that being able to share the experience via voice chat is fun and we wanted to make that possible for them. We wanted to include voice chat as an option for voice chat in Splatoon 2 without giving people the feeling that you need voice chat in order to play Splatoon 2.
GI: In Splatoon 1, only Splatoon Amiibo figures had functionality in the game. In Splatoon 2, do Amiibos outside of the Splatoon series have any functionality at all?
Nogami: Just the Splatoon series of Amiibo will work with Splatoon 2.
Sato: One thing you may remember from Splatoon 1 was when you place the Amiibo, we wanted there to be some sort of interaction between the player character and the Amiibo. Because of that, we thought that in the Splatoon world, the best Amiibo to interact with the characters would be the Splatoon series Amiibo.
GI: So you don't want to give a Mario hat to your Inkling?
Nogami: It is true, after all, that in the world of Splatoon 2, this is a world where the human civilization has fallen away and it's been 12,000 years of evolution since that time. It could be that if someone were to uncover or excavate a hat like [Mario's] that it may be possible. We can't cancel out that possibility entirely. It's also worth mentioning that you can use the Splatoon 1 Amiibo in Splatoon 2.