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Over on the Splatoon Tumblr, they've revealed that the upcoming Switch shooter will offer something called "LAN Play" and, for those of you old enough to remember what the heck a LAN party is, well, this particular feature is exactly what it sounds like.
According to the announcement, Splatoon 2 will allow folks to connect up to eight Nintendo Switch consoles through local wireless in order to enjoy offline battles. That's pretty common practice for modern mobile games, allowing folks sitting in close proximity to enjoy their game as a group without needing to go online.
However, Nintendo has now pulled back the curtain on LAN Play for Splatoon 2, which will let players also connect up to eight docked systems using a wired LAN setup. In other words, so long as you can plug eight consoles into your hardware and have room for all of those TVs, you're ready to roll with ink-tastic shooting that won't be limited to the portable screen's battery life. The added bonus is that LAN Play will allow groups of players to create their own private tournaments without needing to be hooked up to the internet.
Clearly, Nintendo wants people to come together for big Splatoon 2 tournaments, as they've also included a Private Battle Spectator View feature for when using LAN Play. In short, on top of the eight Switch consoles running the game, an additional two consoles can be hooked up in order to allow viewing of the match-up without being able to join the fray. In other words, you can set up two banks of four consoles where people can play in head-to-head matches, then have two additional TVs set up for people who want to watch the games unfold without interfering with the actual players or watching over their shoulders.
It seems pretty clear at this point that Nintendo wants to turn Splatoon 2 into a serious competitive game, one that comes with baked-in technology that's perfect for playing in more casual tournaments or serious affairs. That's a pretty unexpected move for the publisher, but definitely a welcome one.
It's not hard to imagine massive tournaments being set up for Splatoon 2 with very little effort. While teams wait for their turn to play, they can be competing in matches off to the side using their Switch's portable local play features. Once it's time for a team to compete, they can simply walk up to the tournament rigs, slide in their own Switch consoles and be ready to play.