Who here likes to be in charge? Show of hands! With Splatoon, you don’t really get to take control of your destiny. There’s no voice chat, so it isn’t like you can order the other players on your team around.
In fact, prior to the August 5 update, you were at the whims of fate when it came to any sort of Splatoon match. A player would head to the lobby, pick a Ranked or Regular Match, and hope for the best. Even if you wanted to tag along with a friend, you had to cross your fingers that you’d be in their next match.
The Splatoon Private Battles change all that. When you become the room owner in a Private Battle, you become something of a god to the other players. (Editor’s Note: You are not really a god.) The person who creates the room controls everything.
It starts with an optional password. A four digit password can be applied to a room so only the people the creator wants in can get in. Once someone has the password, they’re good. In the match I played last night, one of my friends was even able to follow me into the room once he had the password.
Once the room has been created, the host dictates every element of the Splatoon match. They choose the mode, with Turf War, Tower Control, and Splat Zones available. They decide the map everyone will use. They even determine the teams.
I was sampling the Splatoon Private Battles last night. We began with a 2 on 3 match, with a friend and I facing off against four people we know. They won, but we had over 25% coverage to prevent a total shutout. From there, we went to more rounded battles of three on three, and eventually reached a point where four on four were possible. Though, at one point we did go with a three on four match.
The possibility to directly influence Splatoon Private Battles is invaluable. It’s a feature that should have been in the shooter from the very start. My only observation is that it feels like a mode that would have benefited from voice chat. When my friends and I played, we had a simultaneous Skype session to compliment the experience. Without that, the match determinations would have seemed very one sided.
The Splatoon Private Battles are available in the game right now, following a title update.