Nintendo has a reputation for being one of the most innovative and experimental video game developers in the world. This extends to both the games they produce and the hardware that they release.
Despite this, Nintendo takes a long time to release games based on new intellectual properties. They would rather release another Mario Party or a piece of Pokémon shovelware than taking a risk on something that is brand new.
In 2015, Nintendo finally released an innovative new game that wasn't connected to any of their other franchises. Splatoon was a shooter title released for the Wii U. It was a game where you fired ink, in an effort to cover as much of the playing field as possible. Splatoon has recently received a sequel on the Nintendo Switch, which promises to take the competitive gaming world by storm.
We are here today to look at Nintendo's freshest franchise of all.
From the headgear that was taken out for potentially being seen as racist to the animated future of the franchise, here are the 15 Things You Didn't Know About Splatoon.
15 A Piece Of Native American Headwear Is Hidden In Splatoon's Programming
Splatoon is a game that is defined by its aesthetic. Nintendo went out of their way to make the game as trendy as possible. They borrowed elements from things like skater culture and the idol fashions that are popular in Japan.
This is reflected in the gameplay, as you can choose the headgear, outfit, and shoes of your Inkling. These three pieces of clothing grant passive abilities to your character, which can aid you in battle.
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There is a piece of headgear hidden within Splatoon's files that cannot be accessed through normal gameplay. It is a Native American headdress that is adorned with feathers. The headdress is fully functional and can be made playable by hacking the game.
It was most likely cut at a late stage in development when someone informed Nintendo that the inclusion of this article of clothing might be perceived as insensitive, or even racist, by gamers in North America.
14 The Free Slot Glitch
Splatoon used an experimental business model that Nintendo tried out for the first time. When the game was first released, it lacked features, maps, and modes. Nintendo promised to release free updates throughout the first year of the game's release.
This was seen as a positive move by fans, and the lack of modes didn't deter sales, as they knew more stuff was coming. Nintendo would later reuse this model with Arms.
As Nintendo was constantly updating Splatoon, it meant that glitches were dealt with quickly. One of the most notorious was the "Free Slots Exploit". This allowed you to talk to Spyke and get a free gear order, new ability slot, or ability reroll per map rotation.
You could do this by paying Spyke and speaking to Judd, who would give the player cash based on their vibe points, as well as restoring their money to the balance it was before they spoke to Spyke. This was a very useful exploit that was quickly killed by Nintendo in a patch.
13 The Inklings Originally Looked More Like Squids Than Kids
When it was decided that Splatoon would be a wholly new franchise, it was up to staff to come up with some interesting new character designs. The developers of Splatoon mostly came from the staff that produces the Animal Crossing series, which means that they were used to creating cute animal characters who had a laid back personalities (Mr. Resetti not withstanding).
It was decided early on that Splatoon would be a game about covering as much of a map with ink as possible. The characters used during this alpha testing stage were just featureless white blocks, which the staff referred to as tofu.
The developers decided that squids would make for the best animal to star in the game, as they naturally produce ink. These original inklings looked like squids wearing skater clothes. However, the design of the Inklings was refined so that they looked more like humans.
Their limbs were reduced to four and they were given realistic flesh tones. The final version of the Inklings looked more like rebellious teens with an impish design rather than cephalopods.
12 Splatoon Almost Starred Rabbits
The idea of using tofu characters actually stuck around for a long time during Splatoon's development. This was because the developers originally envisioned the game with the Wii U's unique hardware in mind.
Splatoon was originally planned to be played on the Wii U Gamepad, while the TV depicted an overhead map. The tofu characters would blend in with their same colored ink on the map, which allowed them to hide from other players who looked at the television. This idea later evolved into the Inklings ability to hide within the ink while in their squid form.
Splatoon's tofu characters were eventually abandoned in favor of rabbits. This was because rabbits can be white, which means that they would stand out when they are inked. They also have long ears, which makes them easier to see in a hectic battle.
The rabbits were abandoned after the development team sought the advice of other people within Nintendo. The consensus was that it didn't make much sense for rabbits to be shooting ink at each other, so squids were chosen as a replacement.
11 The Squid Sisters Had Real Life Concerts
Splatoon doesn't have any main characters. Everyone creates their own Inkling when they start a new game. Your own personal Inkling will soon look different from all of the others in the game, due to the abundance of clothes items available for sale.
The closest thing Splatoon had to main characters were the Squid Sisters. These were two Inkling pop stars who gave regular updates on the maps that were available to play and provided players with any new events that were taking place. The Squid Sisters were called Callie and Marie, and they quickly became the breakout stars of the game.
Callie and Marie became so popular that they appeared at live musical performances across the world, though they were at their most popular in Japan. These concerts used 3D hologrammatic projections, which is the same technology used with Hatsune Miku concerts.
The songs all come from Splatoon and are sung in a language that resembles Simlish spoken by The Sims.
10 The Octolings Were Going To Be Playable At One Point In Development
The multiplayer modes in Splatoon pit Inklings against each other. There are other races that exist in the world of Splatoon, such as the evil Salmonids that you battle in Splatoon 2.
While the Inklings are based on squids, there is another race in the Splatoon world that is based on the octopi. These are called Octolings and you can battle them in the single player mode of the original Splatoon. A benevolent Octoling named Marina is one of the members of Off The Hook in Splatoon 2.
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the Octolings would have been a playable faction in the original Splatoon. You can find playable Octoling character models within the game's code, though they are unpolished.
These Octolings also have a unique version of the Kraken special attack. However, the playable Octolings were likely cut at an early stage in development.
9 The Truth Behind The Squid Sisters Relationship
Callie and Marie quickly became the most beloved characters in Splatoon. Nintendo pulled a cruel trick on the fanbase with the final Splatfest, as the players were battling over which character they thought was better.
Marie won by a slim margin, as the teams that represented her won by 51%. This final Splatfest was actually incorporated into the story of Splatoon 2, as Callie was so distraught at her loss that she went missing. Marie is still searching for Callie and it is up to the player in Splatoon 2 to help her.
If you play the single player mode in Splatoon, you can hunt down secret items called Sunken Scrolls. These reveal pieces of information about the setting.
One of these scrolls reveals that Callie and Marie are actually cousins and not sisters. It also reveals that Callie and Marie became famous by winning a folk singing contest. They likely chose the Squid Sisters name because the alliteration made it sound cooler.
8 The Famitsu Fan Gear
Famitsu magazine is one of the most popular video game publications in Japan. It once had a reputation for being the strictest with its review scores. It took them twelve years to issue a perfect score to a game, which was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Famitsu's standards have gotten lax over the years, as they have issued perfect scores to other games, such as Nintendogs and Kid Icarus: Uprising. They are still a popular and well-respected publication to this day.
Splatoon earned a positive review in Famitsu. It received a 9/9/9/9, which is very high praise. Famitsu would go on to host a contest for fans to design new gear for Splatoon, which would be included in the game.
The winning design was a selection of gear that resembles something a sushi chef would wear. This is known as the Traditional Set within the game, and consists of an apron, headband, and a pair of sandals.
7 The Squid Sisters Were Originally Going To Be Holy Women
The design of the Squid Sisters was inspired by Japanese idols. These are female pop stars that are marketed based on their cuteness and youthful appearance, rather than their musical talent (which isn't to say that some of them aren't talented).
Idols are a huge industry in Japan, with popular groups selling millions of records a year, which is an amazing feat in this world of easily downloadable songs.
Callie and Marie weren't always going to be pop stars, though. According to the developers, they were originally going to be shrine maidens. This means that they would both be priestesses, who received the literal word of God and would tell it to the people.
It is likely that these holy versions of Callie and Marie would have told the player about the latest map rotations after hearing the divine words of the Almighty, who clearly has nothing better to do with his time. This design was scrapped, however, and Callie and Marie were remade to better fit the world of Splatoon.
6 The Voice Chat Disaster
Nintendo has always been very protective of its family friendly image. This has caused them to fall into last place in the online gaming scene, as they are very restrictive with the ways in which they allow players to communicate with one anther. This might be smart, as no one wants kids to hear what some angry adult says when they are caught in the throes of blue shell fever.
When the Nintendo Switch was first announced, it was revealed that all voice chat would be done through a phone app. The Nintendo Switch Online app is currently out and only works with Splatoon 2. Hori released a Splatoon 2 headset which might be the most needlessly complex peripheral ever released.
The Hori Splatoon 2 headset requires a squid shaped dongle to work. The dongle plugs into your Switch and your smartphone, while you plug the headphones into the dongle. The whole setup is a mess and Nintendo could have saved themselves a lot of aggravation by just releasing a set of compatible Bluetooth headphones for the Switch.
5 Splatoon Was Almost A Mario Game
There is always the temptation for Nintendo to fall back on one of their big properties, instead of coming up with something wholly new. This has been a big mistake, as Nintendo has diluted some of their best brands by over exposing them.
The biggest victim of this is Mario, as Nintendo has released far too many games in the past few years that feature the popular plumber. Captain Falcon has been unemployed for years, while the audience is subjected to more and more Mario Party games.
Shigeru Miyamoto once pushed for Splatoon to star Mario characters. This would likely have included the FLUDD weapon from Super Mario Sunshine, which would fire ink instead of water. However, the developers were adamant that Splatoon should be a brand new intellectual property and Miyamoto was defied.
This was for the best, since the last thing the gaming world needed was Super Mario Sunshine 2: Arena Wars.
4 The International Dialogue Differences
Splatoon meshed design elements from various different fashions and culture scenes. The developers did an amazing job at making it seem cool and not contrived. If the Inklings had come across like Poochie from The Simpsons, then the Splatoon franchise would have suffered immensely.
The dialogue was changed between the American and European versions of the game. Some of this was just changing names to better match the English dialect between the two regions, like changing Grey to Gray and Armour to Armor.
One of the most unusual changes between the versions of Splatoon is the dialogue of some of the characters. Spyke has a Cockney accent in the American version of the game, yet speaks normally in the European version. The end boss of the game also uses musical puns in his speech in the American version of the game, whereas he uses generic threats in the European version.
3 Splatoon Is Set On Earth
The world of Splatoon usually never feels the need to explain itself. Why do groups of Inklings battle each other in ink-covering contests? Who cares? It's fun.
Splatoon does have an excellent single player mode, which reveals some of the background of the setting. The single player mode surprised a lot of fans with how innovative it was, especially as they were expecting a game that was wholly focused on the multiplayer experience.
The single player mode does offer a hidden explanation behind the setting of Splatoon. One of the Sunken Scrolls reveals that the game is actually set on Earth. Mankind was wiped out in some unexplained incident and sea life evolved to take their place.
The Sunken Scrolls reveal the fossilized bones of a human being and the Wii U they were playing with before their demise. The Inklings and their foes either evolved the same fashions as mankind did, or took inspiration from them.
2 The International Splatfest Differences
Splatoon held regular events called Splatfests, where the players were given a choice on a subject (cats vs dogs for example) and would battle it out against teams who chose the other option. The side that had the most amount of victories was declared the winner.
The three main regions of Splatoon actually had mostly different Splatfests. Even the recent cake vs ice cream Splatfest in Splatoon 2 was different in Japan, where it was a choice between pop music and rock music. The Japanese ones were mostly different from the American and European Splatfests, as they occasionally focused on things that the average westerner wouldn't recognize, such as Onigiri and different brands of noodles.
The final Splatfest was the same across the three regions (Callie vs Marie), as the result was eventually written into the story of Splatoon 2. Marie actually won in all three regions, which means that Callie's disappearance is understandable, as the entire world turned on her.
1 A Splatoon Anime Is In Development
With the exception of Pokémon, Nintendo has been reticent to allow their intellectual properties to appear in animated shows or movies. This was likely inspired by the disastrous Super Mario Bros. movie from the early '90s. Nintendo decided to play it safe and has only allowed their less popular characters to appear in animated adaptations, such as Kirby and Captain Falcon.
It seems that Nintendo has loosened up a little on this policy, as a Splatoon anime is in development at the moment. It is being developed by CoroCoro, who have a close relationship with Nintendo.
The Splatoon anime is going to be a web series that is based on the Splatoon manga that is running in CoroCoro magazine. Little information is known about the series at the moment, as it still in the early stages of development.
If any Nintendo franchise can be made into an interesting animated series that doesn't diminish the original game, it's definitely Splatoon.
Can you think of any other interesting facts about Splatoon? Have you played it? Let us know in the comment section!