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Nintendo's new multiplayer shooter Splatoon made a big splash at E3 2014, but the developers have told interviewers that they tried different things during the prototyping process, including robots and macho men.
When GameInformer asked the developers about how a new license proceeds through development at Nintendo, Splatoon producer Hisashi Nogami and co-director Tsubasa Sakaguchi said that they had considered squids but that the process of settling on them took a lot longer.
Even at the time of that prototype, there was the ability to hid in the ink—squash down in it. At that time, we weren't describing it as diving into the ink. You just kind of got squashed down into it. But then, in order to make the hide in your own ink ability more useful, we started adding other abilities, like the ability to move very quickly through the ink. That was the kind of thing that started to make us think maybe the squids would be better. That's where we kind of game up with this concept about making the game about switching between the person and being a squid. When you're a person you can shoot the ink, everyone can see you, and you're moving a little bit slowly. When you're a squid, you're fast and you can hide, and you can charge up your ink, but you can't do any attacking.
When we decided to make the game about switching, we got a really good reaction and we were having a lot of fun playing the game. While we were thinking about the mechanics and player abilities, our art director was coming up with assorted character designs. We had—right from the beginning—all these different ideas, the squids being one of them. We had robots, different animals, macho men, and Mario—existing IP. Right from the start we had all these different choices.
As the team continued to create new abilities for players in-game, they realized that squids would allow them to continue pushing new ideas in the third-person shooter genre.
It used to be, when you were in the ink you just moved fast, but now we could explain it as you were swimming. Before, the player just sort of squished down into the ink, but now we could have them dive in. From there, the sound directors and the people working in the graphics were able to add the sound effects and the wake you leave behind while swimming that make it the game you see today.
Rather than the squids being the first domino—the new game, the new IP—it was more like we were creating the whole way and the squid was a piece over on the side, and it became the final piece we put in.
We got hands-on with Splatoon at E3 2014. Be sure to check out our preview here.