The Splatoon universe (スプラトゥーン, Splatoon) refers to the Super Smash Bros. collection of elements originating from the eponymous franchise. It is a series of third-person shooters currently consisting of two games where players take on the role of Inklings, a race of humanoid squid-like beings, and fight in paintball-styled sport matches by using a variety of weapons that use their ink to kill opponents and cover the ground in ink of their color.
In the past, first- and third-person shooter games had rarely been developed by Nintendo, instead being made by second or third party developers (as seen with Rare's GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64), mostly because of Nintendo's stance on family-friendly content. The shooter genre itself has become gritty and realistic in recent years, with franchises like Call of Duty and Halo, and while these games have been and continue to be impressive graphically, fans agree the games have gotten progressively staler with each installment, with little room for innovation within the games themselves. To the surprise of many, at E3 2014, it was announced that Nintendo themselves were developing an online multiplayer third-person shooter, to be called Splatoon. The game was a fresh take on the shooter genre, featuring creatures called Inklings shooting ink at each other in a turf war battle style, with the victorious team being whichever could cover the most area with their ink. Inklings themselves are capable of transforming into squids, allowing them to speed through the battlefield through their own ink (and simultaneously recharge their ink supply). The team behind the development of Splatoon was made up of core developers within the Animal Crossing series, later joined by the director of Star Fox 64 3D.
Splatoon features a multitude of different modes for the player to enjoy. The multiplayer mode has different kinds of battles for players to participate in, but the Turf Wars are at the forefront of the game, where players shoot ink in an arena for a predetermined time of three minutes. In that time, the player must cover as much territory as possible with their ink; they may recharge their ink supply by transforming into their squid form while standing on their own ink. If they are hit enough times by a player on the opposing team, they will respawn after four seconds, and can move once again after another four seconds (though this eight second time frame can be shortened with certain abilities). There are also special themed Splatfest Battles where players can pick teams based on two choices depending on the region (including cats and dogs, the past and the future, being physically fit or being rich, and even special crossover Splatfests with Pokémon and SpongeBob SquarePants). These Splatfest battles are announced by Callie and Marie, of the in-universe Squid Sisters pop duo; the two also announce when stages change in the multiplayer modes, happening every four hours.
Other multiplayer modes include Ranked Battles, where players can participate in one of three modes: Splat Zone battles feature King of the Hill-type battles where players fight for control over a particular area in the stage; Tower Control battles feature players taking control of a tower, and they have to remain in control of it so that it reaches their base before the other team's; Rainmaker battles are centered around players grabbing the titular Rainmaker weapon and carrying it to the other team's base, with opponents being able to pop the shield surrounding the Rainmaker, resulting in a large explosion. Players can make teams with their friends in the Squad Battle mode or Private Battle mode as well, with the latter allowing the players to choose the battle type as well.
When the game was being developed, characters were one of the later thoughts the team had. Originally, the player was represented by a box with a nose (affectionately referred to by the development team as blocks of tofu), but as time went on, the team thought up ideas regarding anthropomorphic squids, rabbits, and even Mario characters. However, the team wanted the game to be an original IP and not make it a part of the Mario franchise, as well as not finding a reason for rabbits to shoot paint at each other. The squid idea was expanded upon, and eventually resulted in the creation of the Inklings.
Splatoon was released on May 28th, 2015 in Japan, the following day in North America and Europe, and two days after in Australia. It was critically acclaimed for its innovative ideas, and became the fifth-fastest selling Wii U title in the UK. Over time, the game saw numerous updates with Nintendo adding in new weapons and modes, as well as continuous Splatfests.
Splatoon-like gameplay was spotted in the official reveal trailer for the Nintendo Switch, and months later, it was announced that a sequel to Splatoon, Splatoon 2, would be released for the new console. On July 21st, 2017, Splatoon 2 released worldwide to another round of critical acclaim. Splatoon 2 kept several aspects of the first game, but also brought its own fair share of changes, switching Callie and Marie out with Pearl and Marina, of the in-universe Off the Hook pop duo, and featuring several new modes. A new Ranked Battle mode, Clam Blitz, was added the December after Splatoon 2's release and features players attempting to fill the enemy team's basket, and if ten clams are collected, the player obtains a Power Clam which possesses the ability to destroy the barrier around the basket if it is thrown at it; League Battles replace the Squad Battles from the previous game; Salmon Run has players collecting a set amount of salmon eggs while fighting off enemies in a set of three waves. On March 8th, 2018, it was revealed in a Nintendo Direct that paid DLC would be coming to Splatoon 2 on July 31st, 2018 (a first for the series, as previous DLC was in the form of updates), in the form of the Octo Expansion, focusing on a new character, Agent 8, an Octoling who has lost their memories and wants to escape the underground subways and testing facilities, fighting the Octarians who have turned against them to get to the surface. Upon beating the mode, Octolings will become playable in multiplayer matches and Splatfests. At E3 2018, it was revealed that the expansion would be released sooner, and was made to download on June 13th, 2018.
While it is a small first appearance, the Splatoon universe makes its debut in Super Smash Bros. 4, in the form of Mii Fighter costumes and a trophy.
Inklings are confirmed to appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as unlockable playable characters. The main theme from Splatoon, Splattack!, was also used in the reveal trailer for the game, and a new synthesized remix of it is being used in the Moray Towers stage.
Nine other songs were shown to be included, but it is unknown which they are.
Main article: List of spirits (Splatoon series)
The kanji aruji "主" denotes a Master Spirit.
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
Li'l Judd makes a cameo alongside Judd on Moray Towers. Pearl and Marina, Jelfonzo, and the Octo Expansion Octolings make an appearance as Spirits. Crusty Sean's Spirit uses his design from this game. The Inklings' Splatoon 2 designs are used as Mii Fighter costumes.
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