Over the past few years, Nintendo has seen the Splatoon series skyrocket in popularity. As part of that rise to prominence, the fan community has scoured the game's lore for any hints to the mysteries of Splatoon's post-apocalyptic world. I sat down with producer Hisashi Nogami to finally get the answers the fans deserve.

For more with Nogami, check out this interview where he talks about the Octo Expansion, Biggie and Tupac, and the inklings appearing in Super Smash Bros.

 

The upcoming Octo Expansion takes place in a subway system. What prevents the subway from being flooded when there's so much water everywhere?

That's a really good question! [Laughs] I think the best answer is to probably say that we can't quite be sure where it is that this Octo Expansion is taking place, whether it's simply beneath the surface of the Splatoon world or if it's in its own sort of sealed-off location somewhere.

We have said that it is underground in some way. We had this idea, when we were creating the Octo Expansion, of "deep sea" as a sort of background setting. I can't quite be sure as to what level the water has come to in that location quite yet.

It is true that the inklings will sort of disappear into a puff of smoke when they touch water, so I'm going to really have to think about where the physical location of the Octo Expansion is. [Laughs] We have said "deep sea," but whether it's actually in the water is something that we have to consider.

It might just be that this is a sort of secret underground laboratory of sorts, so it might just be that they have some type of mysterious technology they're using to keep the water out.

What is the tastiest item on the menu of the Crust Bucket?

If I could choose one, the Galactic Seanwich is the one I would choose! [Laughs] We've actually seen people trying to make these menu items using real-world foods as well, but I didn't see any reviews about how delicious they were.

But you would try a Galactic Seanwich in real life?

If I have the right opportunity, I might even try to make one! [Laughs]

Do Pearl and Marina know they're in a video game? They seem very self-aware.

Oh, that's a really difficult question. I think that if you play Splatfests, you'll occasionally see them say things that may put their position somewhere in the middle of Splatoon and our world in the references that they're making. They also fulfill this role of discussing what stages are upcoming and the news, but when it comes to Splatfest, we wanted to make the Off the Hook characters something that's a bit closer to reality, as Splatfests are events that expand beyond the boundaries of the game and occasionally tie elements of our world into Splatoon.

So it just might be that during those moments of Splatfest, they may have an occasional inkling that they are characters in some sort of a virtual space in the world of a video game. When it comes to the Splatfests, there is this Japanese idea of a Matsuri, which is a Japanese-style festival. In Japan, those Matsuri festivals usually have some kind of a female shaman, who is kind of the leader of the festival in Japanese tradition. These characters – whether it's Callie and Marie or Pearl and Marina – take on those roles in the Splatfests as well.

It might just be that in these special events that are Splatfests, the characters leading the Splatfests may come into contact with consciousness greater than their own! [Laughs] It might just be that they're speaking words that aren't even their own.

Bisk, the spider crab who works at Shella Fresh, has six legs with shoes on them. Is that why he decided to get a job at the shoe store in Inkopolis?

He's actually a musician. [If you look at Shella Fresh] he's got a guitar in the background, so he plays in a band. But being a musician, as you may know, doesn't always pay the bills [Laughs], so he got a job here at the shoe shop, but he hasn't thrown away his dream of becoming great rock star. I think he's probably a fan of shoes, too. You can see how many he's wearing.

Does he get good deals or an employee discount for working there?

Judging from the number of shoes he's got, I would say probably. [Laughs]

Is there a name for the transformation state in between kid and squid?

We don't really have a name for it, but it is kind of creepy because if you notice, when you're in between two forms, you're made out of liquid and it's a little bit gross. [Laughs] In the same way that insect can metamorphize, like how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, it might be somewhere in the middle like that. I'm not sure what the name would be.

One of the key mechanics is being able to swim through the color of ink that you're spraying. When the inklings do this, are they becoming one with the liquid, or are they sinking beneath the surface of the ground?

At least in my mind, they're becoming a liquid. They've sort of changed forms to become something long and thin that allows them to slip through the ink at great speed. It's not that they lose their shape completely but... wow you've really put it to me here, this is difficult... [Laughs] I guess maybe it's something a little closer to jellyfish where they can become really flat and stretched out, still holding their shape as they're slipping through the ink.

In my mind, it's not that they melt completely or dissolve completely into the ink, but that they still hold sort of a shape and know, "Okay, I'm still a squid!" as they're swimming along.

That's the first time I've gotten that type of question! [Laughs]

Have the inklings tried to do any research to adapt to be able to actually touch water?

I don't think that the inklings themselves are probably doing that research. They kind of live in the now and they're creatures that sort of live for fun, [laughs] so they just kind of accept that water just doesn't work well for them. They've just kind of accepted that.

Do the inklings know that at one point in the past, squids could go in water?

So this is just one of my own theories I have, but these inklings have gone through a lot to evolve from the squids that we know to the creatures that they've become in this world. In that evolution, one of their characteristics is that they can change their forms freely. But again, one of my theories is that one of the downsides to being able to so freely change their form is that their outer membrane is thin and very permeable, so when it comes into contact with another liquid surface like water, that the ink within them will just sort of bleed out and that may be the cause of the problem.

For the inklings, in the process of their evolution, which has made them better in some ways. One of the downsides of that is that they've lost the ability to swim around in water. That's just something they've had to toss aside in their evolution. The salmonids [from Splatoon 2's Salmon Run mode], in a different way have evolved, but for some reason they are still able to enter water and swim around.

Are the creatures of Splatoon's universe much bigger now than they once were before they evolved, or has the world been scaled to their smaller size?

This is something that I've not even thought that much about. [Laughs] I suppose it's probably something a bit in the middle that the scale of the world may have changed over time, but also that in their evolution, these creatures have changed in scale as well.

We may think that an inkling stands this tall, but unless we do further research, we may never get the answer to that.

For more burning questions about your favorite franchises, check out our similar features about PokémonYoshi's Woolly World, Sonic the Hedgehog (here and here), and Mortal Kombat.