Splatoon was perhaps the biggest surprise hit on Wii U. In the time since its release in 2015, the colorful, family-friendly shooter has exploded in popularity and spawned a sequel on Nintendo's wildly popular new console, Switch. Just like its predecessor, Splatoon 2 has benefited from numerous free multiplayer updates. However, earlier this month, it was announced that Splatoon 2 is receiving a large single-player expansion this coming summer. The Octo Expansion is the first piece of paid DLC in the series' history.

I caught up with the producer of Splatoon and Splatoon 2 Hisashi Nogami to chat about what fans can expect from the Octo Expansion, as well as topics like the language of the inklings and the internet's speculation of the developer's referencing Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur in the reveal trailer for the Octo Expansion.

Why did you decide to create a new single-player campaign through DLC?

There are actually a few reasons we decided to move forward with the single-player expansion. One of the purposes we gave for the single-player – Hero mode as we call it – in the first and second games was to give people a training ground of sorts to give them different weapons, items, and strategies to take into multiplayer.

After coming out with the games and their content, we've continued to create a variety of new weapons, and we've seen players use these weapons in all sorts of different ways. As developers, with these updates we've been bringing out, we've had new ideas that we've wanted to try out, new situations that we wanted to challenge the player with. We've kind of been storing those up. The first reason we've decided to go with this is that we've had enough of these built up over time that we felt confident that we've got enough ideas that would make for a satisfying single-player experience.

Another reason was being able to use single-player as a way to flesh out story elements that we hadn't been able to so far, whether that's the characters from Off the Hook we've seen in their news capacity to this point, or Captain Cuttlefish, who has been missing since the first game. Now you get to meet up with him and find out what he's been up to.

We want to be able to continue providing fans with these new gameplay and story elements that constitute a really satisfying amount of new content, and something that we feel confident being able to make as paid DLC. We felt that this type of content is best suited as single-player.

We're really sensitive to things like how adding certain kinds of weapons into multiplayer that you have to pay for would create imbalance among the players. We really want to make sure that we keep multiplayer an even playing field for everyone, and a place where the players' skills are on display and that is what decides the matches. But with that said, we did want people to be able to bring the skin or aesthetic of the octolings into multiplayer.

What should fans expect from these single-player stages of the Octo Expansion? Are there any new elements you're hoping to introduce in these stages?

We've said that there are more than 80 of these stages that you'll have to encounter in the Octo Expansion, and among them are those that are really short and those that are longer. In the single-player campaigns until now, the stages have largely been about starting at point-A and making your way to the goal in point-B and the stage is done. That won't necessarily always be the case for the stages in the Octo Expansion. Instead, you may have mission objectives that you need to clear, and once that's cleared, you'll have cleared the stage.

Among those objectives, there are some that may take a really long time to complete and others that you may be able to complete right away. That will depend largely on players' skills. We hope that those differences in stage objectives offer fun enough content for people to go through.

This goes back to our thinking for the single-player as a training ground for multiplayer. There are certain stages in the Octo Expansion where you may need to use a special weapon from the get-go and you'll just have it after starting. For example, a stage that you'll need to clear using the Inkjet, the jetpack special weapon, entirely. For a player that may not have used the Inkjet or decided they didn't want to use it up until now, now they'll need to use it to clear the stage. Maybe they'll end up thinking, "Oh, I really kind of enjoyed that. I can take it into multiplayer and have the confidence to use it there as well."

How is the inkling language developed? I'm always hearing phrases from the inklings that almost sound like English phrases, like "ready!" when they respawn or "quit it!" when they get splatted. Am I hearing things, or are their phrases inspired by real-language phrases?

When creating the inklings speech, we wanted it to not sound too much like any particular language; this was a game we were envisioning making a global product, after all. Of course, for the text, that's been localized to the language of wherever the game is being sold, but when it came to the audio that you hear the characters speak, we really wanted to strive for this kind of neutral ground that would make people think, like you said, that, "Maybe I recognize that from my own language," or "That kind of sounds like something I heard in a foreign language," and keep people guessing.

It might be that while we were creating a system for that, that we would try to pick up intonations of a variety of languages so that this little bit may sound like English, or this bit sounds like something we heard in Spanish.

On the second page, Nogami talks about what it means to have his characters in Super Smash Bros., as well as if the internet is correct that the Octo Expansion announcement trailer referenced Biggie and Tupac.