At GDC 2018, Nintendo held a panel talking about the development of one of their latest hit franchise, Splatoon.
The prototype of the game started out as little tofu blocks spitting ink, that was when the concept took off and the team needed to find characters to replace the tofus.
The team thought of many different characters, from using existing Nintendo characters, to rabbits and squids. However, as they wanted to distance the IP from existing ones, they shortlisted the list to either the rabbits or squids.
Splatoon series producer Hisashi Nogami said:
“Rabbits can be both black and white, making them easy to separate into teams,” Nogami said. “We also learned that rabbits are apparently very territorial creatures. We wanted to use brightly colored inks and thought they would contrast well with the neutral color of the rabbits.”
Did you know the characters originally in development for #Splatoon were planned as rabbits instead of Inklings!? Check out this fun image of what might have been, from Mr. Nogami’s #GDC18 panel today. pic.twitter.com/Tk5vyQgH0u
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 21, 2018
However, the team eventually settled for squids after coming up with the idea of allowing the character to move faster through swimming in its ink.
After settling the characters, the development team decided that the game will adopt their current approach and periodically release DLCs to allow players to keep coming back. This was important as player population is the driving force behind multiplayer games.
“As you’re likely aware, creating and maintaining a player base is one problem that online multiplayer games have to wrestle with,” he said. “If the population is too low, finding people to play against can take time. If the problem is bad enough, you wont be able to find opponents, and the game becomes unplayable. By adding new weapons, stages, and modes as player familiarity with the game increased and the community evolved, we hoped to keep the game fresh for players.”
You can take a look at some of the slides shown during the panel below: