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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Splatoon's Developers Focused on Player Customisability and Expression in Splatoon 3

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I appreciate the focus, and I think their insights are spot-on.

Have you read the four-part Ask the Developer Vol. 7, Splatoon 3 series published on In my opinion, it doesn't contain spoilers for Splatoon 3, but it does contain significant and interesting insights from Hisashi Nogami (Splatoon producer), Seita Inoue (Splatoon art director), Shintaro Sato (a Splatoon technical director), and Toru Minegishi (head Splatoon sound guy).

One thing that confirmed what I already wrote years ago is that the Splatoon development team waited for the outcome of the Chaos vs. Order Splatfest to determine the theme of Splatoon 3. They outright said in the interview that until they saw the results of the Splatfest, they weren't seriously thinking about the theme of Splatoon 3, so it would've been substantially different if Team Order won. That's why Splatsville is the city of chaos, and many things followed from that, including the different art style, culture, and music. The ethos of the street culture among Inklings and Octolings is that disorder is cool, and that the kids wanted to rebel against the big sophisticated city life from Splatoon 2. That's why the Splatlands are so far away from the very close-together setting of Inkopolis in Splatoon and Splatoon 2.

They start getting into the customisation and expression in Part 2 of the talk, starting with Lockers. These are a first for the series. You can customise a locker with items from the Catalog and the Hotlantis shop, which is a whole shop category that didn't exist in previous games. For example, as an Ace Attorney fan, my locker is simply a Stepladder and The Thinker statue. You can view the Lockers (which are never locked) of some of your Nintendo Switch friends and some random people at any given time. As Nogami said, “The inside of a locker can tell you a lot about the person who owns it.”

Splatoon 3 locker The Thinker Statue Stepladder Ace Attorney
I'd love to fit my Howdy Hat on The Thinker, but it's somehow too big to fit in my locker.
So my Classic Bowler will do?
Also note my So-Called Tableturf Battler Splashtag with the three custom badge slots. Splashtags are new to Splatoon 3.
You can customise the title, your name, the background banner, and the three badges. These things are unlockable.

Sato then reinforced the crux of this article's message, and something I enjoy about Splatoon 3 that it does differently than its predecessors:
“In previous Splatoon titles, we didn't place much importance on features not directly related to battles—instead, importance was placed on different ways to battle. Because of this, I feel like the ultimate goal for many players was just to become very good at battling. In this title, we didn't want that to be the only reason to play the game. We also wanted players to feel that they want to play battles again because they can get items and collect more. I think we were able to provide more ways for players to enjoy this game.”

A lot of people have been asking me if Splatoon 3 is different enough from Splatoon 2 to warrant its own purchase, even though they're both available on the same system. I'd say it's worth that purchase for sure. The above quote isn't the toothless ramblings of a starry-eyed developer—it actually manifests in the vibe of Splatoon 3, and I appreciate it as someone who isn't a super-competitive player but still wants to get a lot of value from the world of Splatoon.

There are also a lot more options to customise the look of your Inkling or Octoling. There are the actual different and detailed facial options new for Splatoon 3. And speaking to what Sato said about how battling isn't the entire extent of your character's existence, you can now straightforwardly (though with some grinding required) change the primary ability of any piece of gear through Murch. In previous games, you could customise the sub-abilities but not the main one, though you could try to find that gear with a different main ability on Splatnet or something. (That's mobile privilege which I don't approve of.)

Splatoon 3 Murch Howdy Hat Tenacity main primary ability
If I want my Howdy Hat to be the headgear I wear the most for the aesthetic,
but I think Sub Resistance Up is an inadequate primary ability, I can change it without going through much hoops.
It's much more streamlined to do this than in Splatoon 2.

It's a similar principle to Layered Armor in Monster Hunter, which lets you wear whatever armour on top for the aesthetic, while having that not affect your actual stats (because you have real stat-changing armour beneath the layer). Splatoon 3 chose to have you change the properties of the gear itself so any one piece of gear can be end-game-worthy/competitive, regardless of how it looks, and can fit whatever character build you want. I really appreciate that!

There are lots of other angles Ludwig wants to write about Splatoon 3, which, if it's not clear, he's really enjoying and dedicating most of his spare moments to playing. Do you appreciate the additional efforts put into Splatoon 3 to be able to express your Inkling or Octoling outside of battle? Let KoopaTV know in the comments section!

Ludwig redesigned his locker in a post-Big Run world.

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