In a recent interview, Nintendo’s Tsubasa Sakaguchi and Hisashi Nogami spoke in detail about how Splatoon came to be the game it is today as well as their experiences playing shooters. Sakaguchi settles any worries that Splatoon could become a simplified shooter made accessible to the expanded audience as opposed to traditional gamers.
“We didn’t make this game with the idea that we wanted to make a simplified shooter or a dumbed-down shooter or anything like that. This game has shooting elements, but the main part of this game is the idea of painting that ink… The game is built around the ink and how to use it.” - Sakaguchi
So that prototype was this game where you had four black blocks and four white blocks and they were shooting at each other and trying to control territory. Everyone played that prototype, and we all had a great reaction to it. Everyone thought it was fun, so we decided to present it to [senior Nintendo game designer] Mr. Miyamoto, Mr. Tezuka, Mr. Eguchi and kind of had a few back and forths with them a few times before we got to the point where, ‘Okay, we should make this into a game.
We definitely play those types of games (shooters). There’s definitely guys on our staff who are super into shooters. We definitely play other games and other company’s hardware. We do that as part of our jobs and we also do that because we’re gamers and love to play games.” - Nogami
“For me, what made me realize this could really be something was when we had that prototype and had that four on four with spraying the ink. I noticed the people playing would all take a different tactic. You might have some person who would just rush to the front and try and attack the other team as much as possible. You might have someone who would hang back and try to cover as much territory as possible. So, when I saw kind of people’s personalities and play styles were coming out in this game, even though it was a game built around very simple objectives, [that] made me feel like, ok, this could really be something.” - Sakaguchi
Splatoon was revealed at this year’s E3 as a Nintendo-developed third-person shooter with bullets replaced by paint pellets. Players are tasked to cover as much as the level as they can with their team’s color in order to claim victory. The game is still in development and expected to launch in the first half of 2015.