New Iwata Asks: Splatoon, featuring rabbits and tofu (not Super Mario Sunshine)

Splatoon is launching next week and just in time Nintendo has released a new Iwata Asks feature for the game.

This time Nintendo President Satoru Iwata has sat down with the team from EAD who are were all wearing matching Splatoon themed shirts. The team interviewed this time are Shintaro Sato, Seita Inoue, Tsubasa Sakaguchi, Yusuke Amano and Hisashi Nogami.

The feature covers the development of the game all the way back to its prototype stage, before squids and before rabbits (more on that later) the game was just a simple black and white tech demo where tofu shot ink at each other.

Iwata: Tofu?

Nogami: Yes. (laughs) There was a white thing and a black thing shaped like blocks of tofu, and they were shooting ink and they had to steal each other’s turf.


Iwata: So at first it wasn’t squid at all. It was black and white tofu shooting each other with ink. (laughs)

Nogami: Right. (laughs)

After tofu proved to be a no go the team moved onto rabbits, why a rabbit?


Inoue: Well, a lot of it was because of design factors. Rabbits are white to begin with, so it would be easy to tell if they were inked. They’ve got long ears that would move when they did, so you could see them moving and when viewed from above, it would be easy to tell which direction they were facing by the direction of the ears.

Nogami:¬†And when asked which character they would choose for our new game, a rabbit or tofu…


Iwata: Everyone would say rabbits. (laughs)

Nogami: Right. (laughs)

All: (laughs)

The team then unanimously decided on squids, no one actually said it but they all agreed on it – it had to be. They decided to make the squids ‘dive’ into the ink as well which changed a few things.

Iwata: You stopped calling it an ink creature and it was able to dive like an actual squid.

Sakaguchi:¬†That‚Äôs right. We explained to the staff that squids don‚Äôt “hide” in the ink, they “dive” in the ink. So the programmers made the camera shake, and the effect designers created splashes, and the sound effects people added not only a splashing sound, but also made it so that the BGM sounded muffled when the squid is in the ink‚Ķ

When the game was first revealed at last year’s E3 it was also only 10% complete – if you played the game at PAX its weird to think it was that incomplete!

Iwata :It’s taken about ten months from then to get to where the game is now, but I think there were a lot of people who were dying to play the game after E3. What were you all doing for ten months?

Sakaguchi :The game was only about 10% complete at E3.

Amano: It was only 10% complete, or should we say, we still had about 90% left of the game to make.

When the game was first shown at E3 last year it was also compared a lot to Super Mario Sunshine. The ink spraying and is very similar to the water spraying of that game. Nintendo though didn’t even think of it, they forgot the game existed.

Iwata Over ten years ago, we had a game called Super Mario Sunshine11. A unique element of the game was using a pump to spray water. Did this game come to mind? 11. Super Mario Sunshine: A 3D action game released for Nintendo GameCube in August 2002. The game revolved around the use of water, including a pump worn on Mario’s back, which would spray water.

Nogami¬†We get asked that a lot…

Iwata: Is there any connection?

Nogami: I forgot about it…

All: (laughs)

Nogami: We only remembered it later on. Like, “Oh yeah, there was a water gun in Super Mario Sunshine.” As Nintendo employees, that‚Äôs pretty embarrassing. (laughs)

Iwata: But the structure of the game is completely different, after all. And this wasn’t an idea that could have come from Super Mario Sunshine.

Oops! There’s tons more in the full article which you can read over on Nintendo’s site. Splatoon releases in Australia on May 30th.

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