- This article is about the prominent species of squid in Splatoon. For the language by the same name, see Inkling (language).
Inklings are a sapient race of humanoid cephalopods who are the main protagonists and playable characters in the Splatoon series.
Inklings are evolved species of squid that came to be after rising sea levels sunk human civilization. Circa 2000 years before the events of Splatoon, the Inklings crawled up to what little habitable land there was left on the planet. The lack of space forced the Inklings to fight for whatever territory they could find, and the Turf War as a concept was established. The original Turf Wars were overseen by Judd, who was cryogenically frozen by his human owner before the Earth was flooded. 100 years before the events of Splatoon, the Inklings and the Octarians engaged in a Great Turf War after otherwise having good relations, but rising sea levels caused them to fight over the remaining territory. A young Cap'n Cuttlefish and his Inkling comrades won, forcing the Octarians to retreat into desolate areas such as Octo Valley and Octo Canyon.
Inkings can alternate between a humanoid form and a squid form.
Young Inklings resemble squid paralarvae but grow into an increasingly humanlike form as they age. By the age of 14, Inklings gain complete control over both these forms and can change between humanoid and squid form at will. However, some Inklings can control both forms at much younger ages.
The squid form resembles a small, cartoony, monochromatic squid. They have some small arms in the middle of their bodies, with two large tentacles on either side, resembling the hair of their humanoid form. It has a short mantle with relatively large fins, and two upward-facing, human-like gray eyes. The undersides of their enlarged tentacle heads are always white, regardless of what color the rest of them is, and they have a single large sucker on each. In this form, they are largely incompetent outside of their ink, but when swimming in it, they can completely submerge into it and swim at speeds far greater than the humanoid form's running speed. They can even jump out of the ink to cover further distances and swim up ink-covered walls. However, this form is also largely vulnerable, as being inside of enemy ink in this form will force the Inkling back to humanoid form and make it easier for them to be splatted.
The humanoid form has a black marking that resembles a mask around their eyes, pointed ears homologous to the squid's fins, and tentacles that serve as "hair", which changes color according to their ink color and gradient down to a darker tone of the color near the tips of them. The color is randomly selected out of predetermined pairs, some of which can be found in Sunken Scroll 7. Their mouths contain two ridges similar in shape to human teeth, as well as three larger sharp points, two on the top and one on the bottom, which resembles a squid's beak. The inside of an Inkling's mouth matches their ink color as well.
Inklings are customizable, though the options differ between each game. Both games allow the player to choose a male or a female Inkling. Female Inklings have noticeably thinner and shorter eyebrows than male ones who have thicker, longer and angled eyebrows.
In Splatoon, all the playable Inklings are aged 14. The female Inklings have two long tentacles that reach past their waist and hang from both sides of the head in front of their ears along with a bang, and male Inklings have two tentacles tied in a ponytail at the back of their head, tied together with a brown, yellow, and green band. Both genders also have four small squid arms on their neckline, adding up to ten limbs (including their arms and legs). Skin color, gender, and eye color can be changed in the options menu at any time. Head accessories, shirts, shoes, and weapons can be changed to the player's liking in the equip menu based on their purchases, and many clothing items change to match the Inkling's current color. Both forms have a slightly different pitch to their voice. Both genders also have dark-toned oval spots at the ends of their tentacles making a darker ink color in contrast to the ink color they currently have. However, the spots in their squid form are much lighter than in human form.
In Splatoon 2, the playable Inklings’ hairstyles are no longer limited to one style per gender, allowing the player more customization options, six different hairstyles are allowed for each gender. Inkling girls have a choice between their original Splatoon hairstyle, a shorter bob cut style with a mirrored bang compared to the original, a style with one long, wavy tentacle hanging on the right side of their face and a small one in the back or have their tentacles tied up into a knot. Inkling boys have a choice between their original Splatoon hairstyle, a spiked comb back hairstyle, a ponytail haircut with a tentacle hanging on the left side of their face, a buzz cut hairstyle devoid of visible tentacles with what appear to be scar marks. In Version 2.0.0, four more hairstyles were added that include two new styles for boys and two new styles for girls. For the females, they can now have a curly, shredded pigtail style (sometimes in a ponytail when wearing certain headgear) or a straight, long hairstyle with a long bang and slightly cut tips. For the males, the new hairstyles consist of a short mohawk hairstyle topped with many tiny spikes with buzzed sides or a bowl cut. Unlike Splatoon, these Inklings do not have the dark spots they had before but instead have glowing oval spots that match their ink color. Sometimes these spots will glow to a slightly different color. The dots also become a darker tone just like in Splatoon when the spots are above the gradient area of their tentacles.
Splatoon 3 offers hairstyles from both games, but also a hairstyle with one tentacle identical to the original female Inkling hairstyle, but with one tentacle in a braid tied with a black bow, a hairstyle featuring bangs from the 'buzz-cut' hairstyle from Splatoon 2. The style's tentacles are short and curly, resembling Callie's tentacles from when she was a child. Inkling's eyes also can have 'gradients', for example, the Splatoon 3 trailer shows an Inkling girl with blue eyes that fade into light purple, and at the bottom of the eyes, light pink.
Eye color and skin tone choices also return, and Inklings now have a choice of legwear. Inkling girls can choose between their Splatoon shorts, a skirt with black shorts underneath, tight capri sweatpants, loose sport shorts, or tight black pants. Inkling boys can choose between their Splatoon shorts, looser shorts with leggings, cargo pants, leggings, and denim shorts. Legwear, unlike other pieces of gear, are part of a character's customization and have no impact on an Inkling's stats.
Inklings take on a unique appearance when they have a special weapon ready: they give off sparks, the tentacles on their head become very brightly colored and glow, bubbles form at the top of their head as if from boiling water, and they appear to be caught in a strong wind even when completely still. Their appearance goes back to normal once their special weapon has been used.
Some Inklings (namely Callie, Marie, and Pearl) have special features such as a black/grey color on the majority of their "hair" with their ink color on the tips of the tentacle and plus-shaped pupils. These pupils are either brown or white, as opposed to the standard Inkling's black. Callie and Marie (along with some Inklings shown in Splatoon official art) have tipped curves at the bottom of their ears, giving them a slightly angular appearance. The ears can also, in Pearl's case, be incredibly small. Inklings can additionally have different skin colors (seen with KAGI of Wet Floor) and multiple different ink colors at once (seen with Yōko of Ink Theory).
Both of the Inklings' forms have abilities associated with them. In humanoid form, Inklings can splatter a special type of colored ink by using various weapons, including guns, rollers, buckets and paintbrushes. This ink can be quickly spread over many surfaces, except for green barrel-like objects, black pavement, and glass surfaces. This ink inhibits the movement of Inklings that do not have a matching color. When used as a projectile, ink can damage opposing Inklings, eventually "splatting" them and forcing them to respawn. In squid form, an Inkling can swim and jump quickly through ink of the same color, even using this mechanic to swim up walls and through wire fences and grates into areas that are not typically reachable. However, squids cannot travel past striped barriers, preventing them from swimming into inaccessible areas. As revealed in Splatoon: Squid Kids Comedy Show, Inklings are also more flexible in squid form. While squid form Inklings are in their ink color they will be invisible if they stay still, and when moving only slight ripples will appear. While submerged in ink of their color, they quickly replenish their ink ammunition. When squid form Inklings are on dry land they are only able to slither slowly, even slower than a humanoid Inkling. Inkling squids in ink of a different color will be unable to remain in squid form for long before being forced back to humanoid form. Inkling ink disappears rather quickly after a battle due to consumption by microorganisms that have evolved to feed on the ink.
Inklings (and Octolings) can change their color at will when out of battle, as seen in the Splatoon manga.
Inklings are unable to swim in water. When submerged, their body dissolves, leaving their clothes behind. The official American Splatoon Tumblr has mused that this may be because their bodies are made of liquid. Another reason to support this is that squid form Inklings can go through grates, which is also cited by the Tumblr account to possibly be related to them being made of liquid. Interviews with the producer for Splatoon and Splatoon 2 Hisashi Nogami revealed that Inklings have a very thin and permeable outer membrane, which causes their ink to bleed out when in contact with water. They evolved this way to be able to transform freely between their squid and humanoid form, but lost the ability to be in water as a consequence. A piece of trivia from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate also states that the Inklings' ink from their bodies will diffuse when submerged in water and which causes them to dissolve.
Inklings are capable of producing light, possibly from bioluminescence, an ability some real-life squid such as the firefly squid possess. In the dark, either during a Splatfest or some Octo Valley missions, the player's Inkling will glow brightly in humanoid form, lighting up the area immediately around them. This glow disappears entirely upon assuming squid form. Other Inklings remain dark, helping to differentiate them from the player's. However, all Inklings (as well as jellyfish) in Inkopolis Plaza do give off a very faint glow during a Splatfest, seen only on the ground around them. It is also very noticeable underneath their hair which shows off many tiny rainbow dots slightly in the sunlight and brightly in pitch darkness.
Vintage and his teammate Omega from the Splatoon manga have the ability to sense opponents behind them moving. Bobble Hat, also from the manga, has similar abilities. It is unknown if any other Inklings have these abilities.
In Splatoon 3, Inklings can perform 'squid rolls' and 'squid surges', which respectively are a squid being able to 'roll' out of the ink and jump really high over an opponent.
Communication and language
- Main article: Inkling (language)
Inklings communicate with each other in the Inkling language, which sounds like indecipherable, high-pitched gurgling. They can be found talking to each other in Inkopolis Plaza. Written Inkling appears frequently in-game: on signs, in Sunken Scrolls, etc. Bands like the Squid Sisters talk and sing in Inkling. Inklings speak to teammates in Inkling when Signals are used in online battles.
So far, there have been no successful attempts at decoding the language, leading some to believe it is gibberish.
Inkling culture has been heavily influenced by the ancient human cultures that came before them; as a result, Inkling architecture, fashion, art, and even the Inkling written language shows influence from Japanese, American, and other ancient human societies. It was implied that Inklings adapted much of their own culture and mannerisms from the cities and towns they have taken as their own, and the fossils of human civilizations they have unearthed.
Though much of their culture has been appropriated from humans, the Inklings have a modern rendering on certain subjects, as well as cultural ideas of their own. Turf Wars as a sport are cultural high-point to many Inklings, with many youngsters participating in Turf War events as a means of entertainment and relaxation. Turf wars also can be seen as a means of recreation and celebration, since the Inkling victory of the Great Turf War. The Art of Splatoon states that many young Inklings come from rural areas and seek a more trendy and up-to-date life in Inkopolis.
Inklings seem to vandalize walls and other surfaces commonly, as their creations are seen a lot, stating that they are proud of pictures, messages and advice they have put up. This graffiti can be seen on walls and other structures across Inkopolis and in battle stages. Some name-tag resembling stickers can also be found, with words written and typed, possibly printed, in Inkling. The art book from the first Splatoon clarifies that the idea of it stemmed from the Turf War concept of spraying and drawing ink to claim territory, implying that some Inkling graffiti is drawn in ink.
Fashion is a major part of Inkling societies, to the point of coining the term "fresh" to signify how recent and cool an Inkling's attire and general style is. Freshness can be applied to many other aspects of Inkling life, such as weaponary and linguistics. Heavy focus on Inkling gear is commonplace, as Inklings spend lots of their time and Cash shopping for new and interesting headgear, clothes, and shoes. Inklings can be seen gathered both inside and outside of local shops, socializing and buying themselves new gear.
Inkling music can be heard throughout Inkopolis, from the rock band Squid Squad to the worldwide pop idols, the Squid Sisters. Many bands have members from completely different species, such as the anemone and crab members of Chirpy Chips, but the music industry seems to be largely comprised of Inklings.
Every so often, a Splatfest is held, a special event that brings Inklings together for a large concert and celebration of two opposing ideas, and can be seen as a merging of music and turf wars. Two teams are formed around two opposing topics (such as Callie versus Marie) and compete in turf wars against each other. The more popular and/or the higher-scoring team wins. For the entire duration of the Splatfests, the Squid Sisters or Off the Hook perform. Messages and drawings by participating Inklings are highlighted during the event, showing up on billboards in the concert area and around the selected stages for that event.
In Splatoon, Inklings who compete in Turf Wars hang out in Inkopolis Plaza, which is also the location of Booyah Base, a strip mall containing different stores. This plaza is the hub for Splatfests and is where Inkopolis Tower, holding the Great Zapfish that powers all of Inkopolis and also allows access to Turf Wars and Ranked Battles, is located. Two years later, in Splatoon 2, Inkopolis Plaza has been replaced by Inkopolis Square as the new hotspot, being a location that can be accessed from Inkopolis Plaza through the use of the subway, and more stores have been opened there.
Inklings have been described as easy-going, inattentive and living for fun; they did not take further concern when the Great Zapfish went missing and didn't seem too worried that Octolings were coming to Inkopolis. They easily forget about old trends and shift their interest on what is new, which is evidenced by the focus on being "fresh". Their work ethic seems to mirror their carefree and pleasure-seeking nature as The Art of Splatoon 2 mentions that many Inklings take on part-time jobs at Starfish Mainstage but they stop working while on the job when a live show starts. The Sunken Scrolls have even described the Inkling mind as being simple and hedonistic, though this could be written as Octarian propaganda.
It was confirmed that Inkopolis resides in Japan, where Splatoon was created, so Inklings' clothing and architecture has some of Japan's customs, namely kimono wearing as shown by Squid Sister Marie, rice as a popular food (as seen in the Rice vs. Bread Splatfest), and the summer dress yukata, as shown in a promotional art of Squid Sister Callie. Gear based on Japanese sushi shop employee uniforms were also released, hinting at Inklings eating sushi. This was hinted at again when Inklings were seen to eat 'hot dogfish' and 'fried catfish'. Splatoon developers say that some Inklings may eat early squids.[Citation needed] This is further pointed at when Callie says she is not good with seafood. The type of seafood is unknown, however.
Squidmas is an Inkling holiday that is assumed to be celebrated in the winter. Much is unknown about this holiday aside from its obvious likenesses to the human holiday of Christmas. From this, it is assumed that in the winter, a figure named Father Squidmas goes around the world giving out presents and freshness to all the good Inkling children.
According to Callie of the Squid Sisters, Father Squidmas can be found in the North Pole of the Earth, making gifts all year in preparation for Squidmas time. According to her cousin Marie, Father Squidmas isn't real and all of their interactions with him are simply their grandfather dressed up as him.
Squidmas is an additional element associated with the localization. The Japanese edition originally doesn't have it, and other regions may not have it, though official art celebrating the holidays does use the term "Squidmas" in the art.
Halloween seems to be another holiday that Inklings celebrate as evidenced by the Trick vs. Treat Splatfest and its rematch. The event is also called "Splatoween", though Marina specifies that it is a Halloween Splatfest, implying that the holiday's official name is Halloween. The Japanese edition also uses Halloween when referring to the event.
Just like the human holiday by the same name, Inklings and other species dress up in usually scary costumes and go out trick or treating. Locations are likewise decorated with scary decor such as ghost, skeletons and glow-in-the-dark graffiti.
Dialogue for a previous Splatfest, Fancy Party vs. Costume Party, had called the holiday for "Squidoween". Though this could also be an element associated with the localization as other regions do not mention the term. Official art has also been made celebrating the holiday, and use the term "Halloween" in the art.
While in battle, Inklings can use their weapons to splat each other with ink. Standing in enemy ink will damage and slow down an Inkling's movement, but only enemy fire can splat an Inkling. When splatted by an enemy, Inklings explode into enemy ink, with their gear and weapons dropping before dissolving shortly thereafter, and a ghost-like squid figure will rise into the air over where they were splatted. This ghost-like squid figure then travels to the spawn point where the Inkling respawns. Inklings can also be splatted from diving into water and dissolving, or falling off a ledge and exploding into a cloud colored of their ink. Inklings can respawn at checkpoints after being splatted in Octo Valley and Octo Canyon, though only working for a limited number of respawns. The online battle modes allows for an infinite amount of respawns at the spawn points. The special gauge decreases when splatted, even if full, unless the player is wearing 3 mains and 9 subs of Special Saver and the opponent is not wearing Respawn Punisher.
However, in the Octo Expansion campaign, developers revealed that during the escape phases, Agent 8, an Octoling, does die if they get splatted as they are not connected to a spawn point, only checkpoints without respawning capabilities. This suggests that Inklings and Octolings do indeed die when splatted and need a means for them to respawn, possibly true due to the visual effects (i.e the 'ghost') when splatted.
Profiles and bios
|“||Transform into a squid to hide, climb walls, or travel at super speed in your own ink. But watch out for enemy ink—it'll hurt you!||”|
|“||The squid-like residents of Inkopolis are totes crazy for color-flinging, ink-slinging, turf-splattering battles.||”|
|“||From squid…to kid…and back! Inklings can transform at will into squid form, so you've gotta master both if you want to win.||”|
|“||Swim up ink-splattered walls and jump from one splat to another in squid form.||”|
|“||Find shortcuts and navigate tricky areas.||”|
|“||Avoid being targeted by baddies by hiding in your own ink.||”|
|“||Turn into a squid to move more quickly across your ink.||”|
|“||Hide as a squid, then quickly switch to an Inkling to take enemies out of the action with a well-aimed splat.||”|
- Inklings seem to have multiple hearts, as implied by Cap'n Cuttlefish at the beginning of the Octo Expansion. This could be a reference to how real-life cephalopods have three hearts.
- According to the EDGE article, Inklings get full control of their squid and human forms at age 14.
- Despite this, Inklings might be able to control both forms at ages much younger than 14 as shown in Sunken Scroll 17 where the Squid Sisters are shown as children in their humanoid form, and in Sunken Scroll 1 in Splatoon 2 where Pearl is seen in humanoid form as a child, much younger than the age 14. However, Pearl looks like a child despite being 21 years old, so she could have been over 14 in the photo.
- An Inkling's ink color is random online unless the Ink Color Lock option has been turned on, while in Octo Valley, it depends on the mission.
- The developers said when they came up with the concept, they didn't consider Bloopers from the Mario series, despite the close resemblance between Bloopers and Inklings.
- A trophy of a female Inkling appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, which becomes available after downloading the Inkling Mii Fighter costumes.
- The trophy is shaped like the Inkling Girl amiibo.
- When switching between gear on the equipment screen, there is sometimes a small delay before the selected piece of gear appears on the player's Inkling. For that moment, they will not be wearing any gear in that slot.
- In Splatoon, for clothing, they wear a tight, sleeveless black shirt by default. For shoes, it shows their bare feet, which are flipper-like and featureless because Inklings' feet are meant to never be seen. For headgear, they simply look like they are wearing the Fake Contacts, or no headgear. However, Inklings always wear their shorts.
- In Splatoon 2, the gear-less Inklings can also be seen in Octo Canyon when they are in the temporary "danger" mode that occurs when their Hero Headphones, Hero Hoodie and Hero Boots break from taking fatal damage and after falling into water. For clothing, the Inkling Boy does not have any, while the Inkling Girl wears a black sports bra. For shoes, their feet are now properly rendered and have toes. They still look like they are wearing Fake Contacts or not wearing headgear. Their legwear remains the same.
- When designing the Inklings, the Splatoon development team centered around the girl at first, to the extent that they thought at first to not have a boy Inkling. They emphasized on the girl Inkling because there weren't many female leads in Nintendo games and that having a strong, active female lead would make it easier to become accepted overseas. The boy Inkling was created later.
- The playable Inklings were originally designed as 17-year-olds since the developers wanted to give the image of a strong, rebelling character, having the attitude of being "cool". But due to the boy looking too obedient at that age they were aged down to 14-year-olds, though they were still designed as having the mood of 16 to 17-year-olds.
- The Squid Research Lab admitted that Inklings may be made entirely out of ink. This theory would explain why Inklings dissolve in water, swim through grates, and reform with ease after being splatted. This also may mean that in humanoid form, they hold themselves up with 'ink pressure', which means that they use a substance in ink to retain their ability to stand and walk upright.
- Inklings have tongues in the Splatoon manga and the Naughty vs. Nice Splatfest artwork, but not in the video games.
- Inklings appear to use their weapons with their right hand, and there is no option to change that in the control settings.
- While the player is swimming in squid form, the music is muffled and bubbling sounds can be heard.
- If a player is hit by an enemy's ink and is close to being splatted, when they submerge back into their ink to heal, the Inkling can be heard quietly moaning in pain.
- There is conflicting evidence on whether Inklings have bones. Marie mentions once that squids lack bones, and an x-ray of an Inkling can be found in a Sunken Scroll, which shows no bones. The Sunken Scroll features Octarian propaganda, so the x-ray might not be truthful. In the Octo Expansion, Cap'n Cuttlefish mentions his cuttlebones, although these might apply to him specifically, as he is called "Cuttlefish."
- It is also possible that it was simply a figure of speech.
- In the Squid vs. Octopus Splatfest, players on Team Squid will have their avatar switched to Inklings when inside battles. In Inkopolis Square, the avatar remains unchanged. The reverse is true for Team Octopus.
- In promo art in both 2D and 3D, the Inklings' ears are shaped with a flat top that are tilted down and have a round curve on the bottom but the in-game models depict them as having ears that narrow at the end with no visible curve.
- Inklings and Octolings share many physiological similarities, despite having evolved from separate animal species. This could be a case of convergent evolution, where species of different lineages evolve similar features.
- Inklings are shown drinking liquids at The Crust Bucket; so it is theorized that Inklings can drink cold liquids only as they are made of warmer liquids and can withstand only colder liquid consumption, though they will still likely get splatted if attempting to swim in it.
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Names in other languages
- Splatoon exhibition at Tower Records - concept art
- Gameinformer - Splatoon's Burning Questions Finally Answered
- Nintendo Switch news section interview with Nogami
- "In the Splatoon series, Inklings cover the ground and walls in ink, and then swim through that ink as a squid. But if they fall into water, the ink in their bodies will diffuse and they'll dissolve." - Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Inkling Tips
- Famitsu Splatoon 2 anniversary interview with the developers
- Splatoon Overview
- Famitsu Interview with Splatoon development team. Posted by Brian on NintendoEverything (2015-07-26). Retrieved on 2015 July 28.
- Famitsu developer interview - NintendoEverthing translation: Splatoon staff talk about the Inkling design, more on the Squid Sisters, and other topics
- Breaking News: One of our interns recently saw a...
- Blackbelly Skatepark Quotes, 5th Sunken Scroll
Characters in Splatoon
Characters in Splatoon 2
Characters in Splatoon 3