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|“||Dive in to color, chaos, and inkin' awesome battles in this squidtastic take on the action shooter.||”|
— Splatoon's official website, 
Splatoon is a third-person shooter developed and published by Nintendo. The game features battles between Inklings, using weaponized ink to cover territory and "splat" opponents. The game was first revealed at the Nintendo E3 2014 Digital Event and was released for the Wii U on 29 May 2015. The game was very popular for the Wii U, selling 4.95 million copies and being the sixth-best selling title on the system.
Splatoon's sequel, named Splatoon 2, was released for the Nintendo Switch on 21 July 2017. It includes brand-new weapons, gear, stages, modes, and also a new story, set two years after the original Splatoon.
Splatoon was first created by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development in late 2013, directed by Yusuke Amano and Tsubasa Sakaguchi, and produced by Hisashi Nogami, longtime director for the Animal Crossing series. The team had thought of over seventy game ideas but eventually decided to focus on a game involving inking turf after playing a concept game by Shintaro Sato. At first, this concept featured black and white blocks of tofu with noses that sprayed ink. The game featured a top-down view, allowing the tofu blocks to blend in with their splattered turf.
However, these characters presented a variety of problems, so development began on a different character that was vaguely humanoid in shape. A rabbit was chosen as the design because its floppy ears would indicate what direction it was traveling when viewed from above. Many EAD developers criticized this idea, so ideas such as Mario, robots and macho men were considered. The rabbits were later scrapped in favor of a squid because the team wanted a character that made sense in regards to the environment and gameplay mechanics. The squids at this stage appeared to be squid-human hybrids, but it was decided that instead of this design, the game would feature humanoid Inklings with the ability to transform into squids.
The E3 2014 Splatoon demo was shown in-person in Los Angeles in June 2014, with local Turf War matches available to play as part of an early version of the game.
A few weeks before release, the Splatoon Global Testfire application, a limited Splatoon demo, was released for the Wii U. Players could download it and play on 8 and 9 May 2015, at 3:00, 11:00 and 19:00 UTC, for one hour at a time. A second Testfire event happened on the 23 May 2015, at 22:00 UTC. Due to complications, the event was extended to run for two hours instead of one.
There are three versions of the game: Japanese, North American, and European/Oceanian. The purpose of the three versions is to separate region-based content such as Splatfests, especially ones containing advertisements. Each version has its own translations of the games, even with several differences between the North American and European/Oceanian versions' English, French, and Spanish translations. For the European/Oceanian version, the game was also localized to German and Italian.
An unusually long downtime took place in 2023, with implications for the future of Splatoon's online play. Splatoon was taken offline starting on 3 March 2023 at 04:30 UTC, leaving players with single-player and local co-op functionality only. The game was finally back online on 3 August 2023 at 01:00 UTC, requiring players to download the first Splatoon update in almost 7 years since the previous update.  Nintendo went as far as stating: "If further issues occur which make it difficult to continue supporting online play, we may have to discontinue the online play service for the Wii U games Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 at short notice."
The single-player Octo Valley mode tells the main story of the game. Many years after the great Turf War, with the hope of invading the Inklings' world, the Octarians built an underground facility known as Octo Valley. After the disappearance of the Zapfish from the Inklings' world, the protagonist, wearing the Hero Suit, must infiltrate the base and rescue all the Zapfish.
Splatoon is a third-person shooter game focused on online multiplayer battles, in which eight players are divided into two teams of four. In the game mode Turf War, teams fight to cover the arena in as much ink of their team's color as possible. In Splat Zones, they try to control certain zones for a set amount of time by covering the Splat Zone(s) in ink. Players have two main forms and may switch between the two at will: their humanoid form, in which they can use weapons to spread ink and splatter opponents, and their squid form, which they can use to swim through ink at great speed and up walls, recharge the player's ink tank faster (while in their ink) and hide in their team's ink. Players can also utilize sub weapons, such as Splat Bombs, and special weapons, such as Inkzookas.
Since its initial launch, Splatoon received many updates to introduce new stages, weapons, and wholly new gameplay modes to the game's multiplayer mode. Also, Nintendo announced and hosted semi-regular community events called Splatfests, where players could pick a team to side with and play Turf Wars against each other for prizes and glory. Both upcoming updates, as well as upcoming Splatfest information, can be read about on the game's official Tumblr page, named Live from Squid Research Lab.
- Main article: Character
- Main article: Mode
- Regular Battle
- Ranked Battle
- Splatfest Battle
- Splatfest Turf War
- Squad Battle
- Private Battle
- Main article: Stage
- Main article: Splatoon (manga)
In June 2015, a Splatoon manga was released by Sankichi to celebrate its release in Japan. However, this was a fan-made one-shot, and the official version was released in December 2015 as a one-shot type until April 2016.
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- Main article: Unused content in Splatoon
- Splatoon is a portmanteau of "splat" and "platoon."
- The Inklings' squid form shares strong similarities with Bloopers from the Super Mario series.
- In the single-player trailer from the November 2014 Nintendo Direct, a frame of artwork consists of Bloopers from the Super Mario series and Octoroks from The Legend of Zelda series.
- According to an email sent by Nintendo, Splatoon was listed as the top wish-listed game in Nintendo's eShop over the summer it was released.
Names in other languages
- Official Japanese Splatoon Website
- Official American English Splatoon website
- Official European English Splatoon website
- Announcement trailer. This trailer, shown at E3 2014, was the first glimpse of Splatoon seen by the public.
- Official English Splatoon Website (archived)
- IR Information: Financial Data - Top Selling Title Sales Units - Wii U Software
- GameInformer interview with Hisashi Nogami and Tsubasa Sakaguchi
- Iwata Asks: Splatoon: It Started With Tofu
- 7 Fascinating Insights from Nintendo's Gaming Genius Shigeru Miyamoto
- Nintendo of America's tweet in response to the second Testfire's connection issues
- Nintendo has taken Wii U games Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon offline for security reasons - VGC
- After 5 Months, Mario Kart 8 And Splatoon Are Finally Going Back Online For Wii U - Nintendo Life
- Nintendo Support: Notice Regarding the Ending of Current Maintenance for Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 on Wii U