Splatoon’s stylish world was inspired by skateboarding and hip-hop

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Splatoon’s colorful inkling characters started out as bland, white boxes. During early prototypes of the game, these rectangular characters — which the development team at Nintendo started calling blocks of tofu — would shoot black-and-white paint at each other in a simple arena. Eventually, as the game started to evolve, so did the character design.

At first, Nintendo toyed with the idea of using familiar faces like Yoshi or Mario, but the game was so different from the company’s previous work the team realized they needed completely new characters. Since it was a game about controlling space, they initially thought that infamously territorial rabbits would be a good fit. But why would rabbits shoot ink or paint? This led them to create…

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