The following discussion comes from a Game Informer interview with Splatoon 2 producer Hisashi Nogami
On creating new single-player DLC
There are actually a few reasons we decided to move forward with the single-player expansion. One of the purposes we gave for the single-player – Hero mode as we call it – in the first and second games was to give people a training ground of sorts to give them different weapons, items, and strategies to take into multiplayer.
After coming out with the games and their content, we've continued to create a variety of new weapons, and we've seen players use these weapons in all sorts of different ways. As developers, with these updates we've been bringing out, we've had new ideas that we've wanted to try out, new situations that we wanted to challenge the player with. We've kind of been storing those up. The first reason we've decided to go with this is that we've had enough of these built up over time that we felt confident that we've got enough ideas that would make for a satisfying single-player experience.
Another reason was being able to use single-player as a way to flesh out story elements that we hadn't been able to so far, whether that's the characters from Off the Hook we've seen in their news capacity to this point, or Captain Cuttlefish, who has been missing since the first game. Now you get to meet up with him and find out what he's been up to.
We want to be able to continue providing fans with these new gameplay and story elements that constitute a really satisfying amount of new content, and something that we feel confident being able to make as paid DLC. We felt that this type of content is best suited as single-player.
We're really sensitive to things like how adding certain kinds of weapons into multiplayer that you have to pay for would create imbalance among the players. We really want to make sure that we keep multiplayer an even playing field for everyone, and a place where the players' skills are on display and that is what decides the matches. But with that said, we did want people to be able to bring the skin or aesthetic of the octolings into multiplayer.
On fans saying the Octo Expansion DLC trailer had references to Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur
Giving you a straightforward answer about that might steal some of the fun out of it, so I'll keep that a bit of a mystery. [Laughs] But I will say that as I've [spoken about] the importance of music to us, we're definitely aware of that history of music videos in America, and music video culture is something we kept in mind while making this expansion.
We have members on our development team who are fans of hip-hop music and hip-hop culture, and it's people like that who feel that, just like our real world we're living in, we can bring a variety of elements into the world of Splatoon and show people that it's not just a one note type of world and that they'll be able to believe more in the reality of the Splatoon world and give it more depth.
And we were very intentional with wanting to bring in that variety of looks and sound in the Octo Expansion. In doing that in a sort of decisive way, our aim is to really make it feel like its own thing, like it's own section of the game. That was definitely something that we were intentional about.
On Inklings making it into Mario Kart and Smash Bros.
Of course it's one thing to see fans get excited for characters like Callie and Marie or Pearl and Marina from Off the Hook, but for me, the game and its contents as a whole are sort of a character or a child that I've helped create. To see the game's content as a whole accepted this much and mean this much to people has been really impactful and a really wonderful thing for me to see.
The thing that I want to do as a developer is come up with new kinds of gameplay. Thinking about it in that way, characters are sort of byproducts of that process. That said, when we create characters, we do hope they have an affection for them, and we create them to give them as much of that potential as possible.
Seeing our characters get brought into Mario Kart or Smash Bros. is kind of self-affirming to us that we made some good choices with these characters. It's rewarding to see them accepted and grow stronger by their inclusion in these other franchises.