Nintendo, with a few exceptions, doesn’t tend to put the plot or story of their games front and center. Aside from series like Zelda, most of its major franchises keep the lore somewhat in the background, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a ton of it to uncover if you’re willing to do a little digging. Even their primarily multiplayer-focused series Splatoon, in which you play as a cute squid-kid hybrid, has a massive amount of story and lore details that many players could easily miss.
The story content in the Splatoon games only gives a piece of the story puzzle, with the majority coming from the Sunken Scrolls and environmental clues. The result is a quite dark tale that spans thousands of years prior to you picking up your first ink pistol and splatting your friends. If you thought this series was nothing but a bright and colorful romp, the full story of the series may change how you view the ongoing battle against the Octolings. Here’s the entire story of Splatoon so far, just in time for Splatoon 3.
Note: Spoilers ahead for all Splatoon games.
The Splatoon series takes place in the distant future of our own world, but as you probably noticed, there’s no sign of humans anywhere. 12,000 years before the Mullusk era (which is when the games take place), humanity was facing extinction from rising sea levels due to climate change. Judd, a cat who lived in this time, was saved by his owner who invented two important items: tartar, a phone that could store all of humanity’s knowledge for the future, and a cryogenic capsule that could preserve life for thousands of years. He decided to save his cat Judd in this capsule before the rising sea levels wiped out nearly all life on land. This lead to a period of 10,000 years where Earth supported no intelligent life forms.
After 10,000 years (still 2,000 years before the games), the flooding began to recede. This forced sea creatures that were living in the waters previously above dry land to evolve and become more intelligent. This lead to the evolution of both the first Inklings, Octarians, and Octolings. They slowly adapted to life on dry land, gaining the humanoid form we know them to have, as well as form societies. At this point, the Inklings and Octarians worked together.
At this point, Judd is released from his pod and joins the new society of molluscs.
Just 100 years before the first game, Inkopolis and Calamari Country were founded, and Cap’n Cuttlefish and DJ Octavio were born. Around this time, sea levels begin to rise once more, forcing a conflict between the Inklings and Octarians over the dwindling land mass. This is the start of The Great Turf War, which Judd would be appointed the judge of. Cap’n Cuttlefish, the new leader of the Inklings, would form the Squidbreak Splatoon with just three initial members, while the Octarians created Octoweapons that easily overpowered the Inklings’ weapons.
The Octarians were easily crushing the Inklings in The Great Turf War, and defeat seemed inevitable. That was, until the Octoweapons were accidentally unplugged and lost power. The Inklings took advantage of this opportunity and managed to beat the Octarians back until they were forced into hiding in Octo Valley. As the Inklings reclaimed the land, the Octarians managed to survive in underground domes.
With the war over, Turf Wars were turned into a sport played for fun. Meanwhile, DJ Octavio begins his DJ career and the Octarians’ dome hideout start to crumble and lose power. To avoid a complete blackout, they steal the Zapfish, which is the main power source used by the Inklings. With this power, they would be able to once again power up their Octoweapons and restart The Great Turf War against Inkopolis.
The first Splatoon picks up with Cap’n Cuttlefish recruiting the player, Agent 3, to the Squidbreak Splatoon and tasking them with the retrieval of the Zapfish from Octavio. After many assaults on Octo Valley, Agent 3 is able to destroy the Octoweapons and recover the Great Zapfish, however, when they return, they find that Cap’n Cuttlefish has been captured and taken by DJ Octavio. Agent 3 launches a rescue mission, defeats DJ Octavio with the help of Callie and Marie, and Cap’n Cuttlefish traps DJ Octavio inside a snow globe.
In the time between Splatoon and Splatoon 2, several events take place. Mr. Grizz founds Grizzco Industries, the Salmonids migrated into the irradiated waters near Inkopolis as part of their Salmon Run that occurs every 70 years, and an assault on Inkopolis is planned. Marie visits her parents in Calamari County, but when she returns to Inkopolis, she discovers that Callie has gone missing. She searches in Octo Valley, but instead of finding Callie, she discovers that Cap’n Cuttlefish’s hut is empty and the snow globe holding DJ Octavio prisoner is broken. He has escaped and formed a new Octarian base in Octo Canyon, who are able to once again steal the Great Zapfish.
A new Inkling, Agent 4, follows Marie to Octo Canyon who, teaming up with another ally named Sheldon, manages to save a infant Zapfish from the Octarians. When the crew manage to reach DJ Octavio once again, they find he has brainwashed Callie to follow his orders. By defeating Octavio, they are able to free her and once again return the Great Zapfish to Inkopolis.
Happening concurrently to the main story, Agent 3 is on their own mission fighting an Octoling. The battle is interrupted when a new force enters and kidnaps them into the Deepsea Metro. This Octoling loses their memory, meets Cap’n Cuttlefish, and is dubbed Agent 8. The three of them discover the telephone created all those thousands of years ago by Judd’s owner.
Agent 8 begins a new mission to collect four Thangs that will lead them to a Promised Land where they can meet C.Q. Cumber, the Deep Sea Metro conductor. With the knowledge contained in the telephone, Agent 8 is able to use the Thangs to make a machine that will bring them to the Promised Land, but in reality is a trap. The machine turns out to be a blender, though Agent 3 is able to arrive and save them before being liquefied.
Now they realize the telephone is not on their side and is in fact Commander Tartar, an AI originally intended to help the next intelligent lifeforms after humans. However, it broke from its directive and instead wanted to create its own new Master Race. With the help of Pearl, Agent 8 is able to defeat Tartar and peace is restored — for now.
We don’t have the full details of the events of Splatoon 3 just yet, but we do know some important tidbits. Dubbed “Return of the Mammalians,” we know that this chapter will introduce mammals back into the world of Splatoon. It will take place in a new location called the Splatlands, which are a massive desert that only the toughest Inklings and Octolings can live in, as well as Splatsville, a chaotic city that has been expanding ever since the previous Splatfest where Chaos won against Order. The main hub area is called Alterna, which is the first snowy location seen in the series.
While Octarians are expected to be the primary antagonists yet again, a new furry form has appeared. A brand new Agent 3, who can be either an Inkling or Octoling, joins the New Squidbreak Splatoon, with the previous Agent 3 being promoted to captain after Cap’n Cuttlefish retired.
All other story and lore details this game will bring remain a mystery until the game is finally released.