The Splatoon the series is considered by fans to be one of the coolest franchises in Nintendo’s line-up, showcasing style and modern sensibilities that other IPs in the catalog haven’t even touched.
With Splatoon 3, however, it seems that Nintendo may have taken a bigger step in the direction of diversity and representation. As part of the recent live presentation, it was revealed that a new trio called ‘Deep Cut’ would handle the news in the game, replacing the ‘Squid Sisters’ from Splatoon 1 and Pearl and Marina from the last game. The group consists of Shiver, Frye, and Big Man, with the former proving to be a popular talking point among fans, many of whom believe that Shiver could be Nintendo’s first major non-binary character.
Although not explicitly confirmed or denied by Nintendo themselves, fans have noted that all references to Shiver thus far have conspicuously refrained from mentioning their gender or using gender-specific references.
This appears to be consistent across all languages, with dialogue written to avoid requiring the conjugation of adjectives or verbs in a way that would explicitly indicate gender (as they might in French or Spanish, for example). Given the extensive work that goes into localizing games in different regions, it’s almost impossible for this to be a coincidence.
Furthermore, Japanese text for the game never refers to Shiver with any first-person pronouns. Terms such as “atashi” (for female) or “boku” (for male) are commonly used, but again, a very conscious decision seems to have been made not to use such references. With regard to Frye and Big Man, both characters have been referred to in gendered terms, with Frye specifically referring to herself as “the queen of eels” in the French version of Deep Cut’s introduction.
Many fans have reacted positively to the possibility of a non-binary character in a huge Nintendo franchise:
In addition, fans have noticed too that the game’s logo and general color scheme is remarkably similar to the non-binary flag, with extensive use of yellows, purples, whites and blacks, as shown in the model below. Of course, this may be a bit of a coincidence in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a cool detail to note, regardless!
In fact, if true, the introduction of a prominent non-binary character to Splatoon 3 would indicate a major step forward for representation in Nintendo video games, and we’re all for it!
What do you think of the characters introduced to Splatoon 3 so far? Glad to see Nintendo making progress? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and remember our community rules when you do!