Following the mid-August Nintendo Direct that showed off what to expect with Splatoon 3, fans of the game speculated that Shiver, one of the faces in the new game, might identify as nonbinary. So we asked Nate Bihldorff, Nintendo’s SVP of development and publishing, who confirmed to The Verge that Shiver identifies as female. And that while Shiver’s she/her pronouns weren’t mentioned in the Direct, they are used in the game.
Viewers hoping that Shiver would be a nonbinary character had some convincing clues to go off from the video showcase linked above. As The Gamer notes, the Deep Cut hype group that Shiver belongs to rocks a lot of purple, yellow, black, and white — the colors of the nonbinary flag. The publication also speculated that the group saying together “We’re not supposed to be anything” was a nod to an impending confirmation that Shiver would be nonbinary.
It could be seen as a very small mark of progress in gender inclusivity that Splatoon 3’s character creator does away with offering “boy” and “girl” as the sole options, as previous Splatoon games did. In the new game, you can choose between two different styles of Inkling or Octoling, ranging from masculine to feminine in appearance.
I don’t want to completely rule out the possibility that Nintendo could introduce a nonbinary character later. The company has committed to delivering new content in the future, including paid story DLC that could be comparable in scope to Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion. But based on how it read the room here, I’m not holding my breath.
Splatoon 3 releases for the Nintendo Switch on September 9th.