Update [Thu 25th Aug, 2022 09:45 BST]: Nintendo has now confirmed that Shiver identifies as female and will use she/her pronouns in the game.
Original Story: The Splatoon series is widely considered amongst fans to be one of the coolest franchises in Nintendo's line-up, showcasing style and modern sensibilities that other IP in its catalogue has nary even touched upon.
With Splatoon 3, however, it seems Nintendo may have taken a bigger step in the direction of diversity and representation. As part of its recent Direct Presentation, it was revealed that a new trio called 'Deep Cut' would be handling the in-game news items, 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 amongst fans, many of whom believe that Shiver may be Nintendo's first major non-binary character.
While not explicitly confirmed nor denied by Nintendo itself, 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 conjugating 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 localising games in various regions, it's near impossible that this is 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 typically used, but again, there seems to have been a very conscious decision made to not use such references. With regards to Frye and Big Man, both characters have been referred to with 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 also noticed that the game's logo and overall colour scheme is remarkably similar to the non-binary flag, with extensive use of yellows, purples, whites, and blacks, as demonstrated in the below mock-up. This may, of course, be a bit of a coincidence in the grand scheme of things, but it's a cool detail to note, regardless!
Indeed, if true, the introduction of a prominent non-binary character to Splatoon 3 would indicate a huge step forward for representation in Nintendo video games, and we're all here for it!
What do you think of the characters introduced for Splatoon 3 so far? Pleased to see Nintendo making progress? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and please remember our Community Rules when doing so!
- Further reading: Best LGBTQ+ Switch Games