Octo Expansion does something people have wanted since the original Splatoon for Splatoon 2. It gives people a chance to make Octolings their avatars. Granted, they need to complete 80 challenge levels to earn that honor, but still. Measures are in place to make that possible, even if the person playing is not the best shot. But the real treasure here may not be the opportunity to play as a whole new race. It could be all the answers this add-on provides regarding Octolings, Off the Hook’s Marina and even human-kind.
Editor’s note: spoilers are ahead for Splatoon 2’s Octo Expansion.
In Octo Expansion, people play as agent 10,008, Agent 8, for short. She is an Octoling. From the first two Splatoon games, we know their society is crumbling. After the war, they were forced underground and the infrastructure is failing. Through this expansion, we learn that most Octolings find themselves in the army as early as 9 years old and participate in Turf Wars at 14. They learn a lot about technology and weapons, because they have to. However, there is also an element of mind control. The power of the Squid Sister’s “Calamari Inkantation,” performed with DJ Octavio in the concert at the end of Splatoon, has set some of them free.
Agent 8 is one of them, and she and the other Octoling avatars we see in multiplayer are ones who have fought their way to the surface to join Inkling society. The drive is so strong, she retains it even though the influence of the Deepsea Metro. Once we start collecting her Mem Cakes, we get glimpses of her past. The Octarian ones provide hints of moments where they were not locked in battle, such as the Octoling one being described as an oldest friend she helps “rouse from sleep.” She expresses a desire for peace, as shown by the Salmonid Mem Cake. And the one for DJ Octavio reads, “I leave without ceremony. Don’t be too sore I wanted more. My sincerest apology.” Though she never speaks, these bonuses provide insight into her mindset and perhaps that of other Octolings.
This especially carries over to Marina Ida. Octo Expansion is filled with insight about the two members of Off the Hook, given that they function as guides like the Squid Sisters did in the original Splatoon and Splatoon 2 campaign. But we learn exactly how Agent 8’s journey mirrors her own. Marina was an advanced member of the army, actually graduating at only 9 and building their war machines, like the Flooder weapon seen in the campaigns, by 13. The Squid Sisters helped her break through the brainwashing and seek out a life not dominated by war. It is here that we learned how she met Pearl when she escaped from the depths, Pearl helped her learn the language and she found a place for herself through music. The journey here cements the friendship between Marina and Pearl, even when Cap’n Cuttlefish tries to shake faith in her due to her race. Her role proves Inklings and Octolings can live in peace.
Then, there’s the insight into humanity’s history, via Commander Tartar. The Deepsea Metro is filled with technological relics, such as GameCubes, that Agent 8 sees on her journey underground. The telephone there, later revealed to be Tartar, is itself such a remnant. It is actually an AI from a human professor tasked with passing on knowledge from our civilization to the one that appears after it. What we now know of it, combined with Judd and Li’l Judd, shows how aware the brightest human minds were that the end was near after five world wars and man-made global warming. A professor prepared for the Inklings and Octolings, leaving this AI with data behind.
Octo Expansion gives players so many answers. It explains why Marina is above ground and part of Off the Hook. It gives insight into why Octolings are still fighting and whether or not they can live in peace with Inklings. It even offers more information on what humans were up to at the end, as we have evidence of another thing that was supposed to be left behind as a benefit to whichever civilization appeared after our own. The things we learn about Splatoon 2’s world are just as good of a bonus as the new playable characters and levels.