As the Splatoon franchise has evolved, fans have found a number of activities they can grab onto. Many like the simplicity of Turf Wars, which takes typical shooter mechanics and simplifies them for the Nintendo audience by focusing on ground action rather than killing. Ranked game modes offer a more competitive edge, and side-effects like Salmon Run in Splatoon 2 or the Tableturf Battle card game in Splatoon 3 have their own meta to explore. However, the narrative in Splatoon’s single-player campaigns has also undergone changes: Splatoon 3 recontextualizes old characters like Mr. Griz for a powerful narrative reveal.
Considering that Splatoon is a franchise of multiplayer shooters, the player characters are individual and determined by their Fresh clothes. While the main character of the original Splatoon named Agent 3 has become an independent non-player character, most fans instead identify the series by recurring personalities, such as the idol duo Callie and Marie. After the “Return of the Mammals” storyline campaign, the once-mysterious Mr. Griz is likely to occupy a similar niche. Ahead are the main spoilers for Splatoon 3.
Splatoon’s Salmon Run Game Mode
Salmon Run was a hallmark of the cooperative mode introduced in Splatoon 2. It gave users the opportunity to work together and defeat waves of new enemies called salmon, instead of pitting inklings (and later octopuses) against each other in competitive matches. In a demonstration of Salmon Run at E3 2017, producer Hisashi Nogami said that this idea was designed to emphasize the portability of Switch and a simpler local game, allowing groups of friends to defeat several unique Salmonid bosses from which golden eggs fall out.
In the Splatoon universe, Salmon Run was contextualized as an additional concert for Inklings and Octolings to participate in Turf War matches. Grizzco Industries has been artfully designed with a bear—themed aesthetic to reflect how players will hunt salmon, but the only person players meet from the company is Mr. Grizz — even then, the character only appears through voice cues spoken through a wood-carved radio. Mr. Griz watches as his staff conducts training and talks with players on each wave of Salmon Run. Salmon Run: Next Wave in Splatoon 3 keeps this aspect of the character constant, as the mode has moved from limited availability to open round-the-clock access, but Return of the Mammalians shakes up how players will perceive the last few games.
How “The Return of Mammals” reintroduces Mr. Griese
Splatoon’s latest story begins the same way it did in Octo Valley and Octo Canyon, when players were hired by the now-retired Cap’n Cuttlefish to rescue Great Zapfish after he was apparently abducted by the Octarian army. However, the training zone ends with a battle with the main antagonist DJ Octavio, who, as it turns out, is not responsible this time. The new Squidbeak Splatoon enters a mysterious underground realm called Alterna to rescue a captured cuttlefish and find out the truth about the Fuzzy Ooze infection.
Mr. Griz will start interrupting the player’s communication with Captain Cuttlefish when they defeat bosses throughout the Alterna, consisting of three members of the new idol group Deep Cut. Once New Squidbeak Splatoon has collected all three of these boss treasures, players will begin a Mega Man-style final battle on a rocket ship to test the abilities they have learned so far. Meanwhile, communication between Mr. Grizz and the former captain reveals that the CEO of Grizzco wants to use a transformative substance found throughout the Alterna to “restore balance” by turning the intelligent sea creatures of the universe back into mammals.
Mr. Grizz as a Doomsday Threat in Splatoon 3
By completing each region in The Return of Mammals, players discover the “Alterna Logs”, which detail the effects of climate change and the collapse of humanity. Alterna was the last stronghold of humanity, developed by scientists and using unique crystals to create living facsimiles of the pre-apocalyptic horizon. While future generations eventually destroyed themselves trying to escape from Alterna, these crystals marked the beginning of the development of modern Inklings.
A secret log unlocked after completing the post-game glove “After Alterna” reveals that the second venture was intended to save Earth’s non-human species by sending them to a new planet using the Ark of Polaris. This journey failed due to unexpected dangers in deep space, and about 12,000 years later, the Ark of Polaris crashed into the planet again, killing most of its creatures. However, Bear 3.0 survived—and was now sentient due to centuries of dormant consciousness.
This bear will become Mr. Grizz, a real grizzly bear and one of the last living mammals in a cephalopod-dominated world.