Above: This trailer appeared in 2011.
The answer is ‘no’. A third perspective shooter where you ‘paint the room’ with paintball guns is not largely creative. Splatoon is not Balloon Fight and Color Wars is not Joust. (Joust, at least, came out and was genuinely good.)
De Blob was a surprise hit as a Wii exclusive third party game. (I think game later went multiplatform.) A de Blob 2 was made. De Blob also has that whimsical style that Nintendo loves. I think De Blob may have had more influence if any game did have influence.
Splatoon has had more positive buzz than any Nintendo game I can remember at E3 since E3 2006. The ‘buzz’ from Smash or Zelda is just fanboy orgasms. You don’t see non-Smash fans or non-Zelda fans excited. But there is no established install base for Splatoon. If someone is excited for it, they are genuinely excited for it. There is no nostalgia in Splatoon. There is no ‘fanbase cult’ around Splatoon (at least not yet). The interest is there.
You can judge what games from Nintendo are actually good by the negative reactions from other game companies… especially Sony and Microsoft. When NSMB Wii was unveiled, boy, Sony had a cow! The reactions to games like Wii Sports and Wii Fit were so over-the-top hilarious. In contrast, when games like 3d Mario or Aonuma Zelda make an appearance at E3, the only reaction from other game companies and even game journalists is: “Please keep making more!” They know 3d Mario and Aonuma Zelda doesn’t move Nintendo hardware so they encourage Nintendo to keep making them. They would encourage more Metroid: Other Ms if they could passably get away with calling for it with a straight face.
If I was Nintendo’s competitor, I’d feel worried about Splatoon. Not worried that it would take over Call of Duty or anything, but worried because it is a new Nintendo IP. The last new Nintendo IP was Wii Fit. How’d that sell? The one before that was Wii Play? How’d that sell? And the one before that? Wii Sports. We all know how that sold. If I was a Nintendo competitor, I’d carefully examine any new Nintendo IP.
I wouldn’t be surprised if viral marketing is already getting underway against a game like Splatoon. I bet you even money that Splatoon clones are going to appear very soon. They’re probably already in development now.
Above: Still excited for this game. This game has a really good vibe going for it. And since people know I’m highly critical of Nintendo games, you know these are not empty words.