Whether you’re a squid or a kid (or both!), get ready for the next splat-tastic entry in the hit Splatoon series! Originating on the WiiU, Splatoon was a hit for the struggling console. It was a rare game for Nintendo, being a mostly online-focused third-person shooter, but was given a unique coat of ink. Rather than your normal soldiers fighting it out with guns, Nintendo flipped the concept into something far more colorful and friendly by pitting two teams of squid kids against each other with ink-based weapons. A sequel came early in the Switch’s life cycle, and was an all-around improvement on the first, adding more weapons, maps, and even a single-player mode.
Early in 2021, Nintendo revealed that we would be getting a new Splatoon game on the Switch. At the time it was simply known as Splatoon 3, and we got a small reveal trailer that both answered and raised a host of questions about this sequel. After the reveal, we have gotten a few bits and pieces of information about Splatoon 3. If you’re ready to dive into all the details about this new colorful shooter, we’ve got all the info you need.
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Splatoon 3 has been known about for a while, but the latest update we got on the game’s release only narrowed down the window to summer 2022. However — and take this with a grain of salt — some eagle-eyed viewers noticed a QR code hidden in the trailer that, when scanned, displays the date of August 18, 2022. As it turns out, that date was still a bit off. In an official Tweet from Nintendo of Europe, they dropped the full release date as being September 9, 2022.
This is the easiest question to answer about this game. Splatoon 3 will be a Nintendo Switch exclusive. Nintendo has never shared its first-party games with other platforms, or even PC, so this one will be no different.
Our first real look at Splatoon 3 came in the Nintendo Direct from September 2021. This trailer, called Return of the Mammalians, focused heavily on the game’s story mode. The reveal trailer already set the stage for the world of Splatoon being in some sort of post-apocalypse Earth where Inklings have evolved to be the dominant life form. However, as the trailer goes on, some new furry creatures begin to appear as the footage cuts and glitches out.
Nintendo itself has put out a small description for Splatoon 3 on the official page, saying, “The theme of Splatoon 3 story mode appears to be ‘return of the Mammalians.’ Wha?! As far as we know, mammals have disappeared from the surface of the planet (minus a couple of cool cats, of course). What does it mean for these Inklings?” This heavily implies these Mammalians will be the new, or additional, threat alongside the established Octarians.
The trailer otherwise showed off a few new environments, including some psychedelic cities, snowy beaches, and Japanese-inspired areas. There are also plenty of familiar characters making a return, with the Squid Sisters Callie and Marie and Cap’n Cuttlefish. How this story will play out, or even any of the major details, is being kept a secret for now.
As much intrigue as there is in the story, it’s the gameplay most people come to Splatoon for, and will be the thing that people stick to Splatoon 3 for. In both trailers, we can see that the core of the Splatoon formula will remain the same. You will take control of your Inkling from a third-person perspective to coat stages in ink with your weapon of choice. We got a good look at the most popular mode, Turf War. As it did in the previous games, this mode pits two teams of four against one another to try to cover as much of the map as possible with their team’s ink color.
Included in the newest trailer were some crazy new weapons, and what looks to be some sort of robot crab called a Crab Tank you can pilot that rolls around like a ball and opens up to blast ink out of a cannon. This doesn’t last for very long, though, and you’re not invincible while in it. Other new weapons and devices included the Big Bubbler, which creates a shield over an area; the Zipcaster, an inky grappling hook you can zip around the map with; the Killer Wail 5.1, which will automatically shoot lasers from a series of megaphones; an umbrella shield; and a bow and arrow.
As part of this mammal theme, a new mechanic to Splatoon 3 will be something called Fuzzy Ink. This is described as something that “pulsates like a life-form, but doesn’t actually seem to be a living creature.” In practice, it will coat any Inkling that touches it in fur, coating them to the point where they’re temporarily unable to control their character. We’re unsure if this is just a single-player mechanic or something you will be able to use in online multiplayer as well.
New maps have also been confirmed. We saw an urban-neighborhood-looking stage called Eeltail Alley, the Museum d’Alfonsino, and a desert level called Scorch Gorge. Certainly more maps, old and new, will also be available upon release.
The only gameplay trailer we have was of the Turf War game mode. At the opening, we see each player, who can have a little player card with a title of sorts like “Clocked-Out Turf Warrior” and “Inkless Office Drone” that we can probably unlock in different ways. Otherwise, the majority of the gameplay looked very familiar. Each team ran around trying to paint as much of the map as possible, as well as splat opponents. If you do get eliminated, you get a nice look at all the gear the person who took you out was wearing.
We get a little look at a vacuum-style gun that charges up for a big blast, and the bow and arrow weapon, along with plenty of returning favorites. When the match ends, you get a lineup of the winning team, but also a list of what medals you earned during the match.
The entire Splatoon series is primarily focused on multiplayer, which is an odd sentence to say for most Nintendo games. Still, even with the inclusion of a story mode in the sequel, and how Splatoon 3 looks to expand on the story and lore of the world further, multiplayer is the beating heart of the game. Aside from Turf War, though, we don’t know exactly what other new or old modes will be included in the game. We expect the most popular ranked modes like Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Clam Blitz to come back, or we just really hope they do, but will have to wait for confirmation.
The latest trailer confirmed the return of the popular Salmon Run mode, now renamed as Salmon Run Next Wave. This is once again a PvE cooperative mode where you team up against swarms of enemies, new and old, plus boss encounters like the Fish Stick. This massive pillar, with flying enemies tied to the top, slams down on the map and sprays ink in a wide range. The major baddie shown off was the massive Salmonoid. Eggs are now throwable, allowing for far more coordination and teamwork.
We don’t know what DLC plans are for now, but Splatoon has a good history of adding more content after launch. There are plenty of ways for Nintendo to add more content as they did with the previous games, whether it be in new maps, weapons, story missions, or just cosmetics. DLC for Splatoon 2 was almost universally enjoyed, so we’d be glad to see what plans there are for continued support for Splatoon 3 hopefully soon.
Normally there would be nothing to say about pre-orders until a release date was set, and yet one retailer is already taking orders for Splatoon 3. For now, the only place taking pre-orders is Best Buy, though if that isn’t an option for you then the rest of the usual outlets will also open up their pre-orders once the release date is set. Once Nintendo gives us the details on that, plus any unique versions it is offering, we’ll update you with all that good info.
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