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Everything we know about Splatoon 3

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 on this new colorful shooter, we’ve got all the details you need.

Further reading

Release date

Three inklings model new fashion in Splatoon 3.

Splatoon 3 has been known about for a while, but the latest update we got on the game’s release still pegs the game as coming sometime in 2022. Considering we got a new trailer but no update on the release in the September 2021 Nintendo Direct, we expect this game to be one of their fall or winter releases. For now, we will have to wait for the next showing to (hopefully) get a more concrete idea of when Splatoon 3 will arrive.

Platforms

A team of Inklings in the air.

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.

Trailer

Our latest look at Splatoon 3 came in the Nintendo Direct shown in 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 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’s 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.

Gameplay

An Inkling breakdancing.

As much intrigue as there is in the story, it’s the gameplay most people come to Splatoon for, and will absolutely 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 and 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 as a ball and opens up to blast ink out of a cannon. 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; and umbrella shield; and a bow and arrow.

As part of this mammal theme, a wholly 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.

Multiplayer

A crabtank rolling around.

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 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.

Another unknown is if the old cooperative Salmon Run mode will make a return. This was a novel mode in Splatoon 2, so we’d love to see it, or a revamped version with the inclusion of Mammalians perhaps, included for Splatoon 3.

DLC

A team of purple Inklings getting ready to play.

We don’t know what DLC plans are for now, but Splatoon has a good history of adding more content after launch. There’s 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.

Pre-order

Normally there would be nothing to say about pre-orders until a release date was set, and yet one retailer actually is already taking orders for Splatoon 3. For now, the only place taking pre-orders is BestBuy, 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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