Splatoon fans have been waiting a long time to learn more about Splatoon 3, and Nintendo finally gave us what we wanted this afternoon with a dedicated Splatoon Direct. Here’s every major announcement, including new idols, new modes and more!
The show opened with a basic showcase of Turf War mechanics for those unfamiliar. Cover as much of the map with ink as you can to score points, swim through the ink to get around faster, and so on. The first reveal came with two new movement abilities that you will be able to use in squid form. Squid Surge allow you to surge up walls when swimming in ink, giving you a boost of speed to fly into the air at the end, whilst Squid Roll lets you jump out of the ink and flip over to change your direction quickly. Both new abilities provide a certain window to repel ink from opponents while using them.
New stages in the Splatlands followed. The first of these was Scorch Gorge, the run-down map in the middle of a dry canyon that was featured in the first Splatoon 3 reveal trailer. Eeltail Alley is a pedestrian area, featuring road signs and a crossing. Mincemeat Metalworks is a factory stage with an open roof and what appears to be a conveyor belt running through the stage. Undertow Spillway was the last new Splatlands stage shown, and appears to be an urban area with lots of sloped surfaces. Outside the Splatlands, Hagglefish Market is a new stage along the coast of the city, with street vendors populating the map in their stalls. A bunch of returning stages were confirmed too, these being Museum D’Alfonsino, Hammerhead Bridge, Mahi-Mahi Resort, Inkblot Art Academy, Sturgeon Shipyard, Makomart and Wahoo World. That makes 12 total stages at launch.
All basic weapons from past games return, and new ones were shown off. These are Stringers, which are bows, and Splatanas, a sword-like blade that launches ink forwards and slashes those at close range. New specials are also coming to Splatoon 3 with the Tacticooler, a fridge that dispenses buffs for your team, the Wave Breaker, a wave-making machine that marks and damages enemies, and the Reefslider, a shark you can ride on that explodes and damages those in the surrounding area.
The past stores from other Splatoon entries will be returning, albeit some have new names and new owners. Ammo Knights, the weapon store ran by Sheldon, returns from Splatoon and Splatoon 2, featuring a new currency for buying weapons that is earned through levelling up and increasing weapon proficiency. Greater customisation of our inklings comes with the new catalogue system, an items catalogue that will refresh every three months for the next two years after launch. The catalogue will include victory emotes and Splashtags, a player banner that appears at the start of online games.
Another new social element is introduced in Splatoon 3 with the locker room, where players can show their personality by customising a locker with stickers, items, pictures and clothes. Hotlantis, a brand new store type, sells locker merchandise. A new photo mode lets you take selfies around Splatsville, and these pictures can be posted online or displayed in your locker. The mailbox returns from Splatoon 2 to function as a replacement for the Miiverse posts that became popular in the original Splatoon, and we’re sure that this feature will be as hilarious and unhinged as it always has been.
Then came some battle news. Anarchy Battles are the new competitive mode where players compete to rank up. The modes playable include Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker and Clam Blitz on rotation. Private battles return, and let you choose a game mode to play with your friends. While you wait, a new feature allows players to use the test range while loading up an online game, and friends can join while they get ready too. It seems that playing with others has been streamlined overall, as you can now put a call out into the lobby to request friends join your game. When those battles are over, battle replays are saved, to let you watch battles from yours and other players perspectives, and allows you to upload them online. Nintendo definitely seems to be focusing on making Splatoon more viable as a modern competitive esport.
The Direct then showcased a new (in-game) puzzle card game, Tableturf Battle. The collectible cards you find and put in your deck will place different ink shapes on a 2D game board, with the aim of building up your turf and claiming victory. The game is played with other Splatsville locals, and more details will come in future.
The Salmon Run mode appeared with another explanation of the basics. New bosses exclusive to Splatoon 3 were shown, with the Slammin’ Lid, a UFO salmonid that shields ground salmonids by landing on you, and Big Shot, a big salmonid which fires heavy projectiles from a distance that send off shockwaves when they land. A high-energy emergency sequence then showcased King Salmonids, gigantic bosses that occasionally appear at the end of a job. The battles are time limited, with the aim of causing as much damage as possible before you and your team can make an escape. As if that wasn’t dramatic enough, a brief look at a new series of events called ‘Big Run’ rounded out the Salmon Run coverage. Big Run will see the dastardly salmonids invading the city of Splatsville, an event that will occur every few months.
Very little was shown of the Story Mode, and hardly any new details were given. One noteworthy thing however as the reveal that the Splatoon 3 story mode will be an “epic finale” to a saga. What exactly this means is unclear, but it seems that our quest to defeat the Octarians is heading for an end.
SplatNet 3 was announced coming to mobile, and will showcase your battle stats and gear. A new quest series on the app will follow Crusty Sean on a journey. Reaching certain ink milestones will complete quests and bring rewards. SplatNet 3 will be available at launch as part of the Nintendo Switch Online app. For more out-of-game fun, Amiibo compatibility returns. Amiibo can be used to save outfits on, get special gear and take pictures with the characters from the figures. A new wave of Splatoon 3 amiibo will be released this holiday.
Supporting the game after launch seems to be very important for Nintendo, as it was mentioned numerous times through the Direct. The regular content updates every three months for the next two years will add new weapons, stages and cosmetics, as well as adding the X Battle and League Battle modes.
Splatfests return, and will now be a three-sided contest, rather than two. Games of the classic two team Turf War will happen in the first half of the Splatfest, but it will now be followed by a Tricolor Turf War in the second half – a new mode that will have all three Splatfest sides face off in an extra chaotic game of Turf War. Additionally, large-scale paid DLC was confirmed to release in future, with the on-screen graphic teasing Pearl and Marina for this future content.
The show ended with a showcase of the highly anticipated new idols – Frye, Shiver and Big Man, together known as Deep Cut! They host Anarchy Splatcast, the news bulletin show that returning Splatoon players will be extremely familiar with. In a great quality-of-life update, news can now play in the background while doing other things, instead of hijacking the game every few hours.
The final announcements confirmed a pre-release Splatfest in the form of a free demo coming August 27th, and Nintendo later confirmed that everyone downloading the demo will receive a 7-day free trial to Nintendo Switch Online. The first theme will be Rock (Team Shiver) vs Paper (Team Frye) vs Scissors (Team Big Man). The show then ended announcing North America’s first ever Splatoon 3 invitational tournament, coming to PAX West in September.
And with that, you’re all caught up! Personally, I was very pleased with the amount of new information Nintendo gave us on Splatoon 3. Many questions were floating around about what makes this sequel different, and those questions seem to have been answered. Now all that’s left is to wait until Splatoon 3 releases on September 9th, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
Were you happy with this showcase? Was anything missing, or did the show deliver exactly what you wanted? Let us known in the comments below, and keep your eyes on GameLuster for more Splatoon 3 coverage!