This morning, Nintendo held a special Splatoon 3 Direct video going over the game, and we learned a lot about this upcoming sequel. The biggest takeaway that should be of note here is that the team went to great lengths to make sure you knew this wasn't just "Splatoon 2.5" with some extra content. Which is a fear a lot of people had online that the company basically rushed out a sequel to make a quick buck. There are improvements over the previous title, but it looks like they've been married with new content that is designed, at least at a glance, to cater to more esports and FPS players. Not to mention putting in more multiplayer modes to choose from in case you get tired of the same 'ol stuff.
This makes a little more sense when you consider they announced an invitational tournament taking place at PAX West on September 5th, so Nintendo is leaning a little more into the esports stuff now, but still making it a friendly competition. Keep in mind that no one has officially played a full version of the game yet, so we don't know how well some of this will hold up in the long run. But it does feel like the company is trying to make it feel like a bigger deal, much like how the first sequel was to the original. We have the full set of notes and the Direct video to watch below, as the game is available for pre-order now before it comes out on September 9th.
- Return of the Mammalians: The completely new Story Mode is ideal for getting the hang of battles and weapons, while setting out on an adventure to discover the secrets of Alterna, the Fuzzy Ooze, and how it connects to the title's theme. As Agent 3, the latest recruit of the New Squidbeak Splatoon, players will battle with the Octarian Army, whose members are covered in hair for some reason. Along with their Smallfry buddy, players can explore many stages, each one full of twists and turns.
- Improved Turf War Gameplay: Naturally, in a place called Splatsville, Turf War is the locals' favorite pastime. Two teams of four compete to ink the most turf on the map within three minutes. New techniques have been introduced, like the Squid Surge where players can swim up walls in a single burst, and the Squid Roll, which makes it possible to jump out of ink while turning around. When the players' character glows while executing the move, it also repels ink from opponents.
- Salmon Run: The Salmon Run mode returns, which allows up to four players to work together and collect Power Eggs from the Salmonids advancing on them. Now, Salmon Run can be played at any time! Players will encounter ferocious creatures called Boss Salmonids, including the new Slammin' Lid and the Big Shot. Plus, watch out for Cohozuna, a new King Salmonid super-giant Salmonid! When battling a King Salmonid, the tank on players' backs will transform into an Egg Cannon. Collect the Golden Eggs and deal massive damage to the King Salmonid and give it the boot! Plus, Big Runs are coming in the future … an event when Salmonids invade the city in which Inklings and Octolings live!
- New and Returning Battle Stages: Turf War battles will play out across a variety of exotic locations. There are stages specific to the Splatlands like Eeltail Alley, Scorch Gorge, Mincemeat Metalworks and Undertow Spillway. There's also the new Hagglefish Market, a pier filled to the brim with vibrant street vendors. Several stages from Greater Inkopolis also make a return, such as Museum d'Alfonsino, Hammerhead Bridge and Mahi-Mahi Resort. A total of 12 stages await at launch, including the ones shown off in the presentation. More stages will be added in free post-launch updates.
- The Deep Cut Trio: Deep Cut is a popular trio who hosts the Splatsville news program Anarchy Splatcast. They provide information on battle stages currently available, as well as other news bulletins. For the first time in the series, these updates can even be read on the go while exploring Splatsville!
- Splatfests Return: In these online events, players vote for their favorite choice out of three in an announced theme. The team they represent is based on that choice, and the winner is decided via battles over a set period of time. Splatfests will consist of two halves. In the first half, the three teams will compete in 4-v-4 Turf War battles. The second half includes the new Tricolor Turf War battles, a mode where three teams fight at the same time. Can the first-place team defend themselves in this unique 4-v-2-v-2 match type?
- Tableturf Battle: The Tableturf Battle Dojo in Splatsville's vacant lot is the home of Tableturf Battle, a new mode in Splatoon 3. In this 1-v-1 competitive card battle spinoff of Turf War, players can ink different shapes with different cards, charge up power, then unleash it all at once with a special comeback attack. There are over 150 cards to collect.
- The Splatlands' Main Weapons: New Splatlands-specific weapons have been added in Splatoon 3. The bow-like Tri-Stringer can fire in three directions simultaneously and unleash charged shots that briefly freeze before exploding. The Splatana Wiper sends blades of ink flying with the centrifugal force generated by swinging it. If swung after charging up, it'll transform into a charged slash. Plus, all main weapon types from previous Splatoon games will be available in Splatoon 3 from the start.
- New Special Weapons: There are special kinds of weapons that can be unleashed after inking enough turf, and Splatoon 3 brings some new and unique special weapons. These include the Tacticooler – when it's activated, a fridge appears with stat-boosting beverages for the team. There's also the Wave Breaker that unleashes sonic waves around the area. And the Reefslider is a shark-shaped, ink-propelled float which charges forward creating an ink explosion on opponents. Some familiar special weapons from the Splatoon series, like the Tenta Missiles, Inkjet, Ink Storm, Ultra Stamp and Booyah Bomb, will make their return. Special weapons are paired with main weapons, so players can find the combo that suits their splatting style.
- Battle Modes: In Anarchy Battles, players compete for rankings in objective-based battles. There are four separate modes, which are on rotation: Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker and Clam Blitz. Wanna take on a challenge solo? Select Anarchy Battle (Series). But if players want to team up with friends, joining Anarchy Battle (Open) is the way to go.
- Lobby Features: The Splatsville lobby is host to a number of features. Online friends appear as 3D holograms. In battle, it's easy to join as an ally or drop in as an opponent. And by forming a team and playing, players can see what friends are up to at any given moment. The lobby also includes a Memory Player, which can replay recent battles.
- Customizing With the Catalog: When battles start, Splashtags appear. These can be customized with a title, background and badge. Additionally, the emote a character performs when winning a battle can be customized. All of these and more can be obtained via the in-game catalog, which will be available at Hotlantis, a general store on the edge of Splatsville. Players can exchange points earned from battles for various items, like seasonal gear and ability chunks. After the catalog's initial launch, updates will be released every three months for two years.
- SplatNet 3 Connected: SplatNet 3 is an online service for Splatoon 3 within the Nintendo Switch Online app that can be used with a smart device. It contains features like checking battle records, ordering special in-game gear from the SplatNet Gear Shop and much more. A new feature is Crusty Sean's Wandercrust. It's possible to support Crusty Sean's journey using Inked Points earned during battles. SplatNet 3 will be available at launch.
- New amiibo Inkoming: New Splatoon 3 amiibo figures are arriving this holiday, including separate amiibo figures for Inkling (Yellow), Octoling (Blue) and Smallfry which will be available at select retailers for a suggested price of $15.99 each. Scanning the amiibo in-game will allow players to save their favorite gear combinations as Fresh Fits to easily swap outfits. Additionally, the amiibo come with exclusive gear, and it's possible to snap in-game photos together with them. Plus, some Splatoon 2 amiibo figures will be relaunching soon: Both the Callie & Marie 2-Pack and the Pearl & Marina 2-Pack will be restocked at select retailers at a suggested price of $24.99 each.
- Post-Launch Updates: After the game launches, a free in-game season catalog will be distributed every three months for two years. Additional weapons will also be added around the same time as each in-game catalog. In addition, X Battle and League Battle are planned for future updates. X Battle is unlocked after attaining an extremely high rank in Anarchy Battle. In League Battle, players can compete every two hours in teams based on their Anarchy Battle results. Large-scale paid DLC is also planned for the future. More details will be shared at a later date.
- The Splatoon 3 Enter the Splatlands Invitational 2022 Tournament: At PAX West on Sept. 5, the top players from this summer's Splatoon 2 Inkopolis Showdown 2022 tournament have been invited to Seattle to compete in North America's first-ever Splatoon 3 Invitational. Be sure to follow the official Nintendo Versus Twitter account for all the fun updates! And to learn about more research findings straight from the Squid Research Lab as soon as they're uncovered, follow the official Splatoon North American Twitter account.