Splatoon 3 is on the way, and it’s already shaping up to be one of the most exciting upcoming releases from Nintendo. With an official release date now confirmed for September, we won’t have to wait long to jump right into the ink-filled action. With a vast array of weapons old and new, the confirmed return of the co-op mode Salmon Run, and a strange new enemy in the Mammalian, there’s plenty to get excited about.
While we don’t yet know if we’ll be seeing a Nintendo Direct during E3 2022, we may well see some kind of showcase during the E3 2022 schedule. And with Splatoon 3 being one of the biggest games of the year, we may well see more of the inklings this summer. If you’re excited to step into Splatsville later this year, read on below to find out everything we know so far about Splatoon 3.
When is the Splatoon 3 release window?
Splatoon 3 is officially coming to Switch on September 9, 2022. Nintendo revealed the initial seasonal window in the above trailer, which is focused exclusively on the return of Salmon Run (more on that in a second).
Is Splatoon 3 co-op coming back?
One of the biggest pleasant surprises in Splatoon 2 was Salmon Run, a co-op mode that sent teams of four players against waves of freaky (but also kinda cute) Salmonid enemies. It was a nice way to take a break from competitive multiplayer, and you could even earn some powerful gear for performing well. The Splatoon 3 trailer which aired alongside everything announced at the February 2022 Nintendo Direct finally confirmed Salmon Run will return, and the next wave will be full of new threats to contend with – from the towering Fish Stick to the terrifying King Salmonid.
Watch the first Splatoon 3 trailer
Nintendo revealed the Splatoon 3 trailer during its February Direct presentation, and you could hardly ask for a better debut (opens in new tab). The trailer follows an Inkling on their journey from the Splatlands to the massive, chaotic city of Splatsville. We get an early look at character creation – which we’ll go into more in a bit – and we also see an unexpected landmark: the Eiffel Tower ripped from its foundations and wedged upside down in a giant pit. It may seem like a random addition to the world, but if you’ve been paying attention to the Splatoon lore (oh yeah, there’s lore) you already know the series takes place on Earth many, many years after humans went extinct. Once our Inkling hero arrives in Splatsville, they head straight into a Turf War to show off their new abilities and weapons.
Splatoon 3 weapons – What’s new?
The first trailer revealed some Splatoon 3 weapons returning from previous games, including new looks for the trusty .96 Gal and the Range Blaster. The main Inkling wields an all-new bow weapon with three strings, which we now know is called the ‘Tri-Stringer’. Not long after the release date was revealed earlier in 2022, Nintendo showed off more about two weapons including the aforementioned bow and a new inky vacuum aptly named ‘Ink Vac’.
The Tri-Stringer (opens in new tab) can fire simultaneously in three directions to send out charged shots that momentarily freeze before exploding. The Ink Vac (opens in new tab), on the other hand, has a big nozzle that can inhale ink from an enemy’s attack and send it right back. If you inhale more attacks, the more powerful its counterattack will be.
Other weapons we also know will be coming to Splatoon 3 include the Crab Tank (opens in new tab), a modified version of the Triple Inkstrike (opens in new tab), The Big Bubbler (opens in new tab), and the Zipcaster (opens in new tab). Nintendo also confirmed all basic weapons from previous Splatoon games will be coming to Splatoon 3 (opens in new tab).
Splatoon 3 idols – who will they be?
The Splatoon 3 idols haven’t been revealed yet, but here’s what we know so far. Splatoon introduced us to Callie and Marie as the Squid Sisters (and we know they’ll return again in the latest game, at least in the campaign), then Splatoon 2 turned the spotlight to Pearl and Marina, AKA Off the Hook. The relatively short-lived fame of Splatoon idols mirrors real-life celebrity turnover, so it’s a good bet that we’ll get a new pair of stars to keep us up-to-date on the latest splat-happenings in Splatoon 3. Is it too much to hope for a Salmonid/Jellyfish punk duo?
Splatoon 3 character customization
It looks like Splatoon 3 character customization will be more extensive and representative than ever before. The trailer shows you’ll be able to pick between playing an Inkling or an Octoling right from the start, and you just select a visual body type instead of being required to choose a gendered option. Both species sport new hairstyles, including braids and more close-cropped looks. It doesn’t end with your squid/octo kid though – you can also pick out a hairstyle for your adorably weird pet smallfry. Hopefully your little buddy doesn’t know how many of its kind we splatted back in Salmon Run…
Splatoon 3 story mode – Who are the Mammalians?
We’ve finally gotten our first look at Splatoon 3 story mode, and it’s thrown a real curveball at our understanding of the Splatoon-iverse (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves – please don’t start calling it that). The “Return of the Mammalians” trailer showed some familiar Octarian foes clad in strange, dark fur – and also parts of the environment with the same furry coating. It looks like you’ll need to clean up some of that fur as you go with the help of your Salmonid small fry pet, but the question of how it got there in the first place remains. Is this post-human-apocalypse world harboring more than the evolved sea creatures we’ve met so far? More than them and Judd and Judd Jr., we mean?
Despite being multiplayer-focused games, both Splatoon and Splatoon 2 had surprisingly fun and extensive single-player campaigns. There’s little doubt that Splatoon 3 will follow suit. We fought a secret war against Octarian armies in the last two games, but now that Inklings are living in peace with Octolings – a prominent subspecies of the Octarians – will the Mammalians be our new enemy?
Find more Nintendo titles we’re looking forward to in our list of upcoming Switch games.