This article or section discusses unreleased content. Information is subject to change.
In an interview with the weekly Famitsu magazine from around July 2019, Splatoon series producer Hisashi Nogami said that after completing Splatoon 2, the team focused on the Octo Expansion DLC as well as updates, and would not think about the future until completing version 5.0.0 of the game. This means that Splatoon 3 development had not started as of July 2019 and presumably started after the release of Version 5.0.0 on 31 July 2019. This is quite different compared to the timing of the development of Splatoon 2, which started immediately after Splatoon was released.
On 17 February 2021, Splatoon 3 was announced in a Nintendo Direct.
On 24 September 2021, more information was revealed about Splatoon 3 in a Nintendo Direct, including new special weapons, stages, and music, as well as the reveal of the single-player mode Return of the Mammalians.
On 1 January 2022, the @SplatoonJP Twitter account posted a Tweet for the arrival of 2022. The post included a video with an Inkling performing a victory pose along with a jingle, while 2022 is written in ink. This revealed the return of the brush main weapon class, marking the final returning weapon class revealed.
In a Nintendo Direct on 9 February 2022, Salmon Run Next Wave, a successor to Salmon Run from Splatoon 2, was revealed to be a mode in Splatoon 3, introducing new Boss Salmonids, Egg Throwing, and the King Salmonid. It was also confirmed that the game will be released in the summer of 2022.
On 22 April 2022, a fourth trailer for Splatoon 3 was released, showing gameplay of a Turf War and revealing the release date to be 9 September 2022. It was also revealed that the game will support cloud saves (for offline play data) and that there will not be separate regional versions, meaning that all language options will be available to every player.
The game takes place in the Splatlands, a sun-scorched desert inhabited by battle-hardened Inklings and Octolings, and Splatsville, a city of chaos, one and a half years after the final Splatfest, Chaos vs. Order. The outcome of the Splatfest is likely the reason the game's design is themed around chaos.
The Splatoon 3 single-player story mode is called "Return of the Mammalians", and it is implied that mammals besides Judd and Li'l Judd will appear. This includes some kind of mutated Octotrooper with brown fur. However, many other Octarians do make an appearance, such as Octopods, Octostamps, and DJ Octavio. The story takes place in a new location called Alterna, a large, snowy area littered with Fuzzy Ooze. It also contains a rocket ship and portable research lab (where Callie, Marie, Craig Cuttlefish, and the Captain appear), a dark, mirrored city, and a neon-lit area with traditional Japanese items floating around in the background. The player's character is an Inkling recruited by the New Squidbeak Splatoon (specifically the Squid Sisters and the Captain) as the new Agent 3; the former Agent 3 from the previous games is now the captain of the group following Cuttlefish's retirement.
Like its predecessors, Splatoon 3 is a third-person shooter game focused on online multiplayer ink battles, in which eight players are divided into two teams of four. Players have two main forms and may switch between the two at will: their humanoid form, in which they can use weapons to spread ink and splat opponents, and their squid or octopus form, which, if they enter their team's ink while in the form, allows them to swim through ink at greater speeds, including up walls, recharge their ink tank faster, and hide from opponents.
Players will have access to new movement techniques to dodge attacks and expand the possibilities of attacks. A "squid roll" allows them to leap and twirl out of their ink and a "squid surge" allows them to quickly swim up ink-covered walls and jump out at the top, and both have a short phase of invincibility. Additionally medals are now awarded at the end of multiplayer matches for various accomplishments.
In the Splatlands, players in online battles enter the battlefield with a spawner drone. It floats above the stage behind each base and allows players to aim at their desired deployment location within a certain reach. After choosing where to deploy, the spawner drone launches players to that location in squid or octopus form in a similar fashion to a Super Jump. If a player is splatted, they will respawn in the spawner drone and will launch in the same way a battle starts. The regular spawn points are still present, at least on Scorch Gorge, but are not confirmed to be usable.
In story mode, a Smallfry, nicknamed "little buddy", accompanies the player. They can be thrown to attack Octarians, interact with contraptions to solve various puzzles, and remove hazardous Fuzzy Ooze.
At this time, the following characters are known:
- Agent 3 (new)
- The player's "little buddy", a Smallfry
- New Squidbeak Splatoon
- Craig Cuttlefish
- DJ Octavio
- Judd and Li'l Judd
- Off the Hook
The genders of the Inklings and Octolings are no longer explicitly stated. Instead, the player "selects a style". Additionally, Octolings can now be selected from the start rather than having to be unlocked from paid DLC first.
New player customization options have been added:
- Two new skin tones in addition to the seven returning, for a total of nine.
- Eleven new eye colors, including six heterochromatic eyes that form a gradient from one color to another, in addition to 10 returning colors, for a total of 21.
- New hairstyles and legwear.
- Hairstyles and legwear are no longer split between genders, meaning either style can access any hairstyle or legwear option, though hairstyles are still split between species.
- At least four new Inkling hairstyles and four new Octoling hairstyles will be available. In keeping with the "chaos" theme, many of the new hairstyles are asymmetrical. All 16 hairstyles from Splatoon 2 have been confirmed to return, for a total of at least 24 options.
- At least one new legwear option has been added in addition to the eight returning, for a total of at least nine.
- The player now has a "little buddy", a Smallfry that plays a role in the single-player mode. Their hairstyle can be customized, with a total of seven different options.
Although not explicitly confirmed, it appears that the player can customize their character's eyebrow shapes. There are new eyebrow options in addition to four eyebrow shapes from previous games (that previously matched the character's species and gender), although it is currently unclear whether available eyebrow options will depend on the chosen style.
There is also new gear, as well as gear returning from previous games:
- Returning headgear includes the Annaki Beret & Glasses, Annaki Mask, Fugu Bell Hat, Full Moon Glasses, Golf Visor, Knitted Hat, Safari Hat, Short Beanie, Sneaky Beanie, Studio Headphones, SV925 Circle Shades, Swim Goggles, Fake Contacts, Blowfish Bell Hat, White Arrowbands, Takoroka Mesh, 18K Aviators, Squidvader Cap, Designer Headphones, Squidlife Headphones and FishFry Biscuit Bandana.
- Returning clothes include the Annaki Yellow Cuff, B-ball Jersey (Home), Camo Layered LS, Camo Zip Hoodie, King Jersey, N-Pacer Sweat, Purple Camo LS, Red Hula Punk with Tie, Rockenberg White, Shirt & Tie, Zekko Long Carrot Tee, Herbivore Tee, Sunny-Day Tee, Negative Longcuff Sweater, Layered Vector LS, Black Inky Rider, Squid Satin Jacket, Gray Vector Tee, Takoroka Nylon Vintage and White V-Neck Tee.
- Returning shoes include the Amber Sea Slug Hi-Tops, Blue Power Stripes, Choco Clogs, Punk Cherries, Red FishFry Sandals, Snowy Down Boots, Tea-Green Hunting Boots, Turquoise Kicks, Red & Black Squidkid IV, Zombie Hi-Horses, Yellow FishFry Sandals, Annaki Habaneros and Tan Work Boots.
Additionally, a new feature of customizable banners has been added, displaying the player's username alongside changeable titles and backgrounds. These banners are displayed in certain situations, such as at the start and end of battles.
At this time, these locations are known:
- Sockeye Station
Salmon Run Next Wave
- Scorch Gorge - A new stage with a visual aesthetic very similar to Saltspray Rig or Salmon Run stages, but located in a desert wasteland instead of at sea.
- Eeltail Alley - A new stage set in an alley in the middle of Splatsville. Various bridges placed around the stage give it a separate upper and lower layer.
- Museum d'Alfonsino - A returning stage from Splatoon, still located in Inkopolis. The shape of the large rotating platforms in the center of the stage appears to have been altered.
- Undertow Spillway - A new stage set inside an underground flood bypass, that used to be abandoned before being restored for Turf Wars.
- A job listing for a level designer by Nintendo announced at the same time as the game's reveal includes "既存ステージの改修" (renovation of existing stages). This could either mean that stages from the previous games will be returning, or that the role's responsibilities will include fixing bugs and balance issues in stages after the game's release. It is assumed to be the former due to Museum d'Alfonsino being confirmed to return in Splatoon 3.
- Sockeye Station - A new stage in the Salmon Run Next Wave mode, with a similar aesthetic to previous Salmon Run stages.
- The stringer class was added, of which one known weapon is the Tri-Stringer. Once charged, it fires three strings of ink simultaneously. Its design seems to be based on a fishing rod, using the reel and string. The weapon also appears to have two stages of charge, as seen in the Nintendo Switch OLED trailer.
- All main weapons from previous games return, as confirmed by the Nintendo of Europe Twitter account.
- Some unidentified weapons can be seen in Splatsville's Ammo Knights store.
- The Splat Bombs, Curling Bombs, and Burst Bombs all make appearances in the second Direct. The Suction Bombs and Splash Walls are revealed in the Release Date Revealed trailer. It is currently unknown if they will retain the same attributes from the previous games.
- A flask-shaped sub weapon, although it is unknown whether it is the Disruptor, Toxic Mist, or a new sub weapon altogether.
- A new sub weapon named the Angle Shooter was revealed. It is thrown in a straight line, bouncing off any surface and leaving behind a trail. Both the projectile and its trail slightly damage and tag enemies on contact, allowing them to be seen through opaque obstacles, similar to the Point Sensor.
- A special weapon similar to the Inkzooka, called the Trizooka, was added. Three blobs of ink can be shot out of it, creating a large blast when it hits a surface. It can be fired three times. As of the Release Date Revealed trailer, it appears to be part of the Splattershot's set.
- Prior to the Release Date Revealed trailer, a player using a Tri-Stringer could be seen using the Trizooka; its kit seems to have been changed to include the Killer Wail 5.1 instead (see below).
- The Killer Wail 5.1, a set of six miniature floating lasers similar to the Sting Ray, was added. These lasers appear to follow enemy players in pairs. It appears to be part of the Sloshing Machine and Range Blaster's sets, and as of the Release Date Revealed trailer, it may also be a part of the .52 Gal and Tri-Stringer's sets.
- A crab-shaped robot that can transform into a ball, called the Crab Tank, was added. The player can alternate between rapid-fire shots and a strong, cannon-like blast while using it. In the September 2021 Direct, a player seen holding a Clash Blaster is also the player using the Crab Tank, and it was being used next to where the Clash Blaster was last seen in the trailer. This implies the Crab Tank is part of the Clash Blaster's set. The Release Date Revealed trailer shows that it is also a part of the Splattershot Pro's set.
- A deployable shield dome called the Big Bubbler was added. Atop the dome is a generator that can be attacked to decrease the radius of the dome itself. It appears to be part of the Splat Roller's set.
- A grappling hook-like special weapon, called the Zipcaster, was added. Using it, players can grapple to walls or other surfaces and attack with their main weapon, though its duration seems to decrease with each grapple and attack. It appears to be part of the Splash-o-Matic and Octobrush's sets.
- The Zipcaster features a landing-spot marker similar to the Inkjet's landing marker in Splatoon 2, albeit with a different design.
- Projectiles appearing similar to Tenta Missiles can be seen in an early promotional image and the Nintendo Switch OLED trailer. Said promotional image implies that it could be a part of the E-liter 4K Scope's set.
- A missile special weapon, called the Triple Inkstrike, was added. The player launches three mini Inkstrike-like missiles and throws three beacons. The missiles then land at where each beacon is thrown, creating tornadoes of ink. It appears to be part of the Slosher's set.
- A vacuum-like special weapon, called the Ink Vac, was added. Players can absorb incoming fire, including sub weapons, and release a blast of ink as a counterattack. It appears to be part of the Splat Charger's set.
The announcement trailer for the game contains a new remix of Splattack!, different from both the original Splatoon version and the Octo Expansion remix. It is currently unknown whether this remix will be included in the final game. This remix seems to suggest the game's music will follow a more rock-esque style, especially considering the overall theme of the game seemingly being based on Chaos winning the Chaos vs. Order Splatfest.
A new band called C-Side has a song named Clickbait, which was first heard in the 23 September 2021 Nintendo Direct. In the same video, a song sounding similar to Turquoise October's music is heard after Clickbait.
A sample of an early version Now or Never! can be heard in an official tweet released on 1 January 2022. A full version of Now or Never! can be heard in the background of the gameplay trailer on 22 April 2022.
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- The signature ink color set for this game is similar to the Color Lock set in Splatoon 2, as well as one of the Ranked Battle color sets in Splatoon.
- The Inkopolis Memorial Mixtape ends with the same drum loop used in the Splatoon loading screen followed by the opening of the original version of Splattack!, similar to the music of the Splatoon 3 announcement trailer.
- In the Splatoon 3 announcement trailer, it could be seen that, while Inklings and Octolings are being shown individually, the Octoling using the Hydra Splatling had the symmetrical teeth of an Inkling, unlike the asymmetrical teeth Octolings usually have. This was later corrected in some promotional art of Octolings on Splatoon 3's official Japanese website after the game's release date reveal.
- In the Release Date Revealed trailer, the camera never cut to the Splat Roller user.
- If one looks close enough, the "3" in the final version of the game's logo has some cracks visible on its surface. This is another reference to the game being themed around chaos and it taking place in a desert region.
Names in other languages
Si pou laai deon 3 (Cantonese)
Sī pǔ lā dùn 3 (Mandarin)
- Official Splatoon 3 websites ( America, United Kingdom, Australia, Japan)
- Trailers: Announcement trailer • Story mode trailer • Salmon Run trailer • Release date trailer
- Announcement thread ( America @NintnedoAmerica, Japan @SplatoonJP)
- Story mode thread ( America, United Kingdom, Japan @SplatoonJP)
- Salmon Run thread ( America @SplatoonNA, Japan @SplatoonJP)
- Release date thread ( America @SplatoonNA, Japan @SplatoonJP)
- Splatoon 3 Release season confirmation
- 17 July 2019 Splatoon 3 development hasn't started yet
- Nintendo of Korea
- Nintendo of Hong Kong
- @SplatoonJP Twitter - 2022 arrival post
- Splatoon 3 – Release Date Revealed - Nintendo Switch
- Enter the Splatlands When Splatoon 3 Surfaces on Sept. 9 - Nintendo
- @asasasa98765 Twitter (Splatoon dataminer) - Regional differences and languages
- @NintendoAmerica - Post about the story's timeline
- Splatoon 3 for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details
- Splatoon 3 - Nintendo of America Twitter thread
- Nintendo of Japan
- Nintendo of Europe - All main weapons return