Splatoon 3 is the third entry in the Splatoon series and the sequel to Splatoon 2. Announced during the February 2021 Nintendo Direct, it was released on the Nintendo Switch on 9 September 2022. It quickly sold well, selling 7.9 million copies in its first three weeks, becoming approximately the eighteenth-best-selling Nintendo Switch title in the process.
Following the Team Chaos victory in the Chaos vs. Order Splatfest, Splatoon 3's style is very chaotic, bringing post-apocalyptic, patchwork, and other chaotic elements together with the styles of both previous games.
Splatoon 3 expands the Splatoon series on many different fronts, with an extensive story mode and lore, new Salmon Run challenges and rewards, a wider range of customisation with more options and the addition of Splashtags, and the newly-added locker room. Additionally, Splatoon 3 streamlines many aspects of the previous games. The lobby has been reworked into a greatly-expanded practice area accessible between matches, Splatfests are overhauled for three teams with a new Tricolor Turf War mode, and the UI has been made much more responsive and informative.
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 23 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.
On 10 August 2022, an approximately thirty-minute long Nintendo Direct focused entirely on Splatoon 3, titled the Splatoon 3 Direct was aired, revealing many new details about various aspects of the game, such as its modes, characters, stages, weapons, etc. A free demo of the game called the Splatoon 3 Splatfest World Premiere was also revealed.
On 27 August 2022, the Splatoon 3 Splatfest World Premiere was started at different time zones with 26 weapons to use and a variety of different gear to wear. The theme was Rock vs. Paper vs. Scissors.
On 9 September 2022, Splatoon 3 was released.
The game takes place 5 years after the events of Splatoon 2 in the Splatlands, a sun-scorched desert inhabited by battle-hardened Inklings and Octolings, and Splatsville, a city of chaos that developed rapidly since the last Splatfest of Splatoon 2, Chaos vs. Order. The game's design is themed around chaos due to the outcome of the Splatfest.
The Splatoon 3 single-player story mode is called "Return of the Mammalians". Octarians return as the primary enemies, but the majority of them now appear mutated with brown fur and purple eyes. The story starts in the Crater where the player's character, an Inkling or Octoling accompanied by their companion Smallfry, is recruited by Craig Cuttlefish into the New Squidbeak Splatoon as the new Agent 3. The majority of the mode takes place in a location beneath the Crater called Alterna, a large, snowy area littered with incomplete structures and hazardous Fuzzy Ooze with a rocket at its center. Callie, Marie, and the Captain (the former Agent 3 from the previous games who is now the captain of the group following Cuttlefish's retirement) appear in this area to aid the player in their goal of exploring Alterna and finding Cuttlefish, who went missing shortly after recruiting the player.
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 swim form - with a squid or octopus appearance, 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 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, such as inking the most and getting the most splats.
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 that team's spawn area. After choosing where to deploy, the spawner drone launches players to that location in squid or octopus form similar 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.
- Main article: Character
- Agent 3 (Splatoon 3)
- New Squidbeak Splatoon
- Craig Cuttlefish
- DJ Octavio
- Judd and Li'l Judd
- Deep Cut
- Mr. Grizz
- Gnarly Eddy
- Jel La Fleur
- Mr. Coco
- Crusty Sean
- Off the Hook
- Super Sea Snails
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 Settings have been added:
- Two new skin tones in addition to the seven returning, for a total of nine.
- Seven new eye colors, including six heterochromatic eyes that form a gradient from one color to another, in addition to 14 returning colors, for a total of 21. Some of these new eye color options feature colored pupils.
- New hairstyles and legwear.
- Hairstyles and legwear are no longer split between genders, meaning either style can access any hairstyle or legwear option. Hairstyles are still split between species.
- Four new Inkling hairstyles and four new Octoling hairstyles are available, many of which are asymmetrical. All 16 hairstyles from Splatoon 2 return, for a total of 24 options.
- Four new legwear options have been added in addition to the eight returning, for a total of 12.
- The player can now also 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). In addition to their classic eyebrows, they can have the same eyebrows but with a slit, rounded eyebrows (for Inkling girls), triangular eyebrows (for Inkling boys), teardrop-shaped eyebrows (for Octolings), thin eyebrows (for Inklings), and curved eyebrows (for Octolings).
- 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.
- Each player now has their own customizable Splashtag, displaying the player's username and ID number alongside customizable titles, badges, and a background. These are displayed in certain situations, such as at the start and end of battles and when viewing players in the square. In the player's first battle, they will use a default Splashtag with the default username of "Player"; after their first battle is complete, they unlock username and Splashtag customization. More titles, badges, and backgrounds can be obtained in various ways.
- Usernames can now be changed directly in the game independently of the player's Nintendo Switch username. Their username after their first battle will default to their Switch username but is otherwise no longer determined by it.
- Players can now customize the emotes that they perform upon winning battles. Unlike in the previous games, there are no longer animations for when players lose; instead, only the winning team of the battle is shown regardless of whether that was the player's team, at which point all players on that team are seen performing their selected emotes.
New gear has been added, along with returning examples:
- Two new brands have been introduced- Barazushi and Emberz. The former makes high-quality technical wear for both hot and cold regions, like parkas and hoodies. The latter produces mostly patchwork clothing with an addition of other pieces, representing the chaotic ethos of Splatsville.
- Numerous returning brands have added new choices to their arrays, including brands such as Enperry, Forge, Krak-On and Toni Kensa.
- Certain brands don't offer any new gear, instead offering a combination of choices from past games.
- Much of the new gear has been influenced primarily by mexican, japanese and inuit cultures, and counterculture. Baja hoodies, 80's style knits, anoraks, pistes, tandem tees and other patchwork clothing are present within the game.
- The Crater
- Greater Inkopolis
- Sockeye Station
- Gone Fission Hydroplant
- Spawning Grounds
- Marooner's Bay
Tricolor Turf War
First introduced in the Splatfest World Premiere, Tricolor Turf War is a new mode in Splatoon 3. This mode is only available in the second half of a Splatfest and is an altered version of the Turf War mode in which the three Splatfest teams battle in one Turf War. The Splatfest team that was in the lead at the Halftime Report of the Splatfest has four players in the match and start in the middle of the stage, while the other two teams have two players each and start at opposite ends of the stage. In the middle of the stage, there is a device called the Ultra Signal. If a member of one of the two losing Splatfest teams captures the Ultra Signal by holding it for long enough, a Sprinkler of Doom will appear and constantly rain that team's color for the rest of the match, and it cannot be destroyed. The person trying to capture the Ultra Signal is immobile while capturing it, so they can be splatted in the process, causing them to lose it.
Anarchy Battle is a new mode that replaces Ranked Battles from previous games. It features all four modes from Ranked Battles that previously appeared (namely Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker, and Clam Blitz) on rotation and the returning rank system. There are two types of Anarchy Battles, Series and Open; Series Anarchy Battles do not allow for friends to join each other and use a new best out of five rulesets by which losing three battles results in a loss, while winning five battles results in a victory. Open Anarchy Battles are standalone battles in which players have the option to either join their friends or play solo.
X Battle replaces Splatoon 2's X Rank from Ranked Battles, featuring the same four ranked modes but on a separate rotation, available only to players who have achieved a rank of S+0 or above in Anarchy Battles during the current season. X Battle was added to the game on 1 December 2022 as part of the Chill Season 2022 update.
The Shoal allows Private Battles and Salmon Run to be played locally with other nearby players. Like in the Battle Lobby, the player can now move around inside the building, and it houses its own Test Range that can be used while waiting for battles or shifts to start.
Tableturf Battle is an adaptation of Turf War styled after a card game and involves various cards depicting characters and weapons that fill areas like in a Turf War. There are over 150 different cards that players can use to build a deck; they correspond to various shapes that can be used to cover turf and they can be charged up to cover additional turf, with the winner of the game being whoever covers the most squares of turf. The mode takes place in the Tableturf Battle Dojo and can be played against various CPU-controlled enemies, with online play against other players set to be added in a future update.
Salmon Run Next Wave
Salmon Run Next Wave is a horde mode that is the successor to Salmon Run from Splatoon 2, introducing new Boss Salmonids, stages, and mechanics, such as Egg Throws, King Salmonids, and Big Runs. The mode can now be played at any time, rather than being available on a set schedule. It is accessible from a Grizzco Industries building in Splatsville, which, like the Battle Lobby, can now be freely moved around in and houses its own Test Range that can be used while waiting for shifts to start.
- 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.
- Undertow Spillway - A new stage set inside an underground flood bypass, that used to be abandoned before being restored for Turf Wars.
- Mincemeat Metalworks - A new stage set in a Metalworks made from scrap metal that makes scrap metal.
- Hagglefish Market - A new stage set in a market on water, it appears to be "fishy".
- Brinewater Springs - A new stage set in an urban area with Japanese architecture, similar to Skipper Pavilion
- 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.
- Hammerhead Bridge - A returning stage from Splatoon, still located in Inkopolis, but construction on it has been completed, so the layout is very different.
- Mahi-Mahi Resort - A returning stage from Splatoon, still located in Inkopolis. Takes place on a swimming pool within a holiday resort. The layout for this stage seems to be very different as well.
- Inkblot Art Academy - A returning stage from Splatoon 2, located in an art school.
- Sturgeon Shipyard - A returning stage from Splatoon 2, taking place on a cargo ship being built.
- MakoMart - A returning stage from Splatoon 2, taking place in a supermarket/grocery store.
- Wahoo World - A returning stage from Splatoon 2, located in an amusement park.
- Flounder Heights - A returning stage from Splatoon, still located in Inkopolis. The spawn areas have been largely overhauled.
- Sockeye Station - A new stage in the Salmon Run Next Wave mode, with a similar aesthetic to previous Salmon Run stages.
- Gone Fission Hydroplant - A new stage, shown in the Splatoon 3 Direct. It is next to a large hydroplant.
- Spawning Grounds - The basic Salmon Run stage from Splatoon 2 returns with minimal changes.
- Marooner's Bay - Another Salmon Run stage from Splatoon 2 returns with minimal changes.
- The Stringer class was added, of which there are two; the Tri-Stringer, and the REEF-LUX 450. Once charged, it fires three strings of ink simultaneously. Its design seems to be based on a fishing rod, using the reel and string. Stringers also have two stages of charge, as seen in the Nintendo Switch OLED trailer.
- A new Splatana class was released, consisting of the Splatana Wiper and the Splatana Stamper. Splatanas fire slashes of ink when used and can perform a charged slash to deal high damage to a faraway opponent or instantly splat an Inkling or Octoling within melee range.
- All base main weapons from previous games return, except for the Dual Squelcher. However, no second variants were available at launch.
- All sub weapons in Splatoon 2 return in Splatoon 3. They have retained most of their attributes from previous games.
- A new sub weapon named the Angle Shooter was added. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A deployable shield dome called the Big Bubbler was added. Atop the dome is a generator that can be Super Jumped to and attacked to decrease the radius of the dome itself.
- 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 doing so decreases its duration.
- It is part of the Octobrush, Carbon Roller, Splatana Stamper, Luna Blaster, and Slosher Deco's sets.
- The Zipcaster features a landing-spot marker similar to the Inkjet's landing marker in Splatoon 2, albeit with a different design.
- Simularly to the Tri-Stringer being seen using the Trizooka; the Splash-o-matics' kit was also changed from Zipcaster to Crab Tank.
- The Zipcaster features a landing-spot marker similar to the Inkjet's landing marker in Splatoon 2, albeit with a different design.
- It is part of the Octobrush, Carbon Roller, Splatana Stamper, Luna Blaster, and Slosher Deco's sets.
- A missile special weapon, called the Triple Inkstrike, was added. The player launches three small Inkstrike-like missiles and throws three beacons. The missiles then land where each beacon is thrown, creating tornadoes of ink.
- A badminton birdie-shaped buoy called the Wave Breaker. The player deploys it, and the center ball jumps several times sending out concentric rings that track and damage the enemy. These can be jumped over to avoid.
- 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.
- A special weapon similar in appearance to an inflatable shark, called the Reefslider, was added. Players can charge forward while riding it and produce an explosion of ink with a blast radius similar to the Splashdown from Splatoon 2.
- A fridge-like special weapon, called the Tacticooler, was added. The Tacticooler is a beverage cooler with four energy drinks, one for each teammate. Before being thrown, it is shaped like a canned food container and when drunk, each drink will give out effects similar to Run Speed Up from the first two games and Quick Respawn, also from Splatoon 1 and 2.
- Inkjet is part of the Tri-Slosher and Ballpoint Splatling sets.
- In Splatoon 2, the Tri-Slosher had Ink Armor and the Ballpoint Splatling still had the Inkjet
- Tenta Missles is part of the Flingza Roller, Goo Tuber, and REEF-LUX 450 sets
- In Splatoon 2, the Flingza Roller had Splat Bomb Launcher and the Goo Tuber had Splashdown
- Ink Storm is part of the Bloblobber, Explosher, and Nautilus 47's sets.
- Booyah Bomb is part of the Glooga Dualies, Hydra Splatling, Sloshing Machine, Forge Splattershot Pro and Aerospray RG's sets.
- In Splatoon 2, the Glooga Dualies had the Inkjet, the Hydra Splatling had Splashdown, the Sloshing Machine had the Sting Ray, the Forge Splattershot Pro had the Bubble Blower, and the Aerospray RG had the Baller
- Ultra Stamp is part of the Mini Splatling, Splatana Wiper, Sploosh-o-matic, Inkbrush Nouveau, and Luna Blaster Neo sets.
- In Splatoon 2, the Mini Splatling had Tenta Missles, the Sploosh-o-matic had Splashdown, the Inkbrush Nouveau had the Baller, and the Luna Blaster Neo had Suction Bomb Launcher.
The game contains a new cover of Splattack! by C-Side, different from both the original Splatoon version and the Octo Expansion cover. This cover 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 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.
Another song by C-Side, Paintscraper, was revealed on 5 August 2022.
A new set of idols, known as Deep Cut, were revealed on 10 August 2022 during the Splatoon 3 Direct. The group consists of Shiver, Frye and Big Man. They debuted alongside a song called Anarchy Rainbow.
Another Damp Socks feat. Off the Hook song, Tentacle to the Metal, was revealed on 7 September 2022.
With the release of Version 2.0.0, the names of the songs Headhammer and Triple Dip by C-Side and Sandy Side Up by Front Roe were revealed, although these songs were heard since the release of the game.
Much like the previous Splatoon games, several free post-launch updates are being released for Splatoon 3. Such updates are liable to prevent Battle Replays from working due to balance adjustments. The game's season changes roughly every three months, with additional weapons and catalogues being added at the start of every season. The first post-launch content update, Chill Season 2022, which was released on 1 December 2022, features the addition of the stages Brinewater Springs and Flounder Heights, 13 new weapons, X Battles, and a new catalog. Later updates are set to include content such as additional stages, League Battles, and using keywords to interact with ghosts in a channel. Additionally, major paid DLC featuring Pearl and Marina is planned for Splatoon 3.
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- The signature ink color set for this game is similar to the Color Lock set in Splatoon 2 and one of the Ranked Battle color sets in Splatoon, as well as Deep Cut's color scheme.
- 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 the Splatoon 3 official Japanese website after the game's release date reveal.
- Upon closer inspection, the "3" in the final version of the game's logo has cracks visible on its surface. This is a reference to the game being themed around chaos and it taking place in a desert region.
- As a reference to the game being the third in the series, the number three is a recurring theme in the game, similarly to eight being a theme in the Octo Expansion. For example:
- The protagonist of Return of the Mammalians is named Agent 3.
- The most prominent bands in the game, C-Side and Deep Cut, each have three members.
- One of C-Side's songs is named Triple Dip.
- Splatfests feature three teams, Tricolor Turf Wars, and 333x battles.
- Several weapons introduced in the game are named after and associated with the number three, namely the Tri-Stringer (which fires three shots at once), the Trizooka (which can fire three times, each shot consisting of three blasts), and the Triple Inkstrike (which has three uses before expiring). Additionally, the Wave Breaker fires three shockwaves before it vanishes.
- Multiple new gear items are named to fit this theme, such as the Tri-Shred Tee.
- The model of the Octobot King used by DJ Octavio in Return of the Mammalians is called the Octobot King L3.Gs.
- Mr. Grizz's original name, as revealed in the Alterna Logs, was "Bear #03", and he is given the title of "The Ursine Anomaly #03" in Return of the Mammalians.
- The time limit in the final boss battle of Return of the Mammalians is 3:33, and the final mission of the mode, After Alterna, has an entry fee of 333 Power Eggs and first-time clear reward of 3333 Power Eggs.
- Three pieces of treasure are collected in Return of the Mammalians.
- In Tableturf Battle, CPU opponents each have three difficulty ranks, and must be defeated in a rank three times to unlock the next rank. Additionally, non-jellyfish CPU opponents reward sleeves after being defeated 30 times on the third difficulty rank.
- In Salmon Run Next Wave, the maximum hazard level is 333%.
- Octolings draw a "3" in the air when trying a brush at Ammo Knights.
- Splatoon 3 won the "Best Multiplayer Game" award at the Game Awards 2022.
Names in other languages
Si pou laai deon 3 (Cantonese)
Sī pǔ lā dùn 3 (Mandarin)
Qī dàn dà zuòzhàn 3 (Taiwanese Mandarin)
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- 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)
- Financial Results Explanatory Material: 2nd Quarter of Fiscal Year Ending March 2023
- 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
- Developer interview
- Splatoon 3 for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details
- Splatoon 3 - Nintendo of America Twitter thread
- Nintendo of Europe - Free post-launch updates
- Alternate titles that are being used in China include 喷射战士3 (pēnshè zhànshì 3, "Splatoon 3") and 肆喷乱涂3 (sì pēn luàn tú 3, "Splash 3")
- Nintendo has officially unified the Chinese names to 斯普拉遁3