As you can imagine, the main hub has had a massive overhaul, but the new Clam Blitz mode looks great, which seems to be an American football style game where you have to throw the ball into a zone to score points. Another large single player mode is also present and continues the battle between Squidlings and Octarians (who are now sporting wild hair for some reason). Nintendo did refer to this single player portion as the “epic finale” of the saga, too, which is interesting.
In terms of customisation, you have “splashtags” which are banners, badges, and titles all rolled into one. You can also change the emotes your character performs when you win a battle. There’s an in-game catalog that you can buy these all from, and there will season gear, with a new catalog launching every few months.
Tableturf battle was also revealed, which looks like a weird Tetris-based puzzle game that lets you play opponents by laying cards (over 150 are available). You’ll get a starter deck for free, and Sheldon is involved as well.
Salmon Run is back in the form of “Next Wave”, and is still a four player co-op mode. There are new bosses and you still need to grab the golden eggs and deliever them into the nets to complete the quota for each wave. Sometimes before you finish a job, enormous “King” bosses will appear, and you get to fire golden eggs to deal “massive damage”, but it’s all on a timer, so you have to get it done quickly. There’s also something called “Big Run” which is going to come up once every few months, so more timed content there.
In the square there’s also a “Miiverse” style mailbox that lets you do drawings to send to people, both horizontal and vertical. Food returns and is a buff again. The Shoal is the school that lets you play locally, while Photo Mode is, well, a photo mode. Recon Mode is new, and lets you pick any of the in-game stages and just walk around them and explore at your leisure, which is a great idea, and something you rarely see in shooters these days, offering a chance to get used to the game’s maps.
Splatoon 3 will also have support for the new Splatnet app, which will be available at launch. Amiibo are supported for costumes, and you can take photos with them, and of course, there are three new Amiibo due to be released this holiday: two Octolings (blue and yellow), and a Smallfry Salmon.
There’s plenty of support coming after launch, too. New weapons, new catalogs, X-Battle (gained after high rank) and League Battle are coming in a future update, as well. “Large scale paid DLC” is also coming in the future, but Nintendo didn’t say what that would entail, as of yet.
I won’t spoil the final reveal of the direct, but it was a nice one for fans. It does seem, however, that the long-winded intro may still be present when you boot the game up, while Splatfests are also set to return, but there will be three teams to pick from instead of the previous choice of two, resulting in a Tricolor Turf War where three teams will fight at the same time. There will be a pre-release Splatfest on the 27th of August where you’ll need to pick between rock, paper, or scissors. It’s only going to run for that one day, though.
Anyone who wants to dive into Splatoon 3 before it launches on 9th September can join the Splatfest World Premiere on 27th August. Starting 18th August, the free demo can be downloaded from Nintendo eShop. Players can choose Team Rock, Team Paper or Team Scissors until 27th August. Certain parts of the demo will already be playable on 25th August, before the Splatfest event itself kicks off on 27th August at 10:00 CEST.
Splatoon 3 is out for Nintendo Switch on September 9th, 2022.