Splatoon 3 release date, trailer, weapons, and everything we know

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Splatoon 3 release date is still pretty far off, from what we know of it, but it’s never too early to start getting excited about the next chapter in Nintendo’s ink-flinging shooter series. We’re still pleased as pufferfish that this odd game of multiplayer shooting and squid-teen fashion has become a flagship Nintendo series in just over half a decade, and there’s every indication that Splatoon 3 will be the best take on its still-unique concept yet.

While we still have a lot to learn about Splatoon 3, we do know one very important detail: it will follow from the results of the final Splatoon 3 Splatfest, where the armies of Chaos prevailed over the forces of Order. That result is made manifest in the new city of Splatsville, a ramshackle and bustling burgh far from Inkopolis’ urban sprawl. The town may be new, but some things never change: it’s still all about the Turf Wars. Here’s everything we know about Splatoon 3 so far.

When is the Splatoon 3 release date?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Splatoon 3 release date is 2022, which is both a long ways off and extremely non-specific, but at least it’s something. The original Splatoon arrived on Wii U in May 2015 and Splatoon 2 hit Switch in July 2017, and all the bright colors and water-gun-inspired weaponry give Splatoon a distinct summery vibe as well. If you’re thirsty enough to indulge in some Splatoon 3 release date speculation, we could preliminarily narrow that window a bit to summer 2022; still, officially speaking, the Splatoon 3 release date is just 2022. 

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. 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?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The 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, which seems to fire three “strings” of ink at once. The strings all fling out vertically when jumping, but it looks like you may be able to fire them horizontally to cover more turf if you remain on the ground. We also get a teaser of some special weapons, including what appear to be modified Tenta Missiles and a deployable crab-bot. Research note: even Splatoon special weapons are subject to carcinisation… 

Splatoon 3 idols

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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 (who are actually cousins), 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

(Image credit: Nintendo)

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 – What’s it going to offer?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Splatoon 3 story mode remains a mystery as well, though you might consider the brief introduction that takes us from the Splatlands to Splatsville to be a sort of prologue to the main story. 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 the Octolings – a prominent subspecies of the Octarians – will we need a new enemy? Or will DJ Octavio rise again? See, I told you there was Splatoon lore. 

Find more Nintendo titles we’re looking forward to in our list of upcoming Switch games.

Connor has been doing news and feature things for GamesRadar+ since 2012, which is suddenly a long time ago. How on earth did that happen?

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