Splatoon 3 - Pre-orders, release date, gameplay, and everything we know

Splatoon 3

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September 7, 2022: Not long to wait now, squid kids! Splatoon 3 releases on September 9.

Announced in February 2021's Nintendo Direct, Splatoon 3 is now right around the corner. Set to release on September 9, 2022, we've collected everything you need to know before the game is out.

Splatoon 3 promises more of our favourite ink-slinging team-based fun, but has some new and shiny additions - like completely customisable Inklings, a Crab Tank, and a bow and arrow-shaped weapon. There will be new stages, new characters, and new music to keep our ears entertained as we splat the competition.

Check out our list of all weapons confirmed to come to the game. We've got tons more content coming, so stay tuned!

When is the Splatoon 3 release date?

Nintendo has now officially announced that Splatoon 3 will release on September 9, 2022. Not too long to wait now, fellow inklings.

There is an official Splatfest running on August 27, ahead of launch, to give players a taste of the new game. You'll need to download the 'demo' on the eShop, which is available for free from August 25.

Splatoon 3 pre-orders

Pre-orders for the latest inky shooter have started appearing, and here are our recommendations:

In terms of pre-order bonuses, there are a few to choose from:

Nintendo revealed a Splatoon 3-themed Nintendo Switch OLED model, which will be available from August 26, 2022. There is also a carry case and a pro controller featuring the same themed design. Find the OLED on Nintendo's store here.

While not a pre-order bonus per se, anyone with Splatoon 2 data on their Switch will receive some helpful boosts when they start Splatoon 3, including:

  • Three Gold Sheldon Licenses - exchange these for any weapon regardless of your level.
  • Join Anarchy Battles from the start, regardless of your level
  • Players will start the game with a higher rank according to their level and rank achieved in Splatoon 2
  • Players will be matched against players with similar skill levels (from Splatoon 2).

What is the Splatoon 3 story?

Leave the comfort of Inkopolis far behind and head into the Splatlands, surrounded by desert and destruction. Here we find Splatsville, the City of Chaos, where Inklings and Octolings alike battle it out to claim their turf with paint.

From what we see in trailers, it seems that there is a new breed on the rise causing issues: the Mammalians. Our rag-tag team of ocean creatures will be the one to fight back against the invasion and get to the bottom of the mystery, taking down the evil lurking behind it all.

Deep Cut in Splatoon 3
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Is Splatoon 3 gameplay the same as Splatoon 2?

The third entry will retain the same core gameplay of previous Splatoon titles, stuffing in a few new gadgets and gizmos to spice up strategies somewhat. Splatoon 3 will see the return of 4-v-4 Turf War matches, but this time with new weapons, expanded customisation options, and new movement abilities.

Splatoon 3 is carrying on the series' love for music, having introduced a new band called C-Side, and now the idol trio that announces the in-game news: Deep Cut. The Direct, released on August 10, showed us a new song by them that will feature in upcoming Splatfests.

Is Splatoon 3 co-op?

Splatoon as a series is primarily a co-op game. There is a single-player mode, but the main focus is the 4-v-4 online multiplayer battles to ink the most turf, or play games like Clam Blitz and Tower Control.

There is also the Salmon Run mode, which has a team of four Inklings working together to collect eggs and defeat Salmonids. Nintendo showed us a first look at Salmon Run Next Wave during the February 2022 Nintendo Direct. It resembles Splatoon 2's Salmon Run, but includes new elements, such as never-before-seen bosses like the Fish Stick and new mechanics like the ability to throw eggs.

Splatana Wiper
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What are the new Splatoon 3 weapons?

Right now, the major new Splatoon 3 weapon type is the Stringer - a bow and arrow that fires ink streams. Expect a long-range weapon with an explosive finish.

We've also been shown the Splatana Wiper, part of a new collection of weapons that fires blasts of ink straight in front of the player. It seems to work like the Ink Brushes, and looks like a formidable. weapon.

Splatoon 3 stage
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Which stages are in Splatoon 3?

Splatoon 3 will feature 12 stages at launch, with more being added later, and has a mix of new and old maps.

Returning stages

Finally, we've been shown the stages returning to Splatoon 3:

  • Museum D'Alfonsino
  • Wahoo World
  • Mahi Mahi Resort
  • Makomart
  • Sturgeon Shipyard
  • Inkblot Art Academy
  • Hammerhead Bridge
Tacticooler in Splatoon 3
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New stages

Despite the lack of confirmation of returning stages from previous games, we have been shown a few of the newcomers:

  • Eeltail Alley
    • "Check out this [...] location called Eeltail Alley. Notice how the central bridge is a focal point of the action—it'll be fascinating to see what strategies emerge from this feature. See if you can spot anything else interesting!"
  • Scorch Gorge
    • "We hear the odd rocks that rise up like chimneys were once undersea hydrothermal vents that now appear on land due to changes in the planet's surface. This area is also designated as a national park and is quite popular."
  • Undertow Spillway
    • "A former flood bypass that’s now used for Turf War battles! This abandoned facility is another shining example of upcycling, as the varied terrain lends itself to strategic and hard-fought skirmishes among Splatsville locals."
  • Sockeye Station (Salmon Run Next Wave)
    • "In terms of on-site research, we were able to uncover a new job site known as Sockeye Station. This is an advanced base for Salmonids, featuring a tall, spiraling tower, and it presents new tactical opportunities for both allies and antagonists."
  • Mincemeat Metalworks
    • "This new multiplayer stage, Mincemeat Metalworks, was made from scrap metal in order to make more scrap metal. There used to be a sea here, but it evaporated, leaving behind a wasteland."

And that's about all there is to say about Splatoon 3 right now. It is still a few weeks away, but until it's release, read up about the Splatoon 3 single-player mode. You won't need an active Nintendo Switch Online subscription to enjoy that.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Splatoon, Nintendo, and Hubs pages.