Splatoon 3 Direct reveal gameplay stages modes weapons mechanics customization amiibo Nintendo Switch release date Splatfest returns invitational 2023 Deep Cut story Tableturf Battle collectible card game

The Splatoon 3 Direct delivered, offering slightly more than 30 minutes of new information on gameplay, weapons, modes, customization, story, amiibo, three-team Splatfest, free and paid post-launch content, a pre-launch demo, and more ahead of the game’s September 9, 2022 release date.

For starters, yes, there are new and returning abilities, stages, and modes in Splatoon 3. You can Squid Surge to go up walls in a single burst and Squid Roll to simultaneously jump out of ink while turning around, which also slightly repels ink from opponents while you’re glowing. The setting of the Splatlands includes levels like Scorch Gorge, Eeltail Alley, Mincemeat Metalworks, Undertow Spillway, Hagglefish Market, but there are returning Greater Inkopolis stages as well, such as Museum D’Alfonsino, Hammerhead Bridge, and Mahi-Mahi Resort. More stages will be added in free post-launch updates. Action will play out across four separate Battle Modes in rotation: Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker, and Clam Blitz, all of which will receive further details later.

Splatoon 3 Direct reveal gameplay stages modes weapons mechanics customization amiibo Nintendo Switch release date Splatfest returns invitational 2023 Deep Cut story Tableturf Battle collectible card game

All the basic weapons from previous games will be available in Splatoon 3, so gameplay will have familiarity. However, new weapons include the Stringer, the previously seen “bow” weapon that lets you shoot horizontally and vertically, as well as the Splatana Wiper, a type of katana. You can swing it after charging up, and it becomes a charged long-range attack slash. However, a close-range attack with the weapon can be devastating too.

Some special weapons from previous games are returning in Splatoon 3 as well, including Tenta Missiles, Inkjet, Ink Storm, Ultra Stamp and Booyah Bomb. There are also new ones like Tacticooler, which when activated releases stat-boosting drinks in groups of four; Wave Breaker, which unleashes damaging waves around the area and marks opponent location; and Reefslider, which builds up power and then charges into opponents, exploding. Special weapons are paired with main weapons to offer you extra gameplay variety in Splatoon 3.

A store called Ammo Knights uses Sheldon Licenses, obtained from leveling up through battles and consistently using the same weapons, to purchase weapons. There are separate stores specializing in headgear, shoes, and other clothes respectively to customize your character’s appearance, but the type of clothes you equip can also affect your abilities, such as speeding up your movement speed. There is also a character named Murch who can add specific bonuses to your favorite gear, so it sounds like you’re not forced to wear the same old clothes to get certain effects.

Splatfest returns in Splatoon 3, now with three teams.

If that’s not enough customization, Splatoon 3 also gives you your own locker to customize, with items obtained from a store called Hotlantis. Plus, “Splashtags” (how your name is displayed at the start of battle) for your character can be customized with a banner, badge, and title, and you can customize your emote when you win battles. A new catalog will be released every three months for the next two years with additional content to customize Splashtags.

In multiplayer battles, you can play online on your own, with friends, or in a private lobby where you set all the rules to play with your friends. Additionally, outside of gameplay, your online friends will appear as “Ghosts” — 3D holograms — so you can drop in to watch your friends’ games. You can also call out to friends in the lobby to invite to battles. Furthermore, battle replays are available to rewatch your battles, and it includes fast-forward, rewind, and skipping to the perspective of other players. You can even share replays with others.

In a wild twist, Splatoon 3 even offers Tableturf Battle, a 1v1 competitive card battle spinoff of Turf War with over 150 cards to collect in-game. All players will be gifted an in-game starter deck!

Meanwhile, Splatoon 3 Salmon Run will see four players work together to collect Power Eggs from the Salmonids advancing on them. Boss Salmonids will give you valuable Golden Eggs, and you’ll need a lot of them to complete the job. There are various large new Boss Salmonids this time, like Slammin’ Lid, which is… a big lid that slams down on you. A tank on your back is a special egg cannon that can deal massive damage using your golden eggs, and you need to deal as much damage as you can under a time limit to repel the bosses. Sometimes, there will even be a calamitous Big Run where Salmonids invade the city.

Splatoon 3 Story Mode is being positioned as a good learning ground for game mechanics while also delivering a narrative that will hopefully be fun and satisfying. In Story Mode, you will play as Agent 3, a new recruit in the New Squidbeak Splatoon battling the hairy Octarian Army, and you will “discover the secrets of Alterna, the Fuzzy Ooze, and how it connects to the title’s theme.”

Splatoon 3 Direct reveal gameplay stages modes weapons mechanics customization amiibo Nintendo Switch release date Splatfest returns invitational 2023 Deep Cut story Tableturf Battle collectible card game

Nintendo further randomly mentioned that the game has a Photo Mode and drawn messages you can send to friends, and a new wave of Splatoon 3 amiibo (above) is coming this holiday season. It also introduced Deep Cut, a trio of characters who gives news updates as the new hosts. They are Shiver, Frye, and Big Man.

As far as post-launch updates for Splatoon 3 go, there will be X Battle, available after obtaining an extremely high rank in Anarchy Battle, and League Battle, where “players can compete every two hours in teams based on their Anarchy Battle results.” Furthermore, “large-scale paid DLC” will be offered in the future for Splatoon 3, with details to come later.

Furthermore, Splatfest will return in Splatoon 3, now with three teams to choose from. It is set up in two parts. A 4v4 Turf War is the first half, and then there is Tricolor Turf War, a special mode where three teams fight at the same time. All players currently in first place after the first half will start together in a third team at the center, vulnerable to the other two sides, in a 4v2v2 match.

Splatoon 3 Direct reveal gameplay stages modes weapons mechanics customization amiibo Nintendo Switch release date Splatfest returns invitational 2023 Deep Cut story Tableturf Battle collectible card game

Finally, some of the top finishers from the Splatoon 2 Inkopolis Showdown 2022 will meet at PAX West on September 5 to battle in the Splatoon 3 Splatlands Invitational 2022 Tournament. But even earlier than that, there will be a free pre-launch Splatoon 3 demo to download beginning August 25, and beginning August 27, the Splatfest World Premiere will be available to participate in.

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