During the most recent Nintendo Direct where a number of new projects like the movie that’ll turn Chris Pratt into Super Mario were announced, the Japanese gaming giant also debuted a fresh look at its simply named follow-up to Splatoon 2. Though we’d seen Splatoon 3 would introduce a variety of new weapons and style options to customise players’ personalised Inklings, the latest trailer provided a significant amount of new information about the game’s story.
Two of the biggest additions to the Splatoon franchise’s lore that the new game’s set to focus on are new locales. There’s the Spatlands, a desolate, desert landscape devoid of much moisture; and Splatsville, the bustling, urban oasis situated somewhere within the Splatlands. In addition to the return of its traditional competitive mode where players battle online, Splatoon 3 will also feature an expanded single-player campaign titled “Rise of the Mammalians” in which you face off against Octarians who’ve somehow begun to grow fur again. Though Splatoon’s heroes have always had generally humanoid forms, the new trailer makes clear that whatever evolutionary jump the Octarians are experiencing puts them at odds with the Inklings, and the rival groups intend to settle things the way they always do: with paint guns and other art supplies fashioned into weapons.
The as-of-yet-unnamed bow teased in Nintendo’s first look immediately stood out as one of the exciting new weapons added to the game, and it’s conspicuously absent in the new trailer. In its place, though, are a handful of choice shots of a new battle vehicle that looks something like a cross between a Droideka and a crab, and one Inkling zipping around a battlefield thwipping its arms in a very Spider-Man-like fashion. The webhead’s influence on the Splatoon franchise seems to have carried over into some of Splatoon 3‘s establishing shots of Splatsville, which is shown to have some sort of mirrored phenomenon above it, similar to Juan Solanas’ Upside Down. The striking image of an Inkling standing atop a building while looking up at an upside-down city immediately evokes the “leap of faith” scene from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and it’s going to be wild to see what actually moving around the city with other characters while playing the game is like.
Splatoon’s always been one of Nintendo’s more stylish games, and it isn’t surprising that the studio would take a few cues from one of the most gorgeous films of the past decade for its latest project. What is a little surprising, though, is that there still isn’t a hard release date for when Splatoon 3 is meant to drop, but it’s scheduled for some time in 2022.