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Splatoon 3 release date, trailer, weapons, hairstyles and more

Splatoon 3
(Image credit: Nintendo)

During the Nintendo Direct Event in September 2021, the Japanese game maker finally gave new insight into Splatoon 3 and its expanded single-player story mode. What we got was a colorful look at the city of Splatsville, a Hong Kong-like city that's inhabited by inklings. 

Splatoon is Nintendo's equivalent of a multiplayer shooter that's commonly found on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Nintendo, being Nintendo, obviously wanted to do something that wasn't run-and-gun, and made something wholly unique and wildly imaginative. What we got was a kind-friendly shooter with fast and frenetic movement abilities. 

Splatoon 2 was one of the first big exclusives on the Nintendo Switch. Many fans were speculating on whether Splatoon 3 would coincide with the launch of a Switch Pro or Switch 2, but that doesn't seem to be the case. 

Regardless, Splatoon 3 is shaping up to be the biggest entry in the franchise to date. For starters, The series will be moving away from the main location of the first two games, Inkopolis, and instead will feature a new city known as Splatville that looks a little more dilapidated than the hubs we're used to.  

That’s not the only bit of information we’ve got either, below you’ll find everything we currently know about Splatoon 3.  

Splatoon 3 release date 

When Nintendo first announced Splatoon 3 they also gave us a release window of 2022. 

We haven’t been given anything more specific than just a release year, however, looking at the franchise’s past entries we can make a reasonable guess as to when the game will drop. 

The first Splatoon released on the Wii U in May 2015, and Splatoon 2 released on the Nintendo Switch in July 2017, so it seems likely that Splatoon 3 will fall somewhere between May-July 2022.

Plus, the franchise’s aesthetic lends itself extremely well to a summer launch date, so we’d be very surprised to see a fall or winter launch. 

Splatoon 3 trailer

Nintendo unveiled a new trailer for Splatoon 3 during the Nintendo Direct Event for September 2021. In it, we saw new gameplay and weapons that will splat our enemies to oblivion. 

A "squid researcher" during Nintendo's September 2021 direct gave additional details on the lore in Splatoon 3. Apart from the new weapons, apparently mammals are suddenly returning to the world of Splatoon. The video should start at 1:03:17.

During the February Direct, Nintendo dropped the first trailer for Splatoon 3, which is also worth checking out.

The trailer sees an Inkling journey from a desert area, known as the Splatlands, to the sprawling city of Splatville. We also got a sneak peek at character customization and the bizarre sight of the Eiffel Tower ripped from the ground and lying upside in a giant sand crater. 

So, does Splatoon 3 takes place in France?  

Splatoon 3 character customization 

Customizing your character with ridiculously funky designs has always been a core part of the Splatoon experience, and that looks to be the case again in this third entry. 

Splatoon 3’s debut trailer included a brief section in which we got to see some of the new customization options. These included brand new hairstyles such braids and one hairdo that looks almost like the Splatoon version of a bowl cut.  

Splatoon 3 screen grab

(Image credit: Nintendo)

We also got to see some customization options for your smallfry companion, who has already won our hearts.

It looks like Splatoon 3 will allow you select to play as an Octoling from the start, in Splatoon 2 doing so required you to buy the Octo Expansion DLC.

Splatoon 3 weapons 

It may be brightly colored but Splatoon is a shooter at its core, so the weapons really matter and Splatoon 3 looks like it will include some familiar and new ink-firing options. 

The trailer reveals that favorites like the .96 Gal and Range Blaster will be returning. The key new weapon appears to be a bow-like device that allows you to shoot three arrows of ink at once, this weapon will probably be tricky to use at first but very satisfying once you master it. 

Splatoon 3 screen grab

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Special weapons including a modified Tenta Missile and a deployable crab-bot also featured in the trailer. It seems creativity has not faltered at Nintendo, especially in regards to weapon variety in Splatoon 3. We can't wait to blast opponents with brightly-colored acrylic ammunition sometime next year. 

The most recent trailer also shows off new bots and turrets that can splat down enemies. 

Splatoon 3 game modes

News on what game modes will be returning is currently thin, however, the game’s announcement trailer does give us some clues.

We see gameplay from an online match that is almost certainly Turf War. This mode, which sees players compete to cover as much of the map as possible with ink, is the series’ flagship game mode so its return comes as little surprise. 

A Splatoon game without Turf War would be like a Call of Duty game without Team Deathmatch. Just unthinkable. 

Splatoon 3 screen grab

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Splatoon 2 (and its wonderful Octo Expansion DLC) made great strides in the single-player department, giving players a series of solo missions to tackle that were a genuine delight. Now we know that Splatoon 3 will have a dedicated single-player campaign. We're curious to learn as to how the Effiel Tower ended up stuck in the middle of the Splatlands? 

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.