(Pocket-lint) - Splatoon 2 was a superb launch title for the Nintendo Switch, following up on the first game with an expanded roster of paint-based weapons to offer oodles of online battling fun.
Now we've got confirmation that a third game in the series is on its way - Nintendo annouced as much in a recent Nintendo Direct to many people's delight. We've got all the key information for you right here, from release date to gameplay details.
Splatoon 3 trailer and release date
Splatoon 3 came as a real surprise, dropped right at the end of a nearly hour-long Nintendo Direct presentation in February 2021 with the three-minute trailer you can see embedded above.
It's an atmospheric look at the upcoming game, and ends with the all-important information that it's coming in 2022, not this year. Nintendo hopes to be able to share more information about it later in 2021, but for now we know the most important fact, which is that it's very much a game for next year.
Splatoon 3 platforms
The first Splatoon game came out on the lesser spotted Wii U, and wasn't a huge seller, which is why Nintendo was smart to revitalise the franchise by bringing the sequel to the Switch pretty quickly.
It's earned a big fanbase there, with its fun story mode and relentlessly enjoyable four on four multiplayer online. The third game has been announced for the Switch as well, and being a Nintendo exclusive there's no chance it'll appear anywhere else.
That said, with persistent rumours about a possible Switch Pro model going around, it's possble that by the time it releases in 2022 there might be more than one Switch to play it on, in terms of graphical power. For now, though, if you've got a Switch you can rest easy in the knowledge it'll definitely arrive on your console.
Splatoon 3 gameplay
We got some welcome glimpses of actual gameplay in the final minute of that trailer, comprising a bit of a four on four match that is sure to be Splatoon 3's signature mode as usual.
Rounds seem to begin a bit more explosively than before now, with players divebombing into the map after aiming for an area, which is a welcome way to get things off to a more action-packed start.
There are also a host of weapons shown off in short glimpses, from bows and launchers to cannons, and dedicated Splatoon 2 players will know that experimenting with different loadouts is part of the fun of the game.
After the good reception for Splatoon 2's singleplayer and coop modes, we'd hope that there's going to be another full campaign in Splatoon 3, but the trailer doesn't confirm anything on that front.
Still, you can safely assume there'll be a bunch of new maps to play on, and the start of the trailer also makes it clear that customising your Inkling will be as varied and fun as ever. There are loads of options to pick from, including your own little fishy pal - that's a new feature for the series, and we're keen to find out more about how the little guy might impact on things.
Splatoon 3 story
We don't know a huge amount about how Splatoon 3 will take the baton on from Splatoon 2, but we do have some indications. For one thing, it's introducing a whole new area called the Splatlands, which is a dry and arid desert locale that evokes cartoony Mad Max vibes that we really appreciate.
Our Inkling eventually boards a train to cross that landscape, passing the visually arresting sight of an upside-down Eiffel Tower on their way, before arriving back in the Tokyo (sorry, Inkopolis) hub that's so familiar from Splatoon 2. It's looking a little less colourful than usual, though, so there might be something going on.
Beyond that we really don't have much to go on, but we'd assume that our favourite radio hosts will be back in town to help organise Splatfests, and that there'll be plenty of fun to be had.