Well, Splatoon fans, we hope you’re happy. There’s (quite possibly) a grim new post-apocalyptic aesthetic on its way to the eventual Splatoon 3.
Before we get into that, though, we’ve got to take a step backwards. Splatoon 2 hit Nintendo Switch just over two years ago (July 21), one of the big pulls towards the company’s new Nintendo Switch Online service. That service finally arrived in September last year, and was met with an apathetic-to-super-snarky response. Apparently, though, lots of us do indeed like NES games, and the service now boasts over 10 million subscribers.
Splatoon 2 proved crucial to Online’s success (such as it is), being the first game – it was the only one, for quite some time – that was compatible with the companion app. Any in-game chat you wanted to do (super important in a team-based title like this) had to be done through your smartphone. What was the major incentive for players to keep engaged with online play? Good old Splatfests, that’s what.
As Splatoon fans will know, these time-limited events see players pick a side in a particular debate and battle to defeat supporters of the opposite cause. Now, we’re not saying that Splatoon 2 players have made some questionable Splatfest decisions, but we will say that Team Mayonnaise defeating Team Ketchup may very well be the greatest injustice in the history of humankind.
Other great debates Splatfests have settled over Splatoon 2’s run include: which is the best Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Donatello won that one), are unicorns better than narwhals (narwhals got the nod) and are pancakes tastier than waffles (apparently they aren’t). The game’s events date all the way back to July 2017’s great cake vs ice cream debate, and it’s pretty darn interesting to see which side won each match. You can check out all the past results over at Nintendo’s official site, if you fancy.
Today, though, only one Splatfest’s results really matter: the final one, which took place this past weekend. The theme was Chaos vs Order, and according to some, the outcome’s going to have quite some impact on the future of the series.
Chaos came out with a 3-0 victory, trumping Order in Popularity, Normal and Pro categories. It was a close event in terms of match results, but the 58% to 42% player-split proves that Chaos was a good deal more popular. This was great news for Pearl of Off the Hook, but fans believe that this may prove to have some real implications for Splatoon 3.
To get this out of the way first, there’s no official confirmation of any sequel being in the works, or any idea when it may happen. Earlier this month, in an interview translated by Japanese Nintendo, series producer Hisashi Nogami was quoted as saying on the subject:
“Splatoon 2’s production started moving right after 1 was released. Now we also had production for Octo Expansion so we’re fully focused on the updates, and we still haven’t thought of the future.
For future plans, we’ll think of them after everything is over.
We’re not yet at a phase where we can make a promise, but we’d like to return the favour in some sort of way to many people who have supported us. If you continue to support us, it might turn into reality.”
That’s… well, the opposite of conclusive, but a third installment in the super-popular inky shooter is very likely. Given that Chaos triumphed over Order in the final Splatfest, theories are circulating that the next title’s going to have a grimmer, more dystopian aesthetic as a result.
Presumably, a victory from Order would’ve seen an Inkopolis characterised by sleek, futuristic tones, while Chaos could well see a blasted, Mad Max-style hub. It’s not just the hub we’re talking about, either. The maps themselves, a potential expansive single-player campaign (a la the Octo Expansion), the types and styles of gear and weapons… all of these things could carry that wasteland vibe.
It’ll be like darn Fallout around here, only with cheery anthropomorphic marine life. Which, if we’re honest with ourselves, sounds like a fantastic proposition to us.
While there’s no confirmation that the Splatfest result will direct affect Splatoon 3, there is a precedent here. How about the Callie vs Marie Splatfest? The way Squidboards tell it, there was a whole lot riding on this one. User Cephalobro theorized last month that it’ll have a huge impact on the story, believing that, if Chaos won:
“Inkopolis society crumbles due to the overreliance on the Great Zapfish and everything becomes a harsher world to live in. Salmonids now walk on cephalopod turf, forcing cephalopods to rely on Grizzco to wipe out the invading Salmonids.
Somewhere along the line, Commander Tartar is somehow fixed and begins to have the desire to destroy the world again. It plans to Sanitize even more Octarians to bring destruction to Inkopolis. The only solution to this problem is to defeat Commander Tartar again and bring civilization back to the world.”
Now that the agents of Chaos have indeed prevailed, will any of this hold true in the next game? It’s all rampant fan theory for now, but one thing’s for sure: you’re definitely going to want to stay tuned to find out.