The Splatoon video game series has been one of the newer additions to the Nintendo franchise family, first released for the WiiU Nintendo System before the subsequent two Splatoon sequels were released for the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo released the first Splatoon for the WiiU in 2015, and it was one of the surprisingly loved releases that were exclusive to one of the worst Nintendo consoles ever created. While the first sequel Splatoon 2, was released only two years later, Splatoon 3 wasn’t released until September 2022. Below, we’ve detailed the Splatoon video game series from Nintendo and discussed the differences between the three games in the series, their impact, and the other reaches of the Splatoon franchise.
Splatoon Video Game Series
As stated above, the Splatoon franchise started on the WiiU in 2015 with Splatoon, and while it wasn’t necessarily part of the battle royale genre, it has been multiplier mayhem for its players. The Splatoon franchise features octopus and squid-like humanoid creatures that can switch forms between their animal form for movement and their human-like form for the main objective of a paint turf war. The game’s characters face off in two teams and fight to take over more area with their paint color than the other team. Various obstacles and attacks can disrupt and damage the opponents, and players can be sent to their team’s spawn point should they take too much damage. Ultimately, the ink-soaked team battler Splatoon has been unlike any other game like it, especially Nintendo, who’s been long known for its trademark games always being outstanding from its competitors. Realistically, Splatoon has no competitors outside of itself. Still, Nintendo slowed down between the second and third Splatoon video game releases, making for a more wholesome fourth release in the Splatoon video game series. When the game was first released, it was plagued with issues, such as a lack of voice chat and private lobbies. Nintendo somewhat addressed it in the form of content updates that added new maps and weapons to the game, as well as private lobbies and limited-time events in the form of Splatfests. Beyond Spatfest events that occur at different points depending on the game, Splatoon has also recently collaborated with brands such as Pokemon, promoting the newest games from both franchises. Characters from Splatoon have been featured in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and have Amiibo, which correlates with the franchise.
Splatoon 2, the sequel to Splatoon, may have seemed like a quick release compared to the first being released two years earlier. Still, Nintendo likely wanted to bring its newest franchise to the Nintendo Switch to use its capabilities and abandon those developed for the WiiU. Released two years after the first in the video game series, Splatoon, Splatoon 2 was released in July 2017. Direct differences between the video game Splatoon and Splatoon 2 included a story-driven single-player mode, something asked for in most console video games and an expansion of the story-driven mode called Octo Expansion and the faster rate at which new maps and weapons were added. Like the first Splatoon, Splatoon 2 added content well after the game was released through smaller patches to newer Splatfests. As the first in the video game series Splatoon was an accidental eSports hit, Nintendo marketed Splatoon 2 as an eSports title due to its surprising competitive nature. Still, it never compared to titles like Halo, Fortnite, and Apex Legends, the latter two of which are also on Nintendo Switch.
Splatoon 3, the newest Splatoon video game release and the second for the Nintendo Switch, was released in 2022, and like Splatoon before it, Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 3 outsold the entry in the series before it. In addition to following the trend of the previous entries in the Splatoon video game series as far as sales, Splatoon 3 continued the expansion of the solo mode implemented in Splatoon 2 and additional game modes in the form of PVP and PVE. Several named modes have been added to Splatoon 3, such as the earlier-mentioned solo mode, like a new addition of Salmon Run from Splatoon 2, Salmon Run New Wave, and Tableturf Battle, which has been a game within the game that has players use trading cards. While other modes have been added, the most significant addition to the Splatoon video game series that started with Splatoon 3 was the massive amount of competitive gameplay modes and features added. Game modes added with Splatoon 3 and implied for competitive use include the popular Turf War mode, a ranked mode called Anarchy Battles, that features the game types Clam Blitz, Tower Control, and Splat Zones. As with previous Splatoon games, Splatoon 3 featured the return of reoccurring Splatfests that occur every month, but as the game was only released in September, plenty of additional content updates will arrive for the game for at least a year post-launch. Overall, Splatoon has been a unique title from Nintendo that may very well continue along with future generations of Nintendo consoles, solely by the massive sales each game has had that surpassed the entry before it.