CONFIDENTIAL REPORT: Squid Research Lab dives deep into the Splatlands
Researcher’s note: This report was updated on Nov. 9, 2023, to include new information about the upcoming Tournament Manager feature. We’ll release more details when development is complete.
Squid Research Lab here with a strictly confidential-ish deep dive from our on-location research in the Splatlands.
You don't need to read on to enjoy the Splatoon™ 3 game, but fellow ink enthusiasts who lie awake at night contemplating the culture, customs, and contraptions of Splatlands residents are in luck!
We've triangulated the location of the lobby that towers over Splatsville.
Join a battle by visiting the battle pot, or take a stroll in the test range to train those tentacles.
Enter the battle menu via the battle pot in the lobby. Thanks to significant scientific advancement, you can also press the L Button to open this menu!
It seems the lobby is a hub of sorts with other kinds of facilities.
The bulk of the building is reserved for the test range, where impassioned Inklings and Octolings can warm up while they wait. In addition to targets, a state-of-the-art copy machine serves as a practice dummy. This dummy is no dunce, however. It will retaliate with enemy ink so that you can practice defensive maneuvers.
Crab-N-Go is a charming little shop inside the lobby. Turn in a ticket to net extra experience and cash with food and drinks that will benefit you in battle. (Note: taste tests are currently inconclusive.)
Social creatures that they are, Inklings and Octolings like to redeem tickets for shareable smorgasbords that'll benefit the whole team.
The furry fellow on the couch is nyan other than Judd. He's always up for sharing helpful battle tips. He might even let you put his advice into action at the test range.
Take some inspiration from the Squid Research Lab by conducting your own studies at the terminal next to the battle pot.
View the results of your 50 most recent battles with your battle logs and rewatch your freshest (and not-so-fresh) matches with the battle-replay function. We're no meteorologists, but studies show that these battle replays can be uploaded to the cloud and shared via a code.
A limited number of battle replays can be saved to a system. If this number is exceeded, older battle replays will be automatically deleted. You can favorite replays you'd like to keep. Battle replays can only be stored for a limited time, though, and may be inaccessible after certain updates.
In the lobby, Regular Battles can be accessed via the battle pot. These 4-vs-4 battles are the go-to way for Inklings and Octolings to splat their way to victory. Battles are scientifically proven to earn you some experience and in-game battle cash.
Play with Friends
There are two ways to play* Regular Battles with your buddies.
One method is to create a group and have friends join up. A host needs to create a group that others can join. Once the desired number of players is in, the battle can start. A school of up to four players can join this way and will end up on the same team! If your school is less than four players, you can still start and have a random player round out the team.
Friends can also join the group after a match starts and get added to the next match when there are less than four players. Have a friend swimming solo? They can “drop in” and get in on the action the next round, just like in previous games. Our calculations show that players who drop in aren't guaranteed to be on the same team as their friends, however.
If friends are playing when you pop into the lobby, you can see and interact with ghost versions of them in the form of 3D holograms! These splatty specters may let you know what mode they're playing, share their latest level up, or ask for friends to join a battle*. Feel free to jump into a battle by talking to these ghosts, or send them a "Fresh!"
Ghosts of teammates
Between battles, ghosts of your current teammates will also appear in the lobby. These ghosts will move about the lobby, reflecting the actual movements of players. They won't ink up your floor, but you can watch each other practice or just have a hologram hangout.
Future update: Connect via Keywords
A notification channel will be added in a post-launch update. Simply put in a general keyword like #TurfWarSquids or #SplatZoneFans to connect to a channel. This way, you'll be able to interact with ghosts of players who are using the same keyword.
If many participants are in one channel, you may not be able to interact with all ghosts.
The main weapons that ink up the Splatlands are nothing short of a scientific marvel!
Obtaining main weapons
Strut (or swim) your way over to Ammo Knights in the square to get main weapons.
The owner, Sheldon, arms Inklings and Octolings with the most advanced weaponry around. Just make sure you meet the player-level requirement—Sheldon looks for those things.
The weapon economy in Splatsville operates not with cash, but with Sheldon Licenses. These are granted as you level up and consistently use the same weapon to raise its Freshness.
Is your player level just shy of the requirement? Sheldon might turn a blind eye if you give him four Sheldon Licenses. It seems every crustacean has a price…
Experience received from battles goes toward your player level and your weapon Freshness. Get more experience to raise your weapon's Freshness—that's causality!
Freshness won't augment a weapon's functionality, but it can net you some Sheldon Licenses or ornamental armaments for your locker. Master weapons and show them off!
Main weapons from past games
Players flocking from Inkopolis Square to Splatsville might want to add classic favorites to their inky arsenal.
You'll be able to reel in the base version of all main weapons from Inkopolis Square at launch. There might be some minor changes as a result of Splatlands technology development, but their base specs are identical.
Explore new strategies with fresh combinations of sub weapons and special weapons!
Save-data transfer from Splatoon 2
How save data works
Online Splatoon 3 data—like player level, ranks, items, and gear—is automatically stored in a server and connected to each player's Nintendo Account.
Since things like progress in Story Mode don't require an internet connection, they can be stored via the Save Data Cloud service included in Nintendo Switch Online memberships.
You can also play on multiple Nintendo Switch™ systems if your user account is tied to your Nintendo Account.
Save data bonuses
If there's save data from Splatoon 2 on your system, part of it can be transferred to Splatoon 3. There are even some in-game rewards for doing so:
Receive three Gold Sheldon Licenses that you can exchange for main weapons, regardless of player level
Join Anarchy Battles from the beginning of the game, regardless of player level
Start the game with a higher rank, depending on your rank in Splatoon 2
Get matched against players with similar skill levels from Splatoon 2
Five out of five Squid Research Lab scientists recommend transferring data from Splatoon 2 if you have it.
You can transfer save data once per Nintendo Account by launching Splatoon 3 or entering the lobby while connected to the internet. In order to transfer, save data from Splatoon 2 must be on the same system with the same user account.
Gear and Abilities
Inkling and Octoling fashion in the Splatlands is off the charts! The key elements of a fresh kit are headgear, clothing, and shoes equipped for splatting (or selfies).
Each piece of gear has a main ability and up to three secondary abilities.
You can add secondary abilities at random to your equipped gear by obtaining experience and leveling up with it. The more star power the gear has, the more slots are available. Thanks, transitive property…or something.
Two brand-new abilities discovered
Our research shows that the Main Power Up and Bomb Defense Up DX abilities don't appear in Splatoon 3. However, further deep dives into our data point to previously unseen abilities being used across the Splatlands.
Intensify Action ability
In the Splatlands, you can maximize your maneuvers with the new Squid Roll and Squid Surge maneuvers. With the Intensify Action ability, you’ll keep more momentum when performing consecutive Squid Rolls and charge up Squid Surge faster.
It's only natural to lose some accuracy immediately after jumping or using Squid Roll and Squid Surge. This ability will lessen that effect.
Sub Resistance Up ability
Mitigate effects from an opponent's sub weapon with this recently discovered ability. Depending on the situation, you might take less damage from bombs and sprinklers, resist effects from mists, or reduce the time spent marked.
Get your tentacles on some ability chunks by earning experience even after maxing out gear.
Talk to the lurkin' urchin, Murch, and give him some ability chunks to add secondary abilities to open slots on your favorite gear.
Murch also has an all-new skill in Splatsville—he can swap out the primary ability. He'll need a lot of ability chunks though!
Additionally, use Super Sea Snails to reshuffle ability slots, or pay some cash to scrub them. Visit Murch to use his services as you wish!
Gear star power
Remarkably, gear star power in Splatsville can actually go higher than ★★★. You won't get more than three secondary ability slots, but you will earn a little more experience with that gear. You'll also get ability chunks faster, so don't be afraid to raise the star power of your fashion…literally.
See something in the shop you already have? You could try picking up a duplicate to increase its star power. Swim by the shops daily to see the new lineup. And Murch is always on the lookout for some Super Sea Snails, so feel free to check in with him for raising star power.
Catalog & Seasons
Check out Splatsville's trendiest general store, Hotlantis, to get an in-game catalog. With a catalog, you can get items by accumulating Catalog Points to increase its level.
When you earn experience through battles and job shifts, you get the same amount in Catalog Points too. You can also earn Catalog Points via achievements, like getting your first win or doing your first job shift of the day. Whether you're a Splatoon superfan or only ink on occasion, you'll be able to complete the catalog bit by bit and get all sorts of seasonal stuff.
Player Names and Splashtags
Residents of Splatsville won't step (or swim) outside with a Splashtag. They function like a business card does for us humans. In the midst of battle, on the job, or even just in the plaza, Inklings and Octolings will have their Splashtags at the ready.
You'll need to pick a nickname when registering your Splashtag. This is different from your user nickname on the Nintendo Switch system and will only be used in Splatoon 3. Your nickname can be updated, but you'll have to wait a bit before changing it again.
You'll also get an ID number that will help identify you to other players. Even if you have the same nickname as someone else, your ID number will be unique.
Changing a nickname will also change the ID number.
Even the banner serving as the background for Splashtags comes in many fresh forms. Get them from the catalog or the Shell-Out Machine in the lobby.
No Splashtag is complete without a title!
Mix and match two words or phrases—also available from the catalog and the Shell-Out Machine—to form your title. Aside from some special titles, each player will get titles in a different order, so expect a lot of variety. Once you get a title, try to come up with something fun and in your style.
Can't settle on something? Shuffle the titles you have and see what happens!
Show off your individual personality with your badges! Meet certain requirements to deck out your Splashtag with up to three badges. Achievements like getting 50 Regular Battle wins and earning 10,000 Grizzco Points will earn you more badges.
Anarchy Battles & Ranks
In Anarchy Battles*, the four modes are Splat Zones, Tower Control, Rainmaker, and Clam Blitz.
Reach level 10 or transfer save data from Splatoon 2 to get in on the most chaotic competition around.
Get in on some Anarchy Battles to earn points and raise your rank! This is the most organized anarchy we've ever seen!
Two types of Anarchy
There are two distinct types of Anarchy Battles: Anarchy Battle (Series) and Anarchy Battle (Open). Choose whichever piques your interest.
Anarchy Battle (Series)
In Anarchy Battle (Series), work together with a random team to get multiple wins to rake in the points.
Hey, not so fast, there! You do need to sacrifice some Rank Points (compatible with your own rank) as a fee of sorts. You'll pay up, then match up with teammates of similar ranks and skill levels.
Opposing teams are not only based on rank, but also the number of wins in the current challenge.
After battle, stick with your current team or pause the challenge and come back later.
The challenge will continue until you've won five times or lost three times. Then Rank Points will be doled out. You get more Rank Points the more you win, naturally. But getting medals is another way to get some Rank Points.
We ran the numbers, and we found that higher ranks require more points to challenge, but they provide greater point rewards.
Anarchy Battle (Open)
Whether you are playing solo or with friends*, Anarchy Battle (Open) welcomes all team configurations. Groups can be made with two to four players. If there are fewer than four players in a group, then random players will be selected to round out the squad.
Your group will be matched up with teammates with similar skill levels to the player with the fewest Rank Points in the group. You'll face an opposing team with a similar skill level to your team to keep it fair and fun.
Join the anarchy by yourself or with friends, and choose how you want to earn (and spend) points in Anarchy Battle (Series) or Anarchy Battle (Open). What's extra fresh is that each type of Anarchy Battle will have a different active mode for added variety.
Rank Points in Splatsville will increase or decrease based on wins and losses. They aren’t tied to a specific mode, so play hard and earn points while your favorites are active.
Ranks and Rank-Up Battles
Let's put a microscope to the ranks in Splatsville.
Threshold analysis shows ranks go from C- to C, C+, B-, B, B+, A-, A, A+, S, and then S+0. Actually, the S+0 ranking can go all the way up to S+50!
Splatsville is also home to Rank-Up Battles. Conquer these milestone melees to go from different letter ranks. For example, C+ to B-. You need to put some Rank Points on the line, so Rank-Up Battles can only be done in Anarchy Battle (Series).
Battle together with players in the rank you're aspiring to, and get three wins before three losses to successfully rank up!
Losing doesn't cost you your rank—just some points and maybe some pride. Keep your chin up, though. You can keep trying when you recoup those Rank Points.
In Splatsville, once you get a rank, it won't go down as you play. However, all player ranks will go down slightly every three months for the new season.
How's this calculated? First, look at the highest rank each player has reached up to that point. In theory, a rank will drop by 2 from the highest rank the player has achieved. The S+0 to S+9 crew will drop to S, and anyone above that will revert to S+0.
Our data indicates that the method of adjusting ranks may change in future updates.
X Battles* are the true testing ground for the highest-ranking players around. You’ll need to have rank S+0 or above to even attempt this feat.
How X Battles work
In X Battles, you’ll use X Power—calculated separately for each battle mode—to participate in battles and try to get onto the X Rank leaderboards.
You’ll have to face this challenge alone—diving in with a team of friends is not allowed.
You'll be placed on teams with seven other top performers who have a similar X Power in a particular mode. The first five battles serve as an evaluation period to figure out X Power. You'll first be matched by skill level in each mode. After that, your X Power will change after every three wins or every three losses depending on the results of the battles and your opponents’ abilities.
X Battles are held in two divisions: the Takoroka Division, sponsored by the Takoroka gear brand; and the Tentatek Division, sponsored by the Tentatek gear brand. Players from Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand belong to the Takoroka Division, while players in the Americas and Europe belong to the Tentatek Division. Leaderboard results and matchmaking are done independently for each division. You can choose a division during your first foray into X Battles. A recommendation will be provided, so it's a good idea to stick with that—otherwise you might run into issues like in-game lag, matchmaking difficulties, and other things. Regions cannot be changed during the season.
For each mode in each division, the top 500 players will be honored!
X Battles and Anarchy Battles
Finding other players for X Battles might take a little longer depending on region, time of day, and weapon loadouts. At this high level of play, teams with similar loadouts are matched.
Joining the X Battle elite doesn't mean you can't join Anarchy Battles too! Pick your flavor of anarchy based on the active modes and your own preferences.
Other battle modes
It appears the lobby has some other modes, too.
The world is your oyster when you join up privately with friends*—pick your mode, teams, and stages! Eight friends can play together with up to two additional spectators.
Battle replays are saved for Private Battles, too. An especially ink-drenched battle may be worth reviewing later on.
Future update: League Battle
After a post-launch update, teams of two or four will be able to join League Battles. Like in Splatoon 2, you and your friends compete for League Power in a two-hour window.
Since they’re a bit of a rowdier bunch, sometimes the residents of Splatsville go a little rogue and throw some special modes into League Battles.
During an investigation of some questionable business practices in the Splatlands, we came across Grizzco Industries hidden in a Splatsville basement. They're offering a dangerous job, but someone's got to do it! Take on Salmon Run* and collect eggs by defeating Salmonids.
New office building
This time around, Grizzco has a waiting room for workers.
Prepare for your shift by testing out the weapons of the day or by practicing the new Egg Throw using mock eggs. Like in the lobby, you can watch and interact with ghosts of your noncorporeal colleagues.
New pay grade
Key success metrics in Splatsville have been improved.
The Profreshional title has been usurped by Eggsecutive VP, providing a shining new rung on the corporate ladder. Your earning power will increase with a higher title, but the job sites will get more intense too.
We've even recorded a 333% increase in hazard level at the sites where Eggsecutive VPs work.
Grizzco Points and rewards
Salmon Run workers in Splatsville get Grizzco Points and earn reward capsules, like in Splatoon 2. Exchange these capsules for cash and items at the exchange desk.
As an employee benefit, you can earn Catalog Points in addition to Grizzco Points for jobs. This way, even those who only play Salmon Run can still increase their catalog level.
The ever-adapting Salmonids in the Splatlands will acclimate to your scent, sometimes even unleashing an attack from a King Salmonid after the third wave.
Once a King Salmonid strikes, overtime in the form of an Xtrawave begins. At this point, just…try to deal as much damage to the King Salmonid as possible.
If your team gets wiped out during this, you'll fail the Xtrawave. Don't worry—HR will still recognize that you successfully completed three waves, and you'll be compensated accordingly.
Secret weapon: egg cannon
When the Xtrawave starts, you'll get egg cannons to fire back at the King Salmonid. Get your hands on a Golden Egg, then press A for a whale-sized smackdown.
The Xtrawave is a fight for survival, so no egg basket here. Use those Golden Eggs for offense, and fire off that egg cannon!
Top performers who make it to the Xtrawave and damage the King Salmonid can get fish scales.
There are three types of fish scales, and the rarer varieties are more likely to drop after higher hazard levels. Exchange this extra employee benefit for special designs for Splashtags or items for lockers.
Change Your Work Outfit
Get flexible with the dress code by exchanging scales for an alternate work outfit (that's still Grizzco approved).
Big Run – A Large-Scale Migration
The Salmonids of the Splatlands sure are ferocious, and they occasionally make their way into regions inhabited by Inklings and Octolings. This phenomenon is known as a “Big Run,” and during this time, Salmon Run jobs are carried out on stages normally used for battles. For Grizzco Industries, this is an opportunity to gather a ton of Golden Eggs, and it seems the company will temporarily offer greater incentives to boost recruitment.
For example, while Big Run is going on, the number of rewards you can earn by collecting Grizzco Points increases. Once Big Run is over, participants will receive a special gift they can use to decorate their lockers. During Big Run, the total number of Golden Eggs collected by your four-person team during a single shift will be recorded as your high score. Those with especially high scores among all Big Run participants will receive higher-quality gifts, so try to work well with your crewmates to collect lots of Golden Eggs.
Splatfests* return in the Splatlands as a grand celebration of all things Turf War.
With one theme and three different options to choose from, players will answer a question and battle alongside others who chose the same answer.
Three options? Yes! Three options means three teams battle it out in Splatlands Splatfests.
Once a Splatfest is announced, you can answer the question and choose your team at the Splatfest Pledge Box in the square.
It's a scientific fact that everyone loves a freebie, so enjoy your complimentary Splatfest Tee once you vote.
All Splatfest Tees have Ability Doubler as their primary ability. With this, Murch requires fewer ability chunks to replace primary and secondary abilities on the Splatfest Tee. Make it your own!
Splatfest Sneak Peak
As soon as the theme is announced, the Splatfest becomes front and center in Splatsville.
The period between announcement and the first match is the Splatfest Sneak Peek. During this time, cast your vote, and then raise your catalog level by battling and working shifts. You'll receive conch shells this way, which are symbolically considered by Inklings and Octolings as blessings of the sea.
The number of conch shells collected by your Splatfest team during the Sneak Peek will actually impact the final results. Even if you can't attend the actual event, you can help out your team by gathering conch shells during the Sneak Peek.
Spend Conch Shells at the Shell-Out Machine
Spend conch shells in the lobby to get in-game items for things like Splashtags and lockers from the Shell-Out Machine.
Splatfest Main Event: First Half
Once the Splatfest begins, you'll be in the first half. That’s math!
The introductory inkage will take place in Splatfest Battle (Open) and Splatfest Battle (Pro) matches. Gain Clout based on wins, losses, and points from inking turf from both modes. Clout will also impact the final outcome, so try your hardest!
Splatfest Battle (Open)
Fight for your chosen cause in a 4 vs. 4 Turf War battle!
Players can join Splatfest Battle (Open) solo, or they can group up in teams of two to four people. If you are a fan of your assigned allies, you can choose to battle alongside them again. And if you stick with the same team and rack up some victories, you'll face other teams with consecutive wins to keep the competition fierce.
Splatfest Battle (Pro)
Independent study more your speed? Join Splatfest Battle (Pro) alone and play against other like-minded strangers. Here, your Splatfest Power will change as you win and lose. Both your allies and opponents will have similar Splatfest Power.
The 100 players on each of the three teams with the highest Splatfest Power will be designated as the "Splatfest Top 100"!
10x, 100x, and 333x battles
Multiplication time! Occasionally you'll encounter a 10x Splatfest Battle. If our calculations are correct, that means you'll earn ten times more Clout.
Win 10x Battles to get festival shells.
If your teammates hold a lot of festival shells, then even more multiplication could occur—a 100x Battle! These battles will grant a windfall of 100 times more Clout. Exponential!
Now, if both teams have a lot of festival shells and each triggers a 100x Battle…a 333x Battle will occur! Once a 100x or 333x Battle happens, festival shells will disappear.
Splatfest Main Event: Halftime Report and Second Half
When only 24 hours remain in the event, the Halftime Report will be released, including naming the team with the most Clout from the first half.
The second half also heralds the arrival of Tricolor Turf War, which pitches the winning team against the two straggling behind.
In addition to the Splatfest modes mentioned above, Tricolor Battle mode will be available for players in the second- and third-place teams.
Solo or duo players on the same Splatfest team can join a Tricolor Battle. When joining this mode, players challenge the first-place team in Tricolor Turf War.
If matchmaking for a Tricolor Battle takes too long, you might be switched to a normal Splatfest Battle.
Tricolor Turf War
A group of four makes up the defending team in Tricolor Turf War. They're challenged by two teams of two players each. The team that inks the largest area in three minutes wins.
The defending team will need to protect the Ultra Signal in the center of the stage to win. The attacking teams must take aim at the Ultra Signal and keep the defenders from getting ahead.
Also, you won’t know if you’ll be on the attacking or defending team until the battle begins. You have a 50/50 chance to be on the attacking or defending team, no matter which Splatfest team you’re on.
Ultra Signal and the Sprinkler of Doom
Once the Ultra Signal is touched, it can be secured by challenging and charging it with ink power. Once secured, the Ultra Signal sends a signal to a member of Deep Cut.
The Deep Cut member will show their support with the Sprinkler of Doom, which gives the attacking team even more ink power. It automatically increases the team's inked area. Challenging and securing the Ultra Signal also increases Clout at the end of the battle, so go for it and don't hold back!
The defending team needs to coordinate and protect the Ultra Signal from the opponents' threatening tentacles.
After the Splatfest concludes, the final results are announced. Points are given to the top teams in each category. The team with the most points wins!
According to our calculations, here’s how the results add up:
Total votes: +10 pts
Conch shells per player during Sneak Peek: +10 pts
Individual Clout from Splatfest Battle (Open) and Tricolor Turf War: +15 pts
Individual Clout from Splatfest Battle (Pro): +10 pts
Super Sea Snails
Now, you do need to return your Splatfest Tee at the end of Splatfests…but if you do, you’ll get some Super Sea Snails out of it. You can get Super Sea Snails depending on how high your Splatfest Rank is. Your Splatfest Rank goes up depending on your play during the Splatfest Main Event.
The winning team will get some extras for their hard work.
Keep an eye on @SplatoonNA for more findings from the Squid Research Lab!
We’re developing a service called Splatoon 3 Tournament Manager to help support the creation of private tournaments using the Private Battle feature in the Splatoon 3 game.
The service will link both the Splatoon 3 game and the SplatNet 3 service together to help players create and manage online tournaments on demand.
The following features are currently planned (subject to change):
Tournament-bracket creation and live tournament-management support
Automatic generation of Private Battle rooms used for tournament play
Automatic reporting of match results and bracket updates
The Prerelease Version Is Almost Here!
We expect to launch a prerelease version of Splatoon 3 Tournament Manager in late November of 2023. This version of the service will enable users to create and manage elimination-style tournaments.
The Official Release
The full-featured version of Splatoon 3 Tournament Manager is planned to launch before the end of 2023.
In addition to the elimination-style tournaments that will be possible with the prerelease version, the full version will enable players to create and manage the following types of tournaments:
Round-robin-style league tournaments
Elimination-style tournaments (with preliminary rounds)
We will continue developing the Splatoon 3 Tournament Manager service beyond 2023. You can look forward to the addition of Swiss-style tournaments in the future, along with refinements to other features to help players enjoy tournaments to the fullest.
* Any Nintendo Switch Online membership and Nintendo Account required for online features. Not available in all countries. Internet access required for online features. Terms apply. https://nintendo.com/switch/online-service/