July's Splatoon Direct Reveals Squid Sister Replacements, and More!

Relaxed and feelin' good, and next thing that you know you're seein' Octolings in the neighborhood!?

Splatoon 2 is almost here, and Nintendo has just released a Splatoon 2 Nintendo Direct to celebrate! This broadcast provided a bunch of insights for the upcoming sequel -- including customization, new weapons and stages, improved ranked play, and more! 

Let's dive into everything that was revealed during this Direct, and break down what all these reveals mean for the final version of Splatoon 2 when it drops later this month for the Nintendo Switch.

New Customization Options

Everyone who has played Splatoon knows that customization is a big part of the game. In Splatoon 2, players have had their customization abilities expanded -- starting how your character looks. Instead of being based solely on male and female or skin color, Inkling eye colors are now standardized instead of based on hair color, and players are no longer limited to swim shorts and a single hair style.

There are four hair styles for both Inkling genders, and a set of legwear too. Mix and match them with items from the Galeria to make your Inkling exclusively yours!

The Galeria

Speaking of the Galleria, Inkopolis Square functions much like Inkopolis Plaza did in the first Splatoon title. Here, players can visit the Galleria to pick up new gear such as headgear, clothes, shoes, and weapons. There's a mix of new faces and old among the stores. While it's important to grab gear that's fashionable to your tastes, be sure to check out what skills those gear pieces have as well, since those will be most important during Turf Wars.

New Weapons

There are a number of new weapons coming exclusively to Splatoon 2. First, there's the Clash Blaster, which has a low firing range but a high rate of fire. This weapon could ideally be used similar to other blasters as a shotgun-style weapon for splatting enemies around corners. But the higher rate of fire suggests that it will have less power, and may be better at open combat than similar classed weapons.

The Flingza Roller functions similarly to other rollers, but has slower vertical swings that cover a much greater distance. This helps the Flingza Roller compensate for the low range of the roller class, but sacrifices its hit rate. This weapon might be useful if you find yourself constantly getting harassed by ranged opponents while trying to cover ground.

The Goo Tuber -- which weirdly rhymes and shares colors with YouTuber -- holds its charge for a much longer time than any other charger. This weapon is great for traveling long distances to reposition and snipe opponents. Matched with the Ninja Squid ability, this weapon could have serious utility against opponents who are constantly trying to kill you off before your charger is... charged.

The Dapple Dualies allow you to roll faster, and this makes a bigger difference than one would think. Essentially, these dualies in particular will allow you to flip around the stage ninja-style, allowing you to take out more enemies in less time while avoiding fire.

Newly Revealed Special Weapons

New special weapons have been revealed throughout Splatoon 2's development, but we were greeted with several new ones based on weapons from the first Splatoon.

The Bomb Launcher replaces Bomb Rush with a launcher that sticks you in place, but allows you to throw multiple bombs at once. This was likely done to reduce the effectiveness of the original Bomb Rush ability, as it allowed certain bombs (such as the burst bomb) to be much more effective than others when paired with the same special ability.

Ink Armor replaces part of the functionality of the Bubbler ability, allowing you to take a single hit without damage instead of a timed invulnerability. This is sort of a mixed bag as it greatly reduces the effectiveness of the invulnerability, but at the same time spreads its ability across all nearby allies. This makes it much more of a utility ability, as it can save your allies from an otherwise lethal hit.

The Baller is also a result of the Bubbler's split, as it provides invulnerability via a giant hamster ball that fills up with ink as you roll about. Once charged, it will explode and cover the area with ink. It can go up walls too, so it's a great offensive tool if you want to take out a particularly aggravating opponent perched on the high ground.

New and Returning Stages

Splatoon 2 adds a number of new stages, as well as some familiar ones. During the presentation, new stages such as The Reef, Musselforge Fitness, Inkblot Art Academy, Sturgeon Shipyard and Starfish Mainstage were revisited. However, some maps from Splatoon on the Wii U have returned with modifications such as ink rails, sponges, and other assets from the single player campaign. These maps included Port Mackerel, and Moray Towers. The addition of other original Splatoon maps is likely, though they were not present during the Splatoon Direct.

Ranked Battles Overhauled

Ranked battles have seen a bit of an overhaul when compared to the Wii U title. Now, ranked games are separated by ranked battle mode. That means players will no longer be hindered by that one teammate who has no idea that Rainmaker mode is not about getting the highest splat count, but rather getting it to the other side of the map.

League battles on the other hand are similar to ranked battles, but last for two hour periods. You can participate in league battles with a friend, or in a group of four, and rewards include special in-game medals based on your performance during the league session.

New Gear Abilities

There are a handful of new gear abilities to look out for in Splatoon 2. Thermal Ink will allow players to see tagged enemies who are hiding behind cover. Object Shredder will make short work of propped weapons. Quick Respawn and Respawn Punisher will shorten or lengthen spawn durations. And Drop Roller acts as a great insurance measure for those pesky opponents who will try to spawn camp you after a Squid Jump.

SplatNet 2

This information hub will let you see details of previous battles, gear opponents used, win rates of your battles, how much turf you have inked based on real life places, and has an app that lets you order special merch. This will be available via the Nintendo Switch Online App that will launch on or shortly after the release of Splatoon 2.

A benefit of using this app is the ability to communicate with other players via chat rooms that are automatically split apart during team battles where your friends may not be on the same team.

Quality of Life Options

Several quality of life features have been added or revamped for Splatoon 2. One is the ability to adjust control sensitivity based on which controller mode you have set, as well as a new sort feature available for inventory. Amiibo also act as a means of saving control and Inkling settings, although their exact purpose is unclear. It may be designed for tournament settings.

Amiibo will still grant players special gear, but also allow players to take pictures with their favorite squid designs or friends' Inklings.

Other Features

The Mailbox

A new mailbox feature has been added to Inkopolis Square that replaces the Miiverse functionality of the Wii U game. By using the mailbox you will be able to create custom art that will be displayed around Inkopolis, as well as battle maps. These can be saved and sent to social media websites as well.

Crusty Sean's

Crusty Sean will set you up with new food items that cost a bit of points, but can earn you bonuses. Some food will get you more experience points after battle, while others will reward more money or other rewards in battle modes.

The Shoal

The Shoal is the place to go to play local battles. This can be done via wireless play or LAN gaming. Arcade games are also available at The Shoal like Squid Beats 2 which is essentially DDR for Inklings. Other arcade games are sure to follow as the game gets more updates.

Speaking of updates, Splatoon 2 will continue to get free updates after release, just like the original Splatoon. Stages, gear, and weapons will all arrive over the course of the year, as well as a minimum of two years of Splatfests. Meanwhile, Splatfests have been revamped to allow players to join up with friends on the same team.

Oh, and there will be a Splatfest World Premiere taking place on July 15th from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm pacific time. Be there, or be square!

Off the Hook!

Lastly, news is that the Squid Sisters have been replaced with a new band called Off the Hook -- led by Marina and Pearl, two new stars who appear to be more inspired by American pop scenes, as opposed to the Japanese idol-inspired Squid Sisters. What's most interesting, however, is that Marina isn't an Inkling at all. In fact, she's an Octarian!

Could this mean playable Octolings after completing the Single Player Campaign? Does this have anything to do with Callie's sudden turn to the dark side? Is there truly a dark side at all? All of these questions will hopefully be answered at release!

Stay Fresh!

That's all for now, but if you can always check out the Splatoon Direct for anything not covered in our highlights. If you're not convinced that Splatoon 2 is the freshest game around, be sure to check out the previously mentioned Splatfest Premier on July 15th starting at 3:00 pm PT. 

Splatoon 2 launches worldwide on July 21st, 2017.

Published Jul. 6th 2017

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