Splatoon 2 was created as a direct sequel to Splatoon to meet the existing fans' expectations. It was important for the development team that it appeal to not only the first game's playerbase, but to the demographic that was interested in Splatoon despite not buying it. This makes it a proper sequel in the team's eyes.
The intended appeal was worked toward by giving the game a new take on existing aspects and resetting old strategies, creating an entirely new meta that would still change based on updates. While performance was a factor into changes to weapons and gear, the developers focused more on how they would feel to use.
The dev team also set the game world two years later than in Splatoon to make returning players feel as if the series were growing with them.
Another point of focus was on utilizing the features of the Nintendo Switch, such as creating tactile experiences using HD Rumble, making sure Splatoon 2 always runs at 60 FPS, and continued amiibo compatibility for the series.
The game was teased on October 20, 2016, in the First Look at Nintendo Switch trailer. It was properly announced in the Nintendo Switch livestream on January 13, 2017, confirming that it is a sequel, and not an updated Splatoon port in the vein of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Splatoon 2 is, as its predecessor, to receive frequent updates and in-game events such as regional Splatfests. Balancing is also expected for updates.
The Splatoon 2 Global Testfire was a free demo available for download on the Nintendo Switch eShop. It allowed players to battle in free Turf Wars for six one-hour scheduled playtimes ahead of the release of Splatoon 2. These times spanned from March 24 to 26, 2017.
Players were able to use the Splattershot, Splat Charger, Splat Dualies, and Splat Roller weapons. The Reef and Musselforge Fitness comprised the map rotation. Clothing and hairstyle was randomized for each player every match.
Splatoon 2 takes place two years after the original Splatoon, and in that time, Inkling culture has changed significantly. To reflect this, several aspects of the game, from the music to the brands to the interface style, are stylized in a distinct new way.
The characters from Splatoon also show up, but with different roles. For instance, Crusty Sean, once the manager of Inkopolis Plaza's Shrimp Kicks shoe store, now runs an independent food cart in Inkopolis Square.
A scene showing many Octarians and one of Marie standing on a hill suggest that characters introduced in Splatoon are still plot-relevant, but to what end is unknown. Questions about these will likely be revealed in the new Hero Mode.
Splatoon 2 plays like Splatoon, but with many new weapons to utilize. To compensate for the Nintendo Switch's lack of a dual-screen layout, the X button is now pressed to show the map menu, where a teammate to Super Jump to can be selected using the Directional Buttons. As a result, B is used to jump. Other than these, the controls are unchanged. The game can be played using all available controllers, though the standard will be to use the Joy-Con docked inside the Joy-Con Grip.
The Nintendo Switch opens up possibilities for portable and local-multiplayer play. There will be other modes than private matches for local multiplayer, but only Private Battle Spectator View and LAN Play have been revealed. Splatoon 2 can connect to the Nintendo Switch's paid smart device app for additional multiplayer features, such as voice chat and scheduling matches.
In multiplayer, images of each player's weapon are shown in the squid icons at the top of the screen. In addition to this, a players squid icon will flash metallically when their special weapon has charged.
The game supports local multiplayer, even when the Nintendo Switch Console is taken on the go.
Ranked Battle describes several competitive online modes where the player's rank is increased or decreased depending on wins and losses.
Salmon RunSalmon Run is a new PvE online mode. In-universe, it is run by the company Grizzco Industries, which has set up a part-time workplace for Inklings. Teams of four Inklings are sent to a faraway island to battle waves of the native Salmonid and receive Power Eggs. Enemies include Chum Salmon, Baby Salmon, and Steelhead Salmon. Inklings must wear special gear within this mode, including a lifesaver. If an Inkling is splatted, a teammate can revive them by inking the lifesaver they deploy.
Golden Eggs are a rare drop from difficult enemies. An Inkling can carry one at a time in a small sack, and must place Golden Eggs in a containment unit in the center of the map. Once enough Golden Eggs have been collected, the containment unit is shipped off back to Inkopolis. Rewards are proportional to the number of Golden Eggs the team collects.
LocationsThe hub world of Splatoon 2 is Inkopolis Square, a section of Inkopolis separate from Inkopolis Plaza. A variety of maps and other locations have been showcased, including more rural areas similar to Octo Valley's visual appearance. Inkopolis Square also has new statue monuments with a tortoise and an origami crane.
Splatoon 2 introduces many weapons of all (and brand-new) types and classes. Over time, new models of the weapons will be released.
Main WeaponsIn addition to new weaponry, all of the Main Weapons from the original Splatoon will reappear; but now come with different sets, new techniques, adjusted parameters, and recolored designs, altering their associated playstyles.
- Heavy Splatling, with adjustments to the barrel angle.
- Slosher, with cosmetic adjustments to the handle and suspension arm.
- Splat Charger, whose charge can be maintained by holding the ZR trigger while becoming a squid, though this gives off a glowing effect and is not indefinite.
- Splat Roller, which can now use a narrow long-range flick when fired while jumping.
- Splat Dualies, short-range twin pistols that can fire at two targets separately. They grant the ability to dodge-roll by pressing the B button while firing; this also leaves a pool of ink behind and temporarily combines the weapon's two reticles into one.
- Weapons of the Splatling and Slosher subclasses.
- Burst Bomb
- Curling Bomb, a weapon that lays ink in a straight line, bouncing off walls before exploding when the meter on top runs out.
- Splat Bomb
- Suction Bomb
Splatoon 2 is set to have more Special Weapons than Splatoon, but all will be original; none of Splatoon's Special Weapons will reappear in this game.
- Inkjet, hovering the user in the air with a jetpack-like contraption, and allowing them to fire bursts of ink at will before launching them back to where the special was used.
- Splashdown, a large, immediate explosion of ink, also usable while Super Jumping to ensure a safe landing.
- Sting Ray, a power washer-like weapon that fires a concentrated stream of ink through solid surfaces, yet is very slow to turn and has a Killer Wail-style indicator before firing.
- Tenta Missiles (tentative name), a series of ink projectiles that are aimed at other players and fall towards them from above, with indicators to show their landing points.
- An unnamed long-range Bomb Rush, with bombs fired from a launcher.
- An unnamed weather machine that creates a large, mobile raincloud of ink.
amiibo supportNew Splatoon 2-compatible amiibo will be released, including several new designs for the Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy, and Inkling Squid. The Splatoon 2 Inkling Girl and Inkling Boy amiibo can save customization data for weapon, hairstyle, and gear combinations and abilities, and can be used to set them even on another Nintendo Switch. However, they are limited to holding customization for only Inklings of the same gender. The function of the Splatoon 2 Inkling Squid amiibo is currently unknown. Each amiibo enables the player to take selfies of their Inkling, and post them to social media via the Nintendo Switch album.
amiibo may also unlock exclusive items. The Inkling Girl may unlock Splatoon 2 logo earrings, a new schoolgirl uniform, and shoes. The Inkling Boy may unlock a ninja costume and a set of Splat Dualies. The Inkling Squid may unlock a metal power suit and a Dynamo Roller.
All Splatoon amiibo are forwards-compatible with Splatoon 2. The Splatoon Inkling Boy, Inkling Girl, and Inkling Squid will unlock exclusive weapons.
Splatoon 2 offers greater customization of players' Inkling characters. In addition to preexisting types of clothing, different hairstyles and pants can also be worn, which have no impact on abilities.