Splatoon 3 will be the perfect summer 2022 game for Nintendo
Fans of video game developers have a good idea of what they can expect in any given new year. Tent game like Forbidden Horizon to the West, God of War Ragnarok, and Elden Ring is set to define 2022 (assuming no delays) and Nintendo has a strong lineup announced for this year. Track visits like Monster Hunter Rise and Metroid Dread in 2021, there’s a lot to suggest 2022 could be one of Switch’s strongest years thanks to games like Breath of the Wild 2 and Splatoon 3.
However, many of Nintendo’s release schedules are ambiguous. The first months are set up with Pokemon Legend: Arceus on January 28, year Mario + Rabbids: Spark of Hope on March 24 and Kirby and the Forgotten Land on March 25th. Third-party games like Triangle Strategy will also fill up its library, releasing on March 4th. From there less defined release windows will appear, like Advance Wars 1 + 2 Retraining Program in the spring, as well as Bayonetta 3 and Breath of the Wild 2 closely followed by the “2022” releases. Splatoon 3 doesn’t have a definite release date either, but it seems like an obvious choice to fill Nintendo’s summer schedule.
Release history of Splatoon
Generally speaking, summer and holiday seasons are when developers want to release games – especially if they cater to younger audiences. This is not always the case; many games also release around March as it marks the end of the financial year. Still, it’s hard to argue with the sales potential of the hit series launching the game when audiences are away from school and work, especially around December’s gift-giving holidays like Christmas and Hannukah.
For Nintendo, holiday games tend to be heavy like Pokemon and The Legend of Zelda. With Legend: Arceus released after a few weeks, soon after Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining pearls in November 2021, it’s hard to say whether The Pokemon Company will have another big game title this holiday. Breath of the Wild 2 seems like a more affordable alternative to Nintendo’s holiday blockbuster, likely to announce a release date in an early Nintendo Direct release or online only E3 2022. While first Breath of the Wild launched in March 2017 to coincide with the Switch, entries like Ocarina of Time, Sunset princess, and Skyward Sword has historically declined around November.
Meanwhile, Splatoon franchise has a history of releasing in the summer. Original game released in May 2015 and Splatoon 2 on the shelves in July 2017. This doesn’t mean Splatoon 3 won’t be a heavy hitter; Splatoon 2 is the ninth-highest-grossing Switch game as of September 30, 2021, as reported by Nintendo Investor Relations. As a multiplayer-focused franchise with a punk attitude, a well-timed release for the summer break would make a lot of sense.
Splatoon 3 as a Multiplayer Juggernaut
Many Nintendo franchises are single-player, from exploring in The Legend of Zelda and Metroid to the platform in Super Mario, Kirby, and Yoshi Island. Many of them already include multiplayer modes, like Kirby and the Forgotten Land‘spoon, scoop’ or fight with friends in Fire Emblem, but only some of the series-centric multiplayer. Spin-off like Mario Party and Mario Kart, as well as Super Smash Bros. are prominent examples, but Nintendo made a big splash with Splatoon in the way of a Transformational franchise ARM did not.
Of the Switch-specific games scheduled for 2022, Splatoon 3 is the only dedicated multiplayer service. Single-player blockbuster games like Breath of the Wild 2 or Bayonetta 3 makes sense during the holidays, but Splatoon 3 has more lasting power if it releases this summer and updates throughout the rest of the year. This will also make up for the potential shortfall of a Super Mario spin-off, although rumors say that a Nintendo focuses on crossover Mario Kart may be in progress.
Splatoon 2 existed for a long time, with its “Octo Expansion” released in June 2018; almost a year after the base game. Although it is strange that Nintendo decided to develop the second title in the multiplayer third-person shooter series for the Switch when it is expandable Splatoon 2 instead, precedent suggests the title will be another multiplayer game to keep its console alive. Summer 2022 seems to be the best time for a release, but fans will have to wait and see what Nintendo announces next.
Splatoon 3 slated for release in 2022 for the Nintendo Switch.
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