Jim Norman, Staff Writer – Storytime
When Splatoon 3 came out, I was so deep in the Splatsville trenches that its similarities to the first two games didn’t bother me that much — Nintendo is onto a winner here and if it ain’t broke, don’t ink it.
That being said, the one thing that I really appreciated in this third entry was the single-player story mode. Splatoon 2 had me on board in this respect, but 3 felt like I suddenly had so much more to do with challenges to complete, new weapons to try, and collectables to, uhh, collect. What’s more, we know that the upcoming ‘Side Order’ DLC will bring yet another helping of it our way so there’s even more to enjoy.
Importantly, I was not alone in this camp one year ago — everyone seemed eager for a little bit of story. This is what I think Splatoon 4 will capitalise on (should one be in the works, that is). An expanded single-player campaign seems like an open goal. The Turf War battles and Splatfests need to stay — it has to still be uniquely Splatoon-y after all — so why not expand the other attraction and pull in players for longer as a result? Online play is great, but we’ve peaked in that department, I’d say. Next up: storytime.
Ollie Reynolds, Staff Writer – A Giant Leap For Squid-kind
I loved the first two games and from what I’ve seen from Splatoon 3 at a distance, it looks like Nintendo has well and truly nailed the fundamentals of the franchise at this stage. So with that in mind, I’d love the fourth entry to really take a few leaps and gambles with the core formula and hopefully evolve it into something that feels completely new.
Just look at some of Nintendo’s other core IPs: Super Mario World, Link’s Awakening, Mario Kart: Double Dash… These were all the fourth major instalments in their respective franchises, and whether you happen to enjoy them or not, there’s no denying that they all demonstrate significant improvements and evolutions from their older siblings. With Splatoon, I feel Nintendo has played it a touch too safe so far, so I’d like to see it take some huge swings with the fourth game.
Alana Hagues, Deputy Editor – Ink Independently
“What would Splatoon 4 look like?” is a pretty good question. Even as a casual Splatoon enjoyer — mostly for the aesthetics and music — I don’t really see Nintendo straying from the formula too much.
But I do think Splatoon could let players be even more creative. I’m sort of amazed there isn’t some kind of stage or level editor yet, and I think players could have so much creating their own stages to share with friends or use to play online. You could even share them like you can in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Getting them to work online might prove challenging, though. Let people create their own music, too — perhaps the “idol group” in Splatoon 4 is your player character and some friends or something.
Outside of that, I think it’s about time a new playable race got added to the games. Something based on sharks, or maybe even playing as a salmonid. Imagine a salmonid with a roller!
Gavin Lane, Editor – Sink or Swim
It would be neat to go underwater. It always felt weird that squid and octopi couldn’t survive falling into the drink.
Obviously, that would necessitate changing up the gameplay (as ink guns aren’t going to splat the same beneath the waves), but there’s potential there for a different mode of team-based shooting. Maybe with darts or ninja starfish, and ejections of ink to enable a stealthy getaway or distract your enemies. A new race of Crustacean Atlanteans (or something) that come on land to do battle and then take you down to their realm.
As someone who dived headfirst into the first game, dried up on the second, and never dipped a toe in the ink of the third, Splatoon 4 will have to introduce something truly new if it’s going to capture my attention and justify another trip to the inkwell beyond the benefits to Nintendo’s balance books. As Ollie said, big swings, please.
Or maybe vehicles. If in doubt, throw a Warthog in there, Chief.
Do any of our ideas sound like a winner to you? Ink the following poll to let us know what you hope to see and then swim down to the comments to share any other thoughts you have on the future of the franchise.