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Everything We Know About Splatoon 3's Salmon Run: Next Wave Co-Op Mode

The "Splatoon" series launched on the Wii U back in 2015, and since then the massive paintball-style arena battles between the squid-like Inklings have enchanted new and veteran gamers alike, quickly becoming a staple of modern Nintendo gaming. The original "Splatoon" was immensely popular and "Splatoon 2" was one of the best Switch games that couldn't be played on any other console. Now, fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of "Splatoon 3." The Nintendo website states that the newest installation in the series should be coming some time in Summer 2022. The trailer, which was released at the 2021 Nintendo Direct, shows that there will be a high degree of character customization and seems to imply that the battlegrounds will range from a post-apocalyptic looking waste called "The Splatlands" to the billboard covered urban streets of a big city, thick with skyscrapers.

Well, now "Splatoon" fans have even more to look forward to. It was announced at this year's Nintendo Direct that the multiplayer mode, "Salmon Run: Next Wave" is on its way as well. This will serve as a sequel to the popular "Salmon Run" multiplayer mode from "Splatoon 2," which required coordinated teamwork for players to defeat waves of Salmonoids. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Is there a release date for Salmon Run: Next Wave?

So, the base game is coming out some time this summer, but when will gamers be able to face off against hoards of Salmonoids in multiplayer? Well, Nintendo has yet to make an official statement confirming it, but it seems likely that they will both be launched at the same time. There was a card at the end of the Nintendo Direct showcase of "Salmon Run: Next Wave" that simply reiterated that "Splatoon 3" would be coming out in Summer 2022. There was no mention of a separate release date for "Next Wave." This seems to indicate that the two will be sold together and that "Next Wave" will not be an add-on to be acquired later.

That might seem like a given, since the original "Salmon Run" was released as part of the launch of "Splatoon 2" but "Nintendo Switch Sports" was also announced at the recent Nintendo Direct and it will have major updates with added game modes after the base game's release, so fans can't rule out the possibility that major game modes like "Next Wave" may arrive later.

Is there a Salmon Run: Next Wave trailer?

Nintendo released a trailer for "Salmon Run: Next Wave" during a Nintendo Direct. This trailer features a military-looking helicopter supporting a team of Inklings decked out in orange and green tactical gear as they circle over a water-based arena known as Sockeye Station. They are then shot down to the arena, where a row of Salmonoids comes marching out of the polluted water. Then, a large drill drops onto the arena. Apparently, this is a new boss called the "Fish Stick." It features several Salmanoids riding in cars attached via cables around the top and drops a green sludge that makes it difficult for the inklings below to walk. Another new boss that was showcased is called the "Flipper Flopper" which looks like someone stuffed a dolphin in a suit of Big Daddy armor from "Bioshock" and divebombs unsuspecting Inklings.

The trailer shows more combat as the Inklings work together to fight the creatures, collect eggs, and add them to the egg basket. After that, a final boss appears on screen. This gargantuan creature isn't named in the trailer, but the Splatoon North America Twitter page stated that "Squid Research Lab is excited and more than a little scared to reveal the existence of a King Salmonid. This unfathomably terrifying creature can be scientifically described as "ginormous." We hope to release more details soon." Hopefully, players are up to the challenge.

What kind of gameplay will there be in Salmon Run: Next Wave?

Players can expect a similar gameplay experience in "Next Wave" to what they enjoyed in the original "Salmon Run." It will still be a co-op mode for up to 4 players. Inklings will still need to gather eggs by defeating Salmanoids and carry them to the egg baskets. According to the Splatoon North America Twitter page, "all Boss Salmonids from Splatoon 2 can also be observed invading the Splatlands."

That doesn't mean there won't be at least a few new features, though. The Fish Stick, Flipper-Flopper, and King Salmonoid bosses are all sure to add a diverse range of challenges. Then there's the new "Egg Throw" ability which can be seen in the trailer. The Splatoon North America Twitter page describes it as, "a tactical throwing of Golden Eggs, scientifically known as the 'Egg Throw.' Inklings can now pass Golden Eggs to allies or deposit them from afar. This consumes a portion of ink but greatly increases efficiency!" This is sure to add new layers to the gameplay that "Splatoon" fans will love.