Nintendo covers new ground with messy colour in Splatoon - and creates one of its finest games in a generation in the process.


Key events

I read a wonderful thing once about ants, and it made me love them more than I did already - and I already really loved ants. This thing I read - I cannot remember the source or the specifics - talked about how ants construct their nests, how they achieve a level of intelligence together that no single ant actually possesses. The thrust of this, as I remember it, is that ants are very good at counting. As they wander off in the morning to do something useful, they count the number of ants they see doing the various things they are doing, and through this counting, the ant who is looking for something useful to be a part of builds up a sense of where they are most needed.

Splatoon 2 release date slated for July

Splatoon 2 release date slated for July

New four-player PvE mode Salmon Run revealed.

Splatoon 2 is coming to Switch on 21st July, Nintendo revealed tonight on a Nintendo Direct stream.

While the squid-based sequel doesn't look a whole lot different from its predecessor, it does have at least one major new game mode called Salmon Run.

This four-player co-op mode tasks a team of squid children to collect "Power Eggs" on a man-made island, then bank them in a basket. The problem is the eggs' parents, the Salmonid, aren't too happy with these rapscallions making off with their young. As such, they'll be on the offensive as you try to snatch their eggs.

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Splatoon 2 announced, due summer

Splatoon 2 announced, due summer

New maps, weapons and costumes.

Splatoon 2 will launch for Nintendo Switch this summer.

It looks like Splatoon - and it feels like this is the project which started as a straightforward, enhanced port of the original game.

Expect new costumes, stages and weapons. We also caught a sample of some new music, which sounded suitably J-Pop-y.

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Splatoon's not going anywhere - the amazing success of Nintendo's Wii U exclusive has ensured that - but over a year of support came to an end over the weekend as the last ever Splatfest was held. And in a perfectly fitting finale, the players chose the only option, crowning Marie the queen of Splatoon over her squid sister the frankly miserable Callie. After so much political uncertainty this year, it's good to see democracy can be a force for good.

Splatoon's final Splatfest asks the ultimate question

Super Callie goes ballistic, Marie is atrocious.

It's been a week of making hard choices with big consequences, and the toughest one lies ahead. On July 22nd Splatoon is getting its final Splatfest, and Nintendo's positing the ultimate question: Callie or Marie?

Two of Nintendo's biggest Wii U games get updates today

Two of Nintendo's biggest Wii U games get updates today

Key additions for Mario Maker, Splatoon.

Splatoon and Mario Maker, two of Nintendo's biggest Wii U games, get shiny new updates today.

Mario Maker gains a half dozen new items, including screen-filling Skewers (shake a Thwomp to make one appear) and Keys, allowing you to create more complicated levels (shake a P-Switch to place a Key instead).

With the addition of Keys, Nintendo has also added Key Doors and the ability to place Keys in blocks or assign them to enemies - so you have to defeat a boss before one drops, for example. There are also new Pink Coins - collect all of these to also get a Key to drop.

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Splatoon sells 4m copies, bought by a third of all Wii U owners

Nintendo's paint-splashed online shooter Splatoon has sold more than 4m copies - a remarkable achievement for a console base only at 12.6m.

To put those sales into perspective, Splatoon has so far outmatched PlayStation 4 exclusives The Order and Bloodborne combined.

Super Mario Maker wasn't far behind, either. It sold 3.34m units - meaning one in four Wii U owners bought it.

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What is it that's kept me coming back to the three minute match-ups of Splatoon all year long? Maybe it's in the little details that can make Nintendo games such a joy - the satisfying splosh as you dive into ink, like the wholesome plonk of a hefty pebble being dropped into a pond - or how its scraps are a viscous riot as giddy and giggly as a food fight.

Here's your first look at the new Splatoon update

Here's your first look at the new Splatoon update

New stage and gear due this weekend.

Splatoon will be receiving two new stages and 14 new pieces of gear, Nintendo announced today during its latest Nintendo Direct presentation.

A software update is due tomorrow, 13th November, and will include 14 new pieces of gear.

The following day a new stage will appear called Museum D'alfonsino. Set in an art museum, D'alfonsino will contain five pieces of rotating scenery as you vandalise the crap out of this place.

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The Eurogamer podcast returns to debate the highs and lows of 2015

Live from EGX at 4pm. Plus Eurogamer plays Mario Maker at 3pm.

About that podcast some of you said you wanted back... Well, turn up at the developer sessions space at EGX around 4pm today and you'll be served with a live performance from Oli Welsh, Aoife Wilson, Chris Bratt and Martin Robinson (hi!) as they debate the highs and lows of 2015. What have been the highlights, what's the best game of the year so far and why is it Splatoon?

Wii U lifetime sales pass 10 million, Splatoon sells 1.62m

Nintendo has posted an encouraging profit (8.3bn yen / £43m) for the months April, May and June. Last year it was in the red (-9.9bn yen / -£51m).

The good news is 3DS sales (1m for the quarter), Splatoon sales and amiibo sales. Splatoon has sold 1.62m units since its release at the end of May, helping the Wii U edge over the 10m sales milestone (10.01m specifically) after two-and-a-half years on sale. Considering Splatoon is Wii U exclusive, and it was on sale for two full months, that's a convincing result for the new IP. Then again, Mario Kart 8 is owned by 5.11 million people - more than half of the Wii U audience.

Amiibo sales weren't specified but referred to as "favourable" and, Nintendo promised, "we will continue to expand the lineup". And with an expanded lineup comes potential for plenty more defective models, which have become collector's items and sell for a fortune. Someone has dedicated a Tumblr page to them. "At the same time," the report added, "we aim to stimulate demand for amiibo from owners of the original Nintendo 3DS hardware systems by releasing the Nintendo 3DS NFC Reader/Writer accessory (for Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL and Nintendo 2DS), which will be launched simultaneously with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer [out in Europe 2nd October 2015]."

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Splatoon's big August update raises level cap

Splatoon's big August update raises level cap

New weapons, new matchmaking and new features all explained ahead of August 6 update.

Splatoon's big August update will raise the level cap all the way to 50, introducing a handful of new modes in the progress while making it easier for players to battle together.

The level cap, which previously sat at 20, is also being risen in ranked battles, with S and S+ rankings now available. The update also introduces Squad Battles, in which players can partner up with friends before playing Ranked Battles together as a team, and Private Battles, which allows players to set up their own lobbies where can invite others to partake in their choice of mode. Here, players can also even - or distort - the odds, setting up 1v2, 1v4 or any other combination of players in the 8-player multiplayer.

Two new weapon types are also being introduced, with Sloshers and Splatlings making their debut. Alongside all that, 40 all-new pieces of gear are coming to the in-game stores.

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FeatureNintendo's bright future with Splatoon

And making sushi with Tsubasa Sakaguchi.

If you're searching for the new generation of talent within Nintendo, you needn't look much further than Tsubasa Sakaguchi. They certainly don't come much more youthful that the co-director of Splatoon, Nintendo EAD's first all-new character led game in 14 years; when we meet in a sushi house in Soho he bristles with a child-like energy and enthusiasm, his long hair tied back and his bright yellow Splatoon-themed t-shirt shining as brightly as his smiling eyes. You can sense so much of that energy in Splatoon too, a game that dances to the rhythm of youthful exuberance. New beginnings don't come much more convincing than this.

Wii U exclusive Splatoon fires past 1m sales worldwide

Wii U exclusive Splatoon fires past 1m sales worldwide

230k splash out for a copy in Europe.

Nintendo's colourful online shooter Splatoon has now sold more than a million copies worldwide, the company announced today.

That figure includes physical copies and digital downloads from the Wii U eShop.

230k were sold in Europe, 368k in North America and 476k in Japan.

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Splatoon datamine discovers dozens of on-disc details

Splatoon datamine discovers dozens of on-disc details

This week's new freebie is the Nova Blaster gun.

Nintendo fans have discovered just how much content is hidden within online paint shooter Splatoon. Turns out, it's quite a lot.

Fans have discovered another two unreleased maps and as many as 33 upcoming weapons by datamining the Splatoon disc (thanks, NeoGAF).

Upcoming maps include Camp and Skyscraper locations. The list of upcoming guns is incomplete - some may just be placeholders - but indicate that a sizable amount of new content for the game is still on the way.

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Splatoon adds another new weapon tomorrow

Splash-O-Matic! drops this weekend.

Nintendo is continuing its drip-feed of new Splatoon features with the Splash-O-Matic!, the third extra weapon to become available since the game originally launched.

Splatoon sales are strong in Japan, at least

Splatoon sales are strong in Japan, at least

Earned itself a few squid.

Wii U sales have been given a much-needed boost in Japan by the arrival of Nintendo's team-based paint shooter Splatoon.

The console was again top of the Japanese hardware charts last week and shifted 21,169 units - almost double that of the PlayStation 4.

213,731 copies of Splatoon have now been sold in the country, according to numbers company Media Create. That's not anywhere near Pokémon numbers, but huge for a Wii U-exclusive.

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Splatoon review

Is Splatoon a shooter or isn't it? There's been a lot of discussion about where exactly Nintendo's new Wii U exclusive - the first all-new character-led IP to emerge from within the company for 14 long years - fits, but in truth it defies easy categorisation. Yes there are guns, though they're employed in a different kind of wet-work: one that sees splashes of vivid, bright colour sloshed all over the stages. There's competitive online play at its heart as well, though success isn't measured in how many headshots you pop off but in how much colour you bring to the world, and how successful you are in spreading that thick, sloppy ink. This is new territory for the company, for sure, but the one thing that's evident throughout Splatoon is that, despite the lack of familiar faces, it's every inch a Nintendo game.

It's a machine for happiness, in other words, where each element has been engineered to elicit a smile. Nintendo's games have always held fun at a premium, of course, but given a blank piece of paper it's fascinating to see how far its developers go in energetically providing colour of their own. Splatoon is a giddy, at times delirious game.

It's chaotic, too. The Turf War battles that are the default online mode see two teams of four face off against each other from opposite sides of the map, working to paint as much of the floor as possible in their own ink. At the end of each match, the amount of territory is totted up, and a winner is declared. It's scrappy and it's simple, and it speaks to a pleasure as primal as that found in other online shooters, even if it's more overtly juvenile: this isn't about bloodlust, and it's only nominally about a sense of conquest. Predominantly, Splatoon is all about creating a big, gaudy mess.

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Splatoon ties end in seemingly arbitrary wins

Deserve's got nothing to do with it.

In many ways Splatoon offers the third-person multiplayer shooter a fresh coat of paint with its focus on territory control over killing. But there's one peculiar flaw players have unearthed in Nintendo's fastest-selling new Wii U franchise: its ties are won arbitrarily.

VideoVideo: Splatoon is secretly a MOBA

Johnny inks so, anyway.

Splatoon is hands down the best game I've ever played about militarised squid. Nintendo ought to be proud, they've made something really weird and thoroughly enjoyable all at once, only I just can't agree when they say it's a shooter. I think Splatoon is actually a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA. Let me explain in the video below.

Pre-order Splatoon at GAME, get exclusive Inkling beanie

Pre-order Splatoon at GAME, get exclusive Inkling beanie

Splatoon-focused Nintendo Direct next week.

Pre-order any edition of Wii U-exclusive Splatoon at GAME and you will get an exclusive free Inkling beanie.

The squid-shaped hat will come free with either the game's standard version or special edition Amiibo bundle, both of which will launch here in the UK on 29th May.

Separately, Nintendo has announced a Splatoon-focused Nintendo Direct broadcast will take place next Thursday, 7th May at 3pm UK time.

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The Wii U games confirmed for release in 2015

The Wii U games confirmed for release in 2015

Triforce yourself to forget Zelda's delay.

Nintendo has knocked the Wii U's biggest game of 2015 - its upcoming open-world Legend of Zelda - out of this year's release schedule.

In fact, Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma did not even commit to a 2016 launch when he recently announced the game's delay, and with word of the new Nintendo NX console on the horizon it is easy to speculate that the game could be held back further for repurposing as a next-generation launch title.

So which games can Wii U owners still hope to play, and which are confirmed to be due out in Europe this year?

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Digital FoundryTech Analysis: Splatoon

Digital Foundry's initial impressions on Nintendo's brand new shooter.

We recently had a chance to take a closer look at a near complete build of Splatoon and, with two months remaining until release, the game is looking remarkably polished. Equipping players with paint guns instead of gaming's typical selection of assault rifles and other high calibre weaponry, Nintendo has approached the multiplayer arena shooter with fresh eyes, resulting in a fresh new experience that is welcoming for hardcore and casual players alike. Despite its unfamiliarity with the genre, Nintendo has manages to produce a visually striking game that delivers a level of polish one would expect from any of its high-profile releases.

Splatoon inks in a May release date

Splatoon inks in a May release date

New Amiibo announced.

Nintendo's highly anticipated squid kid shooter Splatoon is launching on 29th May, Nintendo announced during its latest Nintendo Direct today.

A new mode called Battle Dojo was alos announced. This is a one-on-one battle mode in which one player plays on the Gamepad screen, while the other is on the TV. They'll rush to pop a series of balloons before their opponent.

Furthermore, Nintendo revealed a pack of Splatoon Amiibo. These will include a male and female inkling along with a green squid. They'll add new missions.

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FeatureNintendo might be making the most exciting online shooter in years

An afternoon with Splatoon's single-player and multiplayer reveals a real delight.

Lateral thinking with seasoned technology. It's a philosophy established by Game Boy creator Gunpei Yokoi, and one that you can attribute much of Nintendo's success to. It turns out it's a philosophy that's just as potent when it comes to software. Splatoon takes the somewhat tired premise of an online shooter and, with a little creativity and large, literal splashes of colour, makes for a shooter that's bursting with potential.

At the start of the new year, we once used to run a series looking at the trends we think will emerge over the next 12 months - the ideas and technologies that will go on to shape and define the games we play and how we play them. This year, it didn't seem a particularly fitting way to tackle what lies ahead: not because there won't be grand themes emerging, and not because there won't be new approaches that will dazzle and confound us, but rather because it seems pointless pointing out what's becoming patently obvious.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Code Name: STEAM get new release dates

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Code Name: STEAM get new release dates

Hyrule Warriors Amiibo support detailed, Splatoon single-player shown off.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker's UK release date is now 2nd January, Nintendo has revealed, a week sooner than the previously-announced 9th January.

The game will feature more than 70 stages, with extra levels unlocked when you complete fiendish optional objectives.

Code Name: STEAM - the new 3DS strategy title from Fire Emblem and Advance Wars developer Intelligent Systems - will meanwhile launch in May 2015.

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EGXNintendo brings huge line-up to EGX London

Plus all sorts of tournaments, competitions and discounts.

Gamer Network, which publishes this website, has announced Nintendo's line-up for this year's EGX London, taking place next week from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th September at Earls Court.

VideoVideo: See how Splatoon works

A quick play of Nintendo's colourful, messy shooter.

Splatoon! It was one of the highlights of Nintendo's E3 showing, and more proof that the Wii U has a brighter future than many first thought.

Who would have thought the best third-person shooter to emerge at last week's E3 would come from Nintendo? The reveal of Splatoon, a colourful squad-based shooter, was typical of a company that managed to hit all the right beats in Los Angeles, delivering something far more significant than a new Mario, or a new Metroid - it was an all-new IP, produced by the next generation of talent within Nintendo that's all-important to its future.