The latest Nintendo Direct, which premiered on August 10, was centered on Splatoon 3. The latest entry in the Splatoon series includes new maps, weapons, and game modes for fans to try out. There also appears to be a healthy selection of returning gameplay elements, as well. In particular, many longtime Splatoon players were quick to notice a feature that seems to call back to the now-defunct social network application Miiverse. Given that the same concept appeared in Splatoon 2 despite Miiverse having shut down around the same time as the game's release, it feels like a solid indicator that Nintendo is well aware of how fondly the first Splatoon game's Miiverse functionality was viewed by most of its player base.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
After over three years of waiting, Splatoon fans were treated to the reveal trailer for Splatoon 3 in early 2021. At first the game was only given a vague 2022 release date, but this window was later narrowed down to the summer and, eventually, solidified for early September. As hinted at in the Nintendo Direct, this may very well serve as the finale for the Splatoon series, or at the very least its single-player story arc. However, it's already been confirmed that Splatoon 3 will be seeing free updates and DLC after its release, meaning that fans shouldn't have to worry too much about the game's longevity. This is especially true given Splatoon's overall focus on online matches.
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Splatoon 3 is set in the city of Splatsville, located in the Splatlands region. As noted by fans as early as the reveal trailer, it looks like both the setting and story for Splatoon 3 are post-apocalyptic or at least inspired by those themes. Splatsville will serve as the hub area for Splatoon 3, similar to the cities that came before it in the franchise. The setting will include returning staples from the series such as an idol group, news program, and the popular Splatfest events. Players can also explore new locations, though, like the multitude of shops where they can buy outfits and accessories that help boost stats during gameplay. Also returning is the mailbox service from both previous games.
How The Mailbox In Splatoon 3 Connects To Miiverse
The mailbox first appeared in the first Splatoon game and was specifically linked to Nintendo's social networking service, Miiverse. Essentially, it served as a co-op multiplayer aspect of Splatoon, albeit outside normal gameplay. Through the Miiverse, users could create drawings or text posts for other online players to see. In Splatoon, when posted through the mailbox, these could be shared to the Splatoon community and would be viewable either as graffiti found throughout the city and various stages or in speech bubbles that appeared above the heads of Inklings located in the plaza. Players could even create posts or drawings specifically for the Splatfest event, and each could effectively be 'liked' by other users similar to most other social networking services. Although Miiverse was shut down in late 2017, that hasn't stopped similar features from popping up in subsequent games in the Splatoon series.
The mailbox made a comeback in Splatoon 2, though in the sequel it was disconnected from any Miiverse functionality. Splatoon fans could still create drawings and Splatfest posts, which would be displayed throughout the game just as they were in the first Splatoon game. August's Nintendo Direct confirmed that the mailbox will appear in Splatoon 3, as well. Details about the feature can be viewed at around the 21-minute mark on the official Nintendo YouTube channel.
Given how closely Nintendo seems to be emulating the original Miiverse functionality from the first Splatoon game, it appears as though the company is trying to recapture the success of the social networking platform. Miiverse made it easy to share screenshots, achievements, or simply funny content with other fans of Nintendo's games, and arguably helped contribute to a stronger sense of community in its online titles specifically. Having drawings only be accessible in-game in Splatoon 3, and not allowing for more versatile content to be shared, means players will still be missing out on quite a bit of what made Miiverse so great to begin with. If Nintendo really does miss it just as much as its fans do, however, perhaps it could mean something similar will return in the future.