The new Nintendo Direct focused entirely on the upcoming Splatoon 2 for the Nintendo Switch. The nearly half-hour long video covered a lot of exciting details including new features, returning mechanics, and announced the Splatfest demo.

Much like its predecessor, Splatoon 2’s gameplay is split into online multiplayer, local multiplayer, and a single player campaign. The online multiplayer consists of three different modes: Turf War, Ranked Battles, and the all new League Battles. Splatfests will return to the game in addition to a new event mode called Salmon Run.

Turf War works similar to how it did in the first game, with two teams of four fighting to cover the most ground with their team’s ink. Ranked Battles in Splatoon 2 also work as they did in the first Splatoon. Players can compete online in one of three modes: Tower Control, Splat Zones, and Rainmaker. League battles allow friends to band together either in pairs or in teams of four. It is important to note that pairs are randomly assigned with another pair to create a full team of four. However, no matter which way you choose to do it, the League Battles will last for two hours or until the map changes. Your team’s total score at the end of the period is compared to other teams. The teams with the highest overall score wins an in-game trophy.

Splatoon 2

The Nintendo Direct showed eight different maps: The Reef, Musselforge Fitness, Inkblot Art Academy, Humpback Pump Track, Sturgeon Shipyard, Port Mackerel, and Moray Towers. Some of these maps are new while the others are revised versions of the original maps. The maps will rotate on a timed cycle in the online multiplayer, but can be specifically selected in local multiplayer.

Many of the old weapon types also make an appearance. Just like before, each weapon comes in sets of three with a main weapon,  sub weapon, and a special weapon paired together. Rollers, chargers, sloshers, and blasters return from the first game as main weapons. The new main weapon types are called dualies and the brellas. Dualies are two small ink pistols that allow the player to perform a quick dodge roll. Brellas are umbrella like weapons with both offensive and defensive capabilities. Chargers can now hold their charge for a small amount of time and rollers can throw paint both horizontally and vertically. All of the special weapons in Splatoon 2 are new and offer exciting changes to the game like jetpacks or shooting through walls.

Of course, there is also new gear and gear abilities. One of the NPCs, Murch, will help players further customize their gear by adding or subtracting abilities. However, unlike the first game, Splatoon 2 lets you select specific abilities instead of relying on RNG. Amiibos can be used to save specific control settings, abilities, and weapons loadouts. Additionally, amiibos offer exclusive gear and players can access a special camera mode to have their avatars strike a pose with the amiibo. All of the old Splatoon amiibos and the three new ones will all be compatible with Splatoon 2.

Splatoon 2

A whole host of new characters showed up in the Nintendo Direct. Most of them were shop owners. Sheldon is still manning the weapon shop Ammo Knights. However, the other shops, in addition to their new names, all have to shop keepers. It also seems as if Marie and Callie have some new competition in the form of Marina and Pearl. Marina is doubly interesting in that she, unlike the other three, is an Octarian.

Speaking of Octarians, the single-player mode is back with a vengeance. The Splatoon 2 single-player mode appears to work the same way it did in Splatoon. The local multiplayer expanded so that multiple Switch owners in the same location can battle it out wirelessly or via LAN cable.

Splatoon 2

Nintendo confirmed that they plan on releasing free, new content (i.e. new stages, weapons, and gear) for Splatoon 2 for up to a year. They will also run Splatfests for 2 years after the initial launch. However, the first Splatfest is set to occur a week before the game’s launch. Players can download a demo for the game. Each player must join one of two teams: Team Cake or Team Icecream. It will work similar to the ARMS Testpunch in that the event will only be live for a few, specified hours. The Splatfest will begin on July 15th and run from 3:00 pm -7:00pm PT.

Splatoon 2 releases July 21st. For more information, check out the Nintendo Direct or Nintendo’s website.