The latest Nintendo Direct may have been focused on Splatoon 2, but it also included some important announcements about the Switch’s (recently evolved) online service. Namely, we now know that the free version will be launching in full alongside the new shooter, on July 21st.
Splatoon 2 will also be getting special functionality within the dedicated smartphone app tied to Switch Online when it launches. SplatNet 2, as it’s being called, will allow players to keep track of their inking process across the entire run of the game by reviewing previous matches, player stats, and the amount of paint they’ve spilled on the battlefield. Of course, with a new Splatoon game comes a mega selection of new gear, weapons, and maps, which SplatNet 2 will help players keep track of through live schedule updates for upcoming events, and even the ability to purchase new gear to be picked up later in the Inkopolis Square.
In addition to the Splatoon 2–specific features, the Switch’s Online app will also enable many of the previously announcement features, like in-game voice chat and the ability to create private lobbies with friends for all future Switch games with online competitive support. The service will be free until the paid version launches in 2018, but even then pricing plans will be quite low, running from $3.99 per month to $19.99 for an entire year.
And while Miiverse may be a thing of the past, it appears Splatoon 2 will be recreating some of the functionality from the Wii U’s social network inside the game itself. Inklings will get to show off their creative side using art installation locations, which enable players to draw pictures, drop them off at a kiosk in-game, and then see their beautiful creations appear around Inkopolis or in battle.
The Nintendo Direct packed in more new features coming to the game, including food trucks, a demonstration of all the fresh weapons and gear, Amiibo support, and the reveal a special demo will arrive ahead of the game’s full launch.
Splatoon 2 and the Switch’s online service launch on July 21st.