Nintendo's inky online shooter Splatoon 2 is getting an early demo on Switch at the end of March. The game itself isn't due to launch until sometime this summer, but Nintendo will be holding its first 'global testfire' for the game between March 24th and March 26th, giving players another title to dabble in during the console's first month on shop shelves.
Six individual sessions are planned over the weekend, with each one lasting an hour in total. Since these are global times, a fair few aren't particularly UK-friendly, but hopefully the other times will give players plenty of opportunity to give the game a go. Here they are in full:
- March 24th, 7pm GMT
- March 25th, 3am GMT
- March 25th, 11am GMT
- March 25th, 7pm GMT
- March 26th, 4am GMT
- March 26th, 12pm GMT
Four weapons will be available to play, including the new Splat Dualies, as well as remixed versions of the Splat Roller and Splat Charger. As for the content of the trial, this will be the same as what was featured during Nintendo's various Switch hands-on events around the world.
Players will also be able to try out the game's new spectator mode. This allows two players to participate in a Private Battle as cameramen (or women), observing an 8-player battle from multiple angles. During this mode, players will have their own recording tools and will be able to broadcast videos online from the perspective of a commentator - a play, no doubt, to increase the game's eSports potential.
The game will be free to play during the testfire period, but come autumn, Nintendo's online services will require players to pay in order to play online. It's not yet known how much Nintendo's Online Service will cost (it will be available to try as a free trial between March and the autumn), but judging by Japanese pricing information provided by Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima to The Nikkei, we're estimating it could cost somewhere between 14-20 a year.
Despite only being a few weeks from launch, Nintendo's remained tight-lipped about the exact ins and outs of its Online Service, revealing only that it will require a smartphone app to use services such as voice chat and match-making, and that each month players will be able to download either a NES or SNES game to play for free. The game will only be available for that month, however, so players will have to buy it if they wish to continue playing it after the month is up.
The Nintendo Switch is launching in just three weeks time on March 3rd. Right now, the main highlights from the launch line-up include The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and 1-2-Switch, but a weekend of Splatoon 2 at the end of the month may well bolster sales of the new console as players get to try it out in advance.