Right off the bat in the latest Nintendo Direct, finally, Splatoon 3 fans got the rain in the desert that we’ve been waiting for. Side Order news is finally here, almost a year out since the initial announcement. With it is a slew of information, plenty of which makes the nature of the DLC obvious. But there are a few details, some that lingered in the background, that do a whole lot more telling than what’s evident on the surface. In this brief overview, we’ll get into the six things we noticed hiding in the corners of Side Order.
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1. We May Be Going Dualie Only
One of the first things those who played Octo Expansion may have noticed is that, throughout the entire trailer the only weapon we see is a pair of white Dualies. They were boxy, but still Dualie-looking, almost appearing to either be a Tensa brand or just something all their own. At the beginning of the trailer, they looked pretty basic, but at least once we watched them get upgraded right in front of our eyes. This more than heavily suggests that we’re going out swinging with nothing but Dualies in our hands. This is great for those who main the weapon, and it’s worth mentioning that these are Pearl’s weapons of choice. Maybe she made the pick?
2. Pearl Fights With Us
No matter how you look at it, Pearl is heavily involved, more so than she ever was in Octo Expansion. From the beginning of the trailer, we see her cute little drone stand-in, something she likely bought with the mountains of cash that she flaunted during Octo Expansion. What’s more interesting though is that this drone isn’t just a camera and a set of speakers: the thing can fight.
Very briefly during one of the opening stage sequences, we see the drone have an aiming laser pointing marker, much like those you see on chargers. Toward the end of that same clip, you can see the Pearl Drone dropping Splat Bombs. During the upgrade sequence, in the corner you can see that Pearl Drone exclusively uses Splat Bombs, implying that we may be able to change or upgrade her features down the line.
3. The World is Decaying (And Those Fish Are Causing It)
As we watch Agent 8 (looks like we were right!) walking toward the main tower in the Splatoon 2 square, it’s more than evident that the world is not just turning white. It’s straight-up falling apart. On the right side of the screen, if you look closely as Agent 8 is walking, you can see large cracks in the ground start to form and expand toward them, almost as if they were exacerbated just by one octoling’s weight. How they got there, or even where they are, is still a mystery. But if Acht’s description is anything to go on, it involved some kind of portal.
One interesting note that requires a little sea knowledge is the oily fish that Agent 8 fights during the trailer. If you look closely at the way the fish are shaped, you’d automatically assume they’re some kind of dolphin or beluga. While that’s pretty close, they’re actually more structurally built like a fish rather than a sea swimming mammal. Plus, as you know, mammals don’t exist in Splatoon – like, at all. Looking at how they swim, from side to side rather than up and down, we can pretty much deduce that they’re actually based on the Parrot Fish.
These big impressive fish are mostly white, and have a big protrusion on the top of their heads, just like the enemies in the trailer. What’s more interesting is what they eat and destroy as a species: coral. And since the entire area seems to be covered in it, that’s definitely not a good sign. To boot, they also mimic the robotic fish trend that peaked around the 2000s, something that is no doubt a stylistic choice and may be evidence of what the aesthetic is going to be down the line.
4. There Are Difficulty Settings For Each Stage
If you evaluated freeze frames like I did, you may have noticed that there is a difficulty menu while Agent 8 uses the color palette tool Acht offers to them. Easy, Normal, and Hard, at least for that specific stage. This all but practically confirms that there will be difficulty settings for each stage, each with unique rewards that allow you to upgrade different aspects of your gun, bombs, and even your Pearl Drone helper. This is far more intuitive and flexible than the way Octo Expansion handled it, which was just to make different weapons available for a lessened entry cost for the stage. It almost ensures that a stage will have more or less difficulty, rather than relying on a weapon’s natural pros and cons to make up that difference.
5. Marina is Eerily Absent
While we saw plenty of Pearl, where’s her inseparable partner? The one who had so much anxiety regarding their separation that she made an entire SplatFest choice about it? Normally Pearl and Marina are a pair that come together, but in this case, we didn’t even get to see a still shot of Marina anywhere in the trailer. Considering the fact that the game covers some core beats, like the elevator, some menus, and someone who once knew Marina, it’s insanely odd that we didn’t see the octoling herself.
This could mean a few things: that Marina didn’t get “sucked in” like we did, is in need of a rescue, or that Marina is actually some kind of antagonist. Mind control is on the table, and has been since Splatoon 2, so who knows what’s going on regarding her whereabouts. No matter how it’s spun, the lack of her being around does nothing but add to the uncertainty of it all, especially since we had Marina and Pearl both to back Agent 8 in the Octo Expansion.
6. Acht/Dedf1sh Has More Connections Than Just Marina
The biggest detail that we got throughout the trailer is the identity of Dedf1sh, a musical artist in the Splatoon world who was credited with the entire Octo Expansion soundtrack in-universe. She’s a sanitized Octoling, one whose connection with Marina is brand-new information. Previous to this trailer, we hadn’t even seen Dedf1sh in action, motion, or anything more than a few 2D stills. What’s a bit more subtle than that regarding Dedf1sh’s origins and story is the fact that her name is Acht. A unique name for sure, one that means Eight in German. This was no doubt on purpose, drawing a neat parallel between Dedf1sh and Agent 8.