Fans of Nintendo's ink-based shooter were reportedly taken by surprise after a new image popped up social media earlier this week. Moreover, the caption led gamers to speculate that the developer could be teasing the plot of the next installment. An artwork shows "Splatoon" mainstays Callie, Marie, and Pearl from "Splatoon 2". People quickly noticed that Marina was missing and was even implied by the text. This development caused an immediate upsurge of "Splatoon 3 speculation, which likewise trended in internet search platforms.

The last game from the franchise launched in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch. The sequel is generally well-received among players and critics, with its being praised for its kid-friendly gameplay. Splatoon 2 added new weapons, an improved single-player campaign, and enhanced multiplayer features. The developers regularly release updates and already confirmed a new wave of enhancement in 2020. However, it seems consumers are ready for another sequel.

According to Newsweek, the posted artwork was captioned "The stars of 'Splatoon' and 'Splatoon 2' are staying fresh, even if it's frosty. But where's Marina." For those who are unfamiliar, she is an Octoling and the partner of Pearl. The latter two are a pop idol duo known among their fans as Off the Hook. Her absence in the Instagram post was apparently explained by another image that was shortly posted by Nintendo. Nevertheless "Splatoon 3" continues to be a trending topic until now.

Since the first artwork made it appear like Pearl was holding the camera and taking a group selfie, it came as a shock when the developers revealed it was Marina who took the photo. Even though the mystery was solved, fans are still convinced that developers might be hinting at a big announcement soon. This would most likely happen on a Nintendo Direct stream in 2020.

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Ah, there she is, selfless as always! Merry Squidmas from the #Splatoon2 team! ⛄

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So far, the only first-party exclusive coming to the Switch next year is "Animal Crossing: New Horizons." On the other hand, showcasing "Splatoon 3" in 2020 could drum up more publicity for the Switch. It looks like gamers will just have to wait and see if Nintendo will reveal more details or possibly a teaser soon.

Splatoon 2 Review
An Inkling in battle. Nintendo