Splatoon 3’s chaotic world is what makes it shine

Splatoon 3 takes place in a post-post-apocalyptic world. Humanity as we know it has been swept away by rising tides and its own ambition. (Technically, the game doesn’t say this outright, but it insinuates that humanity has been wiped out by climate change.) Thousands of years later, ocean creatures dominate the globe. Splatoon 3 asks the question: what would remain of a place devastated by climate catastrophe and the decay of human order? Here, he gives us an unusual answer: chaos and a lot of fun.

Anarchy leads the world Splatoon 3. When we launch the game, we are greeted by the sounds of “Anarchy Splatcast”, hosted by the institution-defying trio Deep Cut, which has a more edgy vibe than the pop princesses from previous titles. The game’s main hub avoids any sort of order, offering a busy visual scene imbued with bodegas, weird jelly-like creatures, neon signs, and the occasional pile of trash sitting on the street. When we explore the wider world in the single player campaign, we find the abandoned ruins of once tidy industries. Replicas of historic charm, such as Moai statues, lay alongside deceased machinery. Matches also seem to defy any kind of logic or order. Sure, the contestants are organized by a ladder system, but Splatoon is a game where chaotic and unpredictable fighters can thrive and the tide of battle can change at any moment.

Deep Cut, the idols of Splatoon 3, perform for a Splatfest in Splatoon 3

Image: Nintendo

You may not know this, but this chaotic world was actually chosen by the players. At the end of Splatoon 2, the developers hosted one of their regular online Splatfest competitions where players chose between two choices: Chaos or Order. Most Splatfests only provide in-game rewards for the winning team, but this particular event was different. When the Chaos team finally won, the developers announced that this would be the concept behind the next game.

Personally, I can’t imagine a world where Team Order has won. Maybe it’s because I feel like a world that embraces chaos fits the fandom I see in Splatoon. In Splatoon 3, chaos is not a source of anxiety or decay; it’s liberating. It might just be the circles I come across, but I see the Splatoon community as one that is, for lack of better words, extra gay. In addition to seeing fans supporting queer character ships, I often see Pride posts in Splatsville. My TikTok is full of fans modifying characters like Shiver and Frye with borders in the colors of the Pride flag that match speculations about these characters’ sexuality and identity. For a community of players that may often not fit the orderly rails or heteronormative expectations of society, entering a world that embraces joyful chaos is an ongoing pleasure.

An image of two characters feeling emotional in Splatoon 3. One is dabbing.

Image: Nintendo

As a person looking forward to the increasingly intrusive precipice of climate disaster, Splatoon 3 offers surprising comfort. While it is a far cry from the slender, chrome-plated technological utopias often imagined in science fiction, it has its own beauty. Sure, the apocalypse has struck, and the workers are still exploited, but we can also dance. It’s a world of city streets decorated with messy layers of neon lights, paper lanterns, and graffiti. It’s a sweet and somewhat bitter reminder that even if we don’t get over the apocalypse, some other life form will come and that a new life can always find its joys.

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