Splatoon 2 will be getting an open beta that will take place in late March on the Nintendo Switch, a few months ahead of the game’s scheduled launch in the summer.

The original Splatoon was one of the highlights of the Wii U, and Nintendo is hoping that its successor will continue to make paint-filled waves for the upcoming Nintendo Switch. While Splatoon 2 won’t be arriving on the Switch until summer 2017, fans interested in trying out the title can now do so during the console’s launch month, as Nintendo has just revealed that an open beta for the game will take place at the end of the month. Both kids and squids can try some of the new game mechanics for free, though they’ll have only 6 non-continuous hours to do it.

Somewhat confusingly, the three day open beta weekend is split into six hour-long sessions of gameplay which will take place at scheduled times, so gamers will have to hope they’re free during the designated slots. These times are as follows:

  • March 24: 12-12:59 p.m. PT and 8-8:59 p.m. PT
  • March 25: 4-4:59 a.m. PT, 12-12:59 p.m. PT, and 8-8:59 p.m. PT
  • March 26: 4-4:59 a.m. PT

The event is called the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire, and it’s a step in a new direction for Nintendo, who previously hasn’t shown much support to things like open betas for its console fans. The Big N is still figuring out the finer intricacies of its Nintendo Online platform, which itself is slated to arrive a few months after Splatoon 2 in the fall of 2017 – so in a way, gamers will also be giving Nintendo Online’s servers a thorough beta testing as well.

Splatoon Fight

Splatoon 2 producer Hisashi Nogami also revealed some new features for the upcoming squid-shooter this week, announcing an all-new spectator mode that will allow users to follow the action from a unique aerial perspective as the paint battle-lines are drawn. Entitled Private Battle Spectator View, this mode will allow up to 2 players to view a private battle, which can tie in well to the LAN mode that was also announced. Should competitive gamers want some local action, up to 10 docked Switch units can be networked together to form a 4 vs 4 battle with up to 2 spectators. Squid e-sports, anyone?

Here’s what Nogami had to say about the upcoming beta:

Two years have passed in this universe since the original Splatoon, and since then, the weapons, maps and characters have evolved. Through the Splatoon 2 Global Testfire event this March, players will be able to get a taste of that. There will be more new features to experience in Splatoon 2, so please look forward to more reveals in the future.

The game has is already being highlighted by Nintendo as one of its biggest upcoming titles, so those who plan on purchasing a Nintendo Switch this March really ought to give it a test drive. So far, Nintendo hasn’t announced when the game will be available for pre-load ahead of the open beta.

Splatoon 2 is currently slated for a summer 2017 release exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

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