Today’s Splatoon 2 Nintendo Direct revealed plans to release a pre-launch Splatfest multiplayer demo. Splatoon 2‘s first Splatfest will be a free download, available later today, and will run on July 15 from 3:00pm to 7:00pm PT.

As with past Splatfests, Splatoon 2‘s first Splatfest has a theme, either: “Cake is better than ice cream!” or “Ice cream is better than cake!” In previous Splatfests, players would be required to pick a side before being allowed to play and were practically forced to participate. That’s because the game would lock off all Ranked and Casual play for the duration of the 24-hour event.

It’s unclear if players will be able to hop into the Splatoon 2 demo prior to the event to choose a side, but there should be more info on that a little closer to the 15th. Hopefully the free in-game t-shirts return, too.

With the debut of Splatoon 2‘s Splatfests, fans will also have to say goodbye. The original Splatoon‘s two idols, Squid Sisters Callie and Marie, will no longer be hosting the events. Instead, Splatoon 2 will feature two new idols who made their introductions in today’s Nintendo Direct: Pearl and Marina, a rapper and a singer respectively. Pearl will be fronting the Cake side of Splatoon 2‘s pre-launch Splatfest, while Marina represents Ice Cream. Though for some, supporting one’s favorite idol is the only priority.

July 15’s Splatfest should appease the fans who were hoping that Nintendo might announce another Splatoon 2 Global Testfire event prior to launch. While a duration of just four hours is going to make it difficult to get a great feel for the game, if the servers hold it should still be great fun. Hosting the event on a Saturday will even make it easier for western audiences to participate. Since Splatoon Turf War matches last just a a handful minutes, 4 hours allows for a lot of games. Hopefully matchmaking is just as fast.

Splatoon 2 is scheduled to launch exclusively on the Nintendo Switch starting July 21. Splatoon 2‘s first Splatfest is free to try and runs from 3:00pm – 7:00pm PT on July 15. The Splatfest demo should be available for download later today.

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