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Will the Splatoon 3 DLC be free?

No, unfortunately the Splatoon 3 Expansion Pass and its associated DLC will not be available for free. The paid DLC waves, gear, and extras will only be accessible if you purchase the $24.99 expansion pass.

As an avid gamer and streaming enthusiast, I‘ve done deep research into the details of the upcoming Splatoon 3 content. In this guide, I‘ll give you an in-depth look at exactly what the DLC includes, whether it‘s worth buying, and how it compares to past Splatoon addon packs.

What‘s in the Expansion Pass?

The Expansion Pass contains two waves of DLC called Inkopolis and Side Order, plus bonus in-game items. Let‘s break down what each section offers:


This first wave brings back popular stages and gear from the original Splatoon game, including:

  • Stages: Mahi-Mahi Resort, Museum d‘Alfonsino, Ancho-V Games
  • Over 100 pieces of gear for character customization
  • Ability to meet the Squid Sisters, Callie and Marie, in Inkopolis Plaza
  • Inkopolis will drop on February 28, 2023. Based on my experience with Splatoon and Splatoon 2, this first wave looks incredibly promising. Getting the chance to revisit some of my favorite stages from the first game with new weapons and gear is huge.

    Side Order

    The second DLC wave, called Side Order, is more mysterious. Here‘s what we know so far:

  • New stage locations
  • New story content and characters, including the reveal of Big Man‘s origins
  • More gear and character items
  • Side Order doesn‘t have a release date yet, but it‘s likely coming in late 2023. As a story buff, I‘m particularly excited to learn more about the colorful characters of Splatsville through new narrative content.

    Bonus Items

    Purchasing the Expansion Pass right away also nets you in-game extras:

  • 3 Splatoon 3 Banners
  • Stickers and clothing items
  • Blueprints for Sheldon’s Picks Weapons
  • These types of bonuses are great for longtime fans who want to stand out. The blueprints in particular will give Pass owners access to new main weapons before other players.

    How does it compare to past DLC?

    As a veteran of the Inkling wars since the original Splatoon, I‘m very familiar with Nintendo‘s past strategy for DLC content. Here‘s how the Splatoon 3 Expansion Pass stacks up:

    Splatoon 1

    Nintendo released several free content updates for Splatoon 1 adding:

  • 5 new stages
  • Over 50 new weapons
  • New gear and extras
  • Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion

    This paid DLC added:

  • Over 80 single player challenges
  • New story centered around Agent 8
  • Playable Octolings in multiplayer
  • Launched at $19.99
  • The Octo Expansion is considered some of the best DLC ever thanks to the huge amount of quality solo content.

    Splatoon 3: Expansion Pass

    The Splatoon 3 DLC costs a bit more at $24.99 but offers:

  • Multiple new multiplayer stages
  • New solo story content
  • Hundreds of new cosmetic items
  • Bonus weapons and gear
  • Compared to previous entries, it seems like a solid value packed with stuff to do. Of course, the Side Order content remains a mystery, so time will tell if it lives up to the Octo Expansion‘s pedigree.

    Should You Buy the Expansion Pass?

    Based on the details revealed so far, I think the Splatoon 3 Expansion Pass is well worth the $24.99 price for dedicated fans of the series.

    Here are 3 key reasons why I‘ll be buying it:

    1. Inkopolis brings back some of the best parts of Splatoon 1 – As someone who put hundreds of hours into the original game, I‘m so excited to play iconic stages like Mahi-Mahi Resort again with new weapons and gear.
    2. The new story content looks intriguing – I can‘t wait to learn more about characters like Big Man through additional single player levels. If it‘s anything like Octo Expansion, it should be fantastic.
    3. Hundreds of new cosmetic items and weapons – Having more ways to customize your character and playstyle is always welcome. And cosmetics like banners let you show off your dedication.

    However, if you‘re new to the series, you may want to wait and see what Side Order entails before buying. And the free content updates will still add plenty of new gear and stages too.

    At the end of the day, I think purchasing the Pass demonstrates faith in Nintendo continuing to expand the Splatoon universe in fun ways. And as a diehard fan since day one, I‘m happy to support that!

    Let me know if you have any other questions about theSplatoon 3 Expansion Pass! I‘m more than happy to share my thoughts on this upcoming extra content. Stay fresh!