Nintendo Bans Splatoon 3 Cheaters Before The Game Is Even Out

An Inkling in Splatoon 3 summons an item, but that item's been replaced with a Super Smash Bros.  hammer.

Nintendo summoning the almighty ban hammer.
screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

Splatoon 3 fans were treated to a nice surprise this past weekend when Nintendo staged a special Splatfest event before the game’s official release. This gave folks a chance to download and play a demo of the colorful shooter ahead of its September 9 release date. However, players bold enough to “fuck around and find out” certainly found out, as it appears that Nintendo’s anti-cheat system has now begun banning the Switch consoles of Splatfest players who tried to get ahead by modifying the game.

According to noted Nintendo Switch dataminer OatmealDome, the game’s anti-cheat system was indeed active over the weekend. Tea Splatoon 3: Splatfest World Premier, which ran from August 27-28, offered three teams to choose from—Rock, Paper, or Scissors—as well as an assortment of gear and weapons to experiment with. You’d think this would be enough to tide people over while we all collectively wait for the game’s official launch in a couple of weeks. But some still stepped out of bounds by downloading and using a user-made patch that skipped the tutorial and granted early access to Splatoon 3‘s testing range, the game’s practice lobby of spells. The patch worked, but players who used it soon started finding their Switches getting banned.

It’s unclear if these bans constitute a total ban from the Nintendo Switch Online service—OatmealDome now suggests that the ban may only prevent affected players from playing more Splatoon 3 on their console—but it certainly doesn’t seem like something you’d want to test.

“When I saw reports on Twitter about people getting banned because of that one patch, I was completely unsurprised,” OatmealDome told Kotaku over Twitter DMs. “Patching the game’s code would [also] get you banned on Splatoon 2.

“Nintendo is taking seriously cheating this time around,” they said. “[whereas] Splatoon and [Splatoon] 2 were both completely unprotected when they launched.”

However, they note that “a bunch of high-profile incidents” that affected Splatoon 2 caused Nintendo to get more serious. “This led to Splatoon 2 getting a pretty decent anti-cheat solution implemented, and it seems to be rather effective thus far,” they said. “Nintendo wants to continue that into Splatoon 3.”

Kotaku has reached out to Nintendo for comment.

We’ve learned a lot about Splatoon 3 thanks to the 30-minute Direct Nintendo held on August 10. Alongside the return of fan-favorite stages like Hammerhead Bridge, the colorful shooter will let you barrel roll out of the ink, still refuses proper in-game voice chat, and features a ton of new guns I’m pretty stoked for this game. Splatoon 3 Nintendo Switch hits exclusively on September 9.

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