Splatoon gets a Zapper, new map, and Ranked Battles tonight

As the first pieces of free Splatoon DLC start rolling out, it's clear that the Splattening has only just begun. Nintendo announced in a surprise Nintendo Direct that it will add a new weapon, map, and ranked battles to its ink-flinging online shooter within the next 12 hours.

The new weapon will be instantly familiar to Duck Hunters: the N-Zap 85, which is seriously a Nintendo Zapper with the cord cut off (also modified to shoot ink instead of imaginary lasers). It's a high-speed, short-range weapon with superior ink efficiency and relatively low power, and it comes with Splat Bombs and an Echolocator. Sounds like it should suit Splattershot Jr. and Aerospray enthusiasts who want to try a new sub weapon / special weapon combo.

Even better, the N-Zap 85 looks like it should be pretty useful on Splatoon's new map, Port Mackerel: it's a shipyard with plenty of tight alleys and blind corners, and savvy hunters will take advantage of the moving vehicles to regroup and ambush the competition. Splatoon will receive several more free maps and weapons throughout the summer.

If you played over the weekend, you might have noticed a locked-off option for Ranked Battles. Nintendo was waiting for “enough” players to reach level 10 to open them up, and apparently it didn't take long. You can start battling to advance your standing in all-new maps and modes (and try out the other new stuff) tonight/tomorrow at 7 pm PDT / 3 am BST.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.