How to import Splatoon 2 save data - Splatoon 3

In some cases, accessing your old Splatoon 2 save data for Splatoon 3 isn't as easy as it sounds.


Splatoon 3 is the newest entry in Nintendo's ink blasting series. It's entirely possible to jump into this game totally fresh and enjoy it for its multiplayer competitions. However, long-time Nintendo Switch owners may be wondering if they can get anything for sticking with the series up to this point. Specifically, is there anything they can get for playing Splatoon 2? The answer to that question is yes, but getting the game to recognize that file may not necessarily be easy. Shacknews is here to explain.

How to import your Splatoon 2 save file - Splatoon 3

Firing a blaster in Splatoon 3's Turf Wars multiplayer mode

Source: Nintendo

Splatoon 3 players must be at Level 10 in order to participate in the Anarchy Series multiplayer battles. Players can jump into some Turf Wars sessions to earn some experience, but it's also possible to skip the leveling up requirement by simply importing a Splatoon 2 save file that's at Level 10 or higher.

First and foremost, if you are using the same Nintendo Switch that you used to play Splatoon 2 to play the newer Splatoon 3, importing your save file from the previous game is simple. Make sure it's on your hard drive, boot up the newer game, and you're done. That's it. The game will detect your save file and you can simply go from there.

If you played Splatoon 2 on an older Switch model and have since upgraded to a Nintendo Switch Lite or a Nintendo Switch OLED, this process becomes a little more complicated. Splatoon 2 does not support cloud saves, so even if you're a Nintendo Switch Online member, you cannot take your Splatoon 2 save data into the cloud and then download it to your newer Switch. It's not that simple.

If you're in the latter camp, you'll have to boot up both of your Switch consoles: the one containing the older Splatoon 2 save file and the newer one that you intend to play Splatoon 3 on.

From there:

  1. Go to System Settings on both consoles.
  2. Scroll down to Data Management.
  3. Select the Transfer Your Save Data option.
  4. On the Switch with your Splatoon 2 file, select Send Data to Another Console. On the newer Switch, select Receive Save Data.
  5. Keep both Switches close to one another while the process is completed.
Message prompt to import existing Splatoon 2 save data into Splatoon 3
You should see this message when you boot up Splatoon 3 with a Splatoon 2 save file present.
Source: Shacknews

Your new Switch will now have the Splatoon 2 save file, which can then be detected when Splatoon 3 is booted. Follow the prompts and you'll not only be able to jump into Anarchy Battles, you'll get some Golden Tickets to purchase some items.

If you've played Splatoon 2 and followed our guide, your save file should now be ready to roll for Splatoon 3. We'll have more to say about Nintendo's latest multiplayer romp in the days ahead, so be sure to follow the Splatoon 3 topic page for any additional guides.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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