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The last twelve hours or so have been rather stressful for Splatoon fans, with excitement, nerves, and confusion all coming their way thanks to the belief that maybe - just maybe - Nintendo had teased a 'Splatoon 3'.

As it happens, that's not the case at all, but with the phrase 'Splatoon3' trending online and with plenty of Inklings and Octolings out there getting a little too excited for their own good, we wouldn't have blamed you for believing it, too. So what happened?

Well, around twelve hours ago from the time of writing, Nintendo of America posted this image to Instagram. It shows Callie and Marie of the original Splatoon alongside Pearl from Splatoon 2, but Marina is missing. Nintendo even made a point of saying 'But where’s Marina?' in the caption.

Shock. Panic. Utter confusion.

Some fans thought she might have been kidnapped, teasing a story set to take place in an upcoming, as yet unannounced Splatoon 3, and the excitement spread like wildfire. Strangely, the comments on that post reveal that an alarming number of people even thought she might have been killed off altogether.

As it happens, she's still alive - thank goodness - but there's no Splatoon 3 (yet). It turns out she was just taking the photo, as revealed by this second image posted by the same account eleven hours later. Either Nintendo deliberately left fans hanging for a while, or someone had to quickly scramble a new image together to make sure everyone could see that she had not, in fact, been brutally murdered.

We're as excited for an eventual Splatoon 3 as the next person, but we'd argue that it's probably for the best we're not getting another game so soon. We're sure it'll happen when the time is right.

[via kotaku.com]