Beloved stealth franchise Splinter Cell is set to finally return after years of lying dormant. Here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming instalment, from its release date to story leaks and gameplay.
Splinter Cell debuted back in 2002 for the original Xbox before being ported to the PC, PlayStation 2, and Gamecube. Offering a more realistic take on stealth than Metal Gear, players were impressed by Ubisoft’s immeasurable attention to detail and ability to craft tense scenarios while pushing the boundaries of the hardware of the time.
Six mainline games followed, and the series grew into a fan favorite across multiple console generations. With no signs of life from the franchise since 2013’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the new installment, has been confirmed to be in the early stages of development.
Here’s everything we know so far about the next game in the iconic stealth series.
While there isn’t any word of an official announcement on the cards, we could expect to see the next Splinter Cell game released by at least 2023 now that it’s reportedly entered the initial stages of development.
The game is being developed by Ubisoft Toronto and is being built on the Snowdrop Engine, similar to Ubisoft’s The Division.
In an interview with the developers, Ubisoft Toronto’s Matt West confirmed that the linear-style gameplay of the classic games will return in this new take on the franchise: “As we’re building it from the ground up, we’re going to update it visually, as well as some of the design elements to match player comfort and expectations, and we are going to keep it linear like the original games, not make it open world”
He later emphasized the importance of keeping Splinter Cell a contained experience, as opposed to following suit with the Ghost Recon’s decision to go open-world.
“Every square inch is part of a choice, or directly offers a choice, or has a direct ramification. That density of gameplay is at the forefront in Splinter Cell and that’s going to be really, really important for us. The gameplay experience we are targeting is directly tied to what we want players to feel, to capture the essence back when we were all playing the original games.”
Sam Fisher has appeared in numerous Ubisoft titles over the years, such as the Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six franchises.
Sporting an older aesthetic in Ghost Recon, the character is said to be the last of his kind since operatives like him started to disappear (complete with a reference to Metal Gear’s iconic Solid Snake). However, in Rainbow Six Siege, Fisher is shown with a more Punisher-inspired design as Zero.
While Fisher is likely to be the protagonist of the new series, the devs have only hinted towards that so far.
In that same interview, Matt West talked about how the phrase “respect the goggles” has been something of an anchor for the dev team so far and name-dropped the iconic character when doing so: “I love the goggles as a symbol for Sam. We are making a game that is going to be modern but built on the foundation of the brand’s rich history.”
A brand new job listing for Ubisoft Toronto breaks down the plot and direction of the game in more detail than ever before. One of the producer’s for the project, Matt West, has said the remake will have an updated story and that the team will be “building it from the ground up.”
West then went on to say “we’re going to be straddling the line between the spirit of the old and the comfort of the new, so that we can excite and surprise new players but also make sure that when our returning players pick up the controller, they have that sigh of relief, saying ‘ah, they got it.'”
However, he did make a point of noting despite these changes “the spirit of the early games remains intact.“
The 2002 version saw Fisher join the NSA Black Ops team Third Echelon as they investigated the connection between two missing CIA Officers and fictional Georgian president Kombayn Nikoladze, who took power in the country via a carefully planned coup d’état sometime after the assassination of its previous leader.
We’ll be staying up to date with any Splinter Cell news in the future, so be sure to keep checking in with us as more news develops.