New Splinter Cell remake details on series' 20th birthday

2022-11-18  News and opinion

Fans on the Splinter Cell subreddit were speculating recently about what Ubisoft might do for the series’ 20th anniversary. While the upcoming remake stoked some excitement, the publisher has been so neglectful of Sam Fisher and his pals in recent years that many expected nothing at all this week.

But it turns out we did get something! The video uploaded to the Ubisoft YouTube account was as full of marketing fluff as you might expect, but it did include some interesting bits and pieces - including a look back at the series’ history and a very brief discussion of the upcoming game.

Learning from the past

The first part of the video focused on the past, and chiefly on the original Splinter Cell, which was released in 2002. While there was some nostalgia to be enjoyed, watching a bunch of Ubisoft staffers sitting around a table and talking about their experiences as players wasn’t particularly interesting, and we didn’t get any worthwhile insight into the game’s development.

As well as the usual discussion of the series’ technical innovations (lighting, flowing drapes, fish tanks, and so on) there was a somewhat interesting discussion of Sam Fisher’s character, in which they pointed out how he was more human the usual video game lead character, speaking to enemies, defying orders to save people uninvolved in the mission, and so on.

While this wasn’t groundbreaking stuff, it was nice to see that the people working on the remake appreciate this side of Sam’s character, as well as the slower, stealthier gameplay that made the first few titles what they were. Also interesting was that at one point they mentioned they had read the open letter fans wrote to Ubisoft pleading for a return to the series’ roots.

News on the future

This brings us on nicely to the second half of the video, which was definitely the highlight, because this was the part where we were drip fed a few more precious details about the upcoming Splinter Cell remake.

  • There will be more variance in the game’s AI - for example, standard security guards will respond to threats less adeptly than elite mercenaries, who will “behave like trained professionals”
  • Audio occlusion will form a part of the stealth, with sounds bouncing off of and being absorbed by different surfaces depending on material
  • There was some vague talk about a desire to make Sam’s movements more “immersive” as the player moves through the levels
  • The team were very clear that stealth is the priority, and they are working to ensure that zero-kill mission completion is possible
  • The “harsh” three-strikes-and-you’re-out alarms from the early games will be scaled back, giving the player a chance to de-escalate
  • Regarding the story, there was more allusion to changing “things that haven’t aged particularly well”, without any specifics

So along with the initial details there’s plenty to think about, even if concrete details are still thin on the ground. Unfortunately, the team ended the video with a warning that they would be “going dark for a while” to focus on development, so it’s anyone’s guess when we’ll get more information.

If you need something to keep you occupied in the meantime, head over to the Ubisoft Store, where the original Splinter Cell is free until 30th November.

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