Ubisoft unveiled a lot of content at E3 this past year during its E3 stage conference. We saw some new IP, new sequels, and familiar faces return. What we didn't get any info on was Splinter Cell. The series has been dormant since 2013. Well, Ubisoft finally broke the silence and has teased the future of Splinter Cell. It would seem that there is one.
In an Ask Me Anything, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot explained in a Reddit thread...
The answer was in response to a user who asked if there was any word on a Splinter Cell game and if there were any news that could be expected on that front.
Guillemot was coy in divulging details and instead decided to keep it simple and focus on the fact that the teams are discussing the series and are working on different ideas.
The last game in the series wasn't quite as well received by fans because Ubisoft had replaced Michael Ironside with a younger actor. Gamers had grown accustomed to Ironside's dry humor and stern presence through the digital avatar of Sam Fisher.
In Splinter Cell: Blacklist there was a younger actor hired to voice and provide performance capture for Sam, and it didn't quite go over so well. Additionally, Ironside wasn't entirely happy with the direction that Ubisoft seemed to be going in with the franchise.
Things actually began breaking down with Splinter Cell: Conviction, which was quite the deviation from the previous games. While it was more personal and story-oriented than all of the other entries in the series, Conviction was also a lot more over-the-top and closer to the likes of an action movie as opposed to the political thriller roots from whence it came.
The series sort of walked a fine line between being highly praised for the cooperative missions and being ridiculed for either being too action-packed or not action-packed enough. The thing is, Splinter Cell was always a tough sell to mainstream audiences. It wasn't like Uncharted or Gears of War with lots of non-stop shooting, and it lacked the platforming puzzles from Tomb Raider. It was most certainly designed for an older, more patient audience.
The fanbase that the series accumulated over the years was put on the back burner for the more action-oriented Splinter Cell: Conviction and the retcon Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Unless Ubisoft plans to do a total reboot, where the story was last left was sort of in a mess.
On the upside, given the volatile nature of today's international political climate, there's a wealth of stories to draw from that could give Sam or a brand new protagonist a lot of leeway in exploring the fine line and moral ambiguities associated with political espionage.
Of course, we'll have to sit tight and wait for Ubisoft to actually make an official announcement before getting too hard ahead of ourselves.