In a financial report last March, Ubisoft revealed that the Splinter Cell series was coming to the PSP. Nine months later, it let slip that the stealth action series' debut on Sony's portable would be titled Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Essentials. Finally, last week it confirmed rumors that the game would have a "prequel aspect."
However, it wasn't until today that the publisher officially announced Essentials, revealing a bevy of details. The publisher said the game will feature new content by virtue of being both a sequel to Splinter Cell Double Agent and a prequel to the entire series. "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Essentials starts where Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent ends," the company said in a statement, "and takes players to the years before Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell when Sam was still a Navy SEAL."
But although Ubisoft is pushing the fact that Essentials will sport "unique gameplay sequences designed specifically for the on-the-go nature of handheld gaming," it did admit the game will feature recycled levels. "Discover the untold story of Sam Fisher through flashbacks to various missions from the entire Splinter Cell franchise, including Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Double Agent," said Ubisoft.
As far as gameplay details are concerned, Essentials will (obviously) center on the stealth elements that made the Splinter Cell series famous. The game will feature all the weapons and items from Sam Fisher's previous arsenals, along with some all-new items. It will also feature the spy-versus-spy multiplayer mode introduced in Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow, which will (naturally) be playable via the PSP's Wi-Fi capabilities.
Last but certainly not least, Ubisoft reconfirmed that the game is due in spring 2006, meaning it will ship in a matter of months. Currently, online retailers and rental outlets are listing it with a tentative late- or mid-March date.