Splinter Cell's complexity hurting its popularity, says Raymond

Ubisoft Toronto head Jade Raymond says stealth-action franchise not at the level of Far Cry or Assassin's Creed due to its complexity.

The Splinter Cell franchise's complexity is hurting its popularity, according to Ubisoft Toronto head Jade Raymond. Speaking to Eurogamer, the designer explained that the Sam Fisher stealth series has not achieved Far Cry or Assassin's Creed numbers because of the way it challenges gamers.

"One of the things that held it back is despite all of the changes that have happened over the years, it's still one of the more complex and difficult games to play," Raymond said. "Even though we do have core fans who are like, 'Oh, I want to have more of this experience,' when you play any other game that has stealth elements, they're all a lot more forgiving than Splinter Cell."

Raymond explained that most contemporary stealth-oriented games do not require the player to plan out their routes of attack on the level that the Splinter Cell series does. In fact, she said many games today are quite the opposite.

"By default there aren't many games where that's the phase," Raymond said. "Most games you can walk in and you start shooting right away, or you just walk in and you improvise as you go along."

Overall, Raymond said Splinter Cell is really a "thinking game," and one that requires players to take their time and plan out how certain objectives should be approached. This is still appealing to gamers, she said, but it represents a different approach than most games.

"That's where you get the thrill, but it's a different way of playing than most games on the market these days," she said.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist-- which launches in August for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii U--is attempting to offer a "broader range of play." This includes the hardcore stealth experience for longtime fans, as well as action-focused elements that Raymond said she hopes will broaden the game's player base.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

453 comments
athrun07
athrun07

complex?? Nah. You just need proper timing and good decision skill to go through your objectives. That is what Splinter Cell IS. If people want to go gun blazing, just play COD. 

rossip001
rossip001

Sadly, I do agree with this it seems most folks like to jump in and start blowing things away then thinking / planning about the approach first. I've always liked the SC / Ghost Recon series because of the planning aspect since it seems to me more realistic. I agree that if SC - Blacklist  contains elements that also make it appealing to the itchy trigger finger folks then the game should do well.

glassjaw7
glassjaw7

This franchise has become too simple.

LazyyAmerican
LazyyAmerican

dumbest article I've seen on here yet....but there sadly is truth behind these comments as pathetic as that sounds.

elancion
elancion

never cared for splinter cell to begin with, but her statement upsets me.

blaze_boy30
blaze_boy30

Splinter Cell too complex? I thought they actually simplified SC with the release of Conviction.

ilovelctr
ilovelctr

This is ridiculously funny I'd say. If complexity is the case, just shut this brand down and go making more Assassin's Creed games, for the leading characters in that franchise are more appealing to those who are used to these "simpler" games.

maddog123
maddog123

Please keep making complex games. I like complex and difficult games. Games that make you think, that force you to plan. Games today are too easy. In my day, we had thinking mans games!!!! God I feel so old right now. I actually used the phrase "in my day".

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

Wasn't Splinter Cell Conviction this already dumbed down to a fully linear "kill 1 alone guy silently -> mark and execute 3 guys in the next room -> repeat" third person shooter with this exact, convenient level setup all the way through the campaign ?
What "complexity" is she talking about ?

I was only playing like 4 or 5 missions over at a friend's place, because I'd never buy it because of uPlay and UbiSoft DRM nonsense, but what I saw of it was majorly unimpressive when I compare it to the vastly better, older Splinter Cell titles.

I also highly doubt that this new soon to be released Splinter Cell Blacklist will bring any new fresh wind in, make it any more challenging or add actual replay value. (Mod tools, map editor, mission editor ? No ? Then get lost)

Hell, even Stealth Bastard Deluxe has more complexity and gameplay value than all recent Splinter Cell games combined.

botsio
botsio

yeah she sure is conviction was tough as hell!fail to plan ur next move and u pay dearly!but i loved that game for sure!looking forward to black list!

JGHELLION
JGHELLION

We have enough games out in the market for the short attention span run and gun crowd please dont take whats left of this franchise and dumb it down just to capture more of the market, save something for those of us who actually enjoy having to do a little thinking and planning.

Ajplacrosse
Ajplacrosse

Splinter cell has gone down hill since chaos theory. It had a great campaign and the best xbox live experience that I have played. Going to dumb it down more? Yep, another SC game I won't buy. Which is sad because chaos theory is my all time favorite game.

guard2182
guard2182

Its funny that games like these are rated m but they market them to 12 year old kids, i think splinter cell has already been dumbed down way too fucking much.

Chronologo
Chronologo

How do they pretend to "recapture" the feeling of the first games if they're already bitching about the complexity??. Who the hell put moronic ppl as head of an studio? Raymond is just a pretty face without brains, she thinks we all gamers are a bunch of drooling fat idiots. They just don't understand that this shit of dumbing down games are killing the industry, you can't have unique games, everything is reduced to overly easy mechanics and qte's, "hard modes" that are a joke, and bunch of multiplayer dlc and short SP campaigns

Itsleaking
Itsleaking

Dear god, the last thing we need is a game that requires people to think! When I sit down to play a stealth game I dont want to have to make decisions. I need the game to tell me exactly what to do and when to do it. I don't have time to be making all these decisions on my own.

Jasbro
Jasbro

Are people actually excited about Blacklist?, i've read a few comments saying how they're hoping is recaptures what Splinter Cell once was which i find really funny.

Since Micheal Ironside is no longer voicing Sam Fisher which is for me a big part of the game, and because of that i dont feel like this is a Splinter Cell game at all, but instead just some knockoff trying to copy a great franchise.

Jasbro
Jasbro

Im confused, so shes saying to succeed games have to copy what most other games do, instead of trying to make your game unique and stand out from the crowd she wants SC to blend in and become as generic as most of the other games.

And anyone who found any of the previous SC games complex in anyway should stay away from games with an actual plot in them in general.

OneSamTwoCups
OneSamTwoCups

Uh, I hate to be that guy, but Conviction was not "complex". You literally just marked people and the game would hold your hand for the rest of it. I liked Conviction but it is NOT complex whatsoever. I highly doubt Blacklist will even be different.

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

Splinter Cell used to be a thinking game. At least till Conviction came along, which while good, took it to the action route. Double Agent, conceptually, was really the pinnacle of the Splinter Cell series. Let's hope Blacklist really brings the super stealth back !!!

tightwad34
tightwad34

Oh, I get it. She's trying to create buzz because there has been very little about Splinter Cell as of late. I think the last one didn't sell well, but I am not positive. If I am wrong, hate all you want Splinter Cell fans.

tightwad34
tightwad34

I loves me some complexity in games. That is why RPGs are my favorites. I will defend us gamers and say they are talking about the general population who are dumb, not the majority of us. At least that's what I would like to think.

zamolxe
zamolxe

Call of Duty keeps it simple. Call of Duty sells great. Therefore EVERYTHING needs to be dumbed down. Who can argue with that?

corteztheg
corteztheg

splinter cell especially chaos theory was well balanced, it gave you everything you needed to be the perfect hunter in the shadows. all but fear in the enemy's eyes like batman.

Emon85
Emon85

I came in here to see if there was a picture of Jade Raymond. Alas, there isn't :-\

I do have to say that I have been somewhat disappointed at the direction the gameplay headed after SC: Double Agent. The latest installment, Conviction, was too easy and too far from its traditional stealth concept. BUT, I am definitely going to check out Blacklist.

eyeball2452
eyeball2452

AC2 was fun and kinda challenging.  It was the first AC I played.  AC:Brotherhood was mind numblingly easy.  Catering to the lowest common denominator is fine from a business standpoint, but I have no respect for those developers since I'd personally like something more challenging for $60.

I loved AC2 and haven't bought an Ubisoft game since.


I also like the original SC's back in the day.  The single player experiences more recently have been embarrassingly short and make it seem like the developers are just going through the motions when making the newer games.


Ubisoft isn't quite as bad as EA or Acticvision, but they're quickly closing in.  $$ > quality.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

I liked Conviction just fine but wish we had bigger maps, more routes/freedom, and the ability to move bodies. 

Also, bring back Michael Ironside or go eff yourselfs.

NTM23
NTM23

Why do I see this as "These games that make people think need to die because we need to make games easier and people need to become dumb." It's like, fuck money man, give me a game I'd be proud to play because of the challenge it may give me. All Call of Duty games from now on should have the same difficulty settings as they always have, but make easy as easy as Veteran; that'd be cool. I'm just thinking how this really seems like another step back for humanity. 

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

The fundamental problem is that game studios, at the end of the day are businesses, and a business is there to make money, unfortunately mindless games like COD have set the standard for successful sales. Now every money-hungry pig publisher wants to transform every game into a run and gun spuzz fest to chase that COD dollar, so we lose awesome games like Splinter Cell because mindless morons and adolescent kids have contributed to high sales in games with no substance, which dictates the market trend. Splinter Cell could be as awesome as it used to be and make more money than if they implement a watered down COD element to it, but these greedy idiots are too stupid and just think they can make the next MW beater, which ends up falling flat. So every game is now infected with some degree of COD and they wonder why sales suck.

fullxtent
fullxtent

As a gamer, I am insulted. She is basically saying that gamers are dumb, and that only dumbed down, linear games sell...

Loshead
Loshead

You guys Ruined your franchise with double agent and conviction. I loved the first 3 splinter cells (Chaos Theory is my favorite). Pandora Tomorrow had an epic multiplayer, but you guys tried to fix it when it wasn't broken and made it worse.  Those games were challenging and unforgiving, but I still loved them. Most developers feel they got to dumb down there game to make it more accessible  forgetting what made there game popular in the first place. 

dragonkantus
dragonkantus

you know this make me think the complexity hurt game sales why? we are some kind of dumbass that just pick easy games?

ryancyc
ryancyc

@OneSamTwoCups Agreed, Conviction was just terrible to me because of that, it's one of the worst game mechanics I've ever seen put in a video game this gen. I'd like the methodical stealth gameplay of the past games back. I saw some stealth in Blacklist in a recent video, at least it seems better than Conviction, although I can't say for sure...I'll be giving it a rental.

BigCat2K20
BigCat2K20

@KrazzyDJ True. I don't understand how can gamers can say that SC Double Agent was the worst game in the series. Chaos Theory, Pandora Tomorrow & Double Agent are my favorite Splinter Cell games in the series. Shoot, I'll take D.A. over Conviction anyday of the week. Conviction (more third person shooter than stealth action) was & still the worst game of the series.

res123123
res123123

@KrazzyDJ 

Double Agent on the 360 was four missions walking around a HQ and a prison mission. There where only 8 missions. Which left 4 and 3 of them where daylight missions. Seriously Double Agent was not Splinter Cell at it best.

At least the X box version which was a completly different game than the 360s Double Agent fell in line with Chaos Theory gameplay. Cannot believe how many people missed out on the true Double Agent game. 

NTM23
NTM23

@KrazzyDJ No, in no way (conceptually or otherwise) was Double Agent the pinnacle of the series; I'd say it was the worst. I love the first three, but I like Conviction just as much even though it is different. It's kind of like how I love the old Star Trek's, and the new one alike, though they are different.

Grayborders
Grayborders

@XNEXUS666X This a million times! Every single person who shells out money for cod games are to blame, and that includes all the haters who still buy the cod games... Hell even silly SquareEnix was expecting cod like sales from Tomb Raider and tried to pin their losses on it...


If you buy a cod game you help turning games into empty shells of their former selfs.

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

@NTM23

You know I never understand why people say Double Agent was the beginning of the end for this series. To me it seems to be Chaos Theory 2 so what's so bad about it? And please don't sight the morality meter I need more than that.

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

@NTM23 @KrazzyDJ I don't agree . Even conviction was decent game but it was worst in the series . Original plot of the game was much better which they teased in 2007 . Story was mediocre action movie . Chaos Theory is best in the series while Double Agent is 2nd best , it was fast paced but also had variety in levels , gadgets and gameplay . Graphics are still top notch .

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

@res123123

I knew about the last gen version. My friend was so eager to get his hands on Double Agent that he went for that one first and then the current gen one and yeah I have to admit I did like the story and levels much more in that one but...again eh I don't know nothing really seemed all that different to me in the 360 version from Chaos Theory. I won’t lie though if I was given the choice between the current gen version and last gen version (oh how I wish it was compatible with 360) well I think it’s obvious which one I could go for.

But in terms of core mechanics and whatnot...it certainly did no wrong when compared to the latest two.

res123123
res123123

@Deadly_Nemesis @NTM23 

The 360 version was a very poor Double Agent.  The camera angle was to close to Sam, to many HQ missions doing nothing, and an overall lack of great level design. The team that worked on Chaos Theory only worked on the Oringal xbox version of Double Agent not the next gen. The xbox version had 10 diffrent missions and the gameplay was a alot more fluid in every way. 

There are two Double Agent games out there. So many people still don't know that which is a shame.    

Minasodrom
Minasodrom

chaos theory was the best, double agent was so so, with obvious improvements to the first 3 id lacked the certain atmosphere the otherones had. conviction is a different game though. cant really compare it.