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.