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Feature Article

E3 2018: Splinter Cell -- What We Know And Want

We're still waiting for confirmation that a new Splinter Cell is coming, but here's what we hope to see if Ubisoft does make it official.

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The Splinter Cell series has been dormant for quite some time now. Ubisoft has done little with its signature stealth-action game franchise for half a decade, but there have been enough shreds of potential information to think a new Splinter Cell game might finally be happening. With Metal Gear Solid in a weird place after Hideo Kojima's departure from Konami, the time is certainly right. Here's what we know about the status of Splinter Cell, as well as what we'd hope to see at E3 2018 if Ubisoft does decide to surprise us.

What We Know So Far

Being unannounced, we can't say we know anything for sure about a new Splinter Cell game. The franchise's most recent entry was 2013's Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and there's been no official word on what might come next. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot did provide fans with some hope last year when he participated in a Reddit AMA. Asked about the series, he said, "Splinter Cell is a brand we talk about a lot. It's also personally one of my favorite series. We don't have anything specific to share at the moment but teams are working on different things, so stay tuned for more."

He then shared a bit more in a subsequent Ubisoft blog post that made it even clearer that a new Splinter Cell is more a question of when than if. "We are receiving lots of sketches and proposals around the brand, and we're going to pick one up," he said. "I think you will be able to see something, but you will have to wait for that."

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Most recently, there was Ghost Recon Wildlands. Out of the blue, Ubisoft launched a Splinter Cell-themed update for the open-world action game, even including a mission where you encounter Splinter Cell protagonist Sam Fisher. Notably, he was voiced by Michael Ironside, the longtime Fisher voice actor who was replaced for Blacklist. It seemed a bit odd to bring back Ironside for what was ultimately a minor appearance, unless that was meant to tease what's to come. Indeed, the conclusion of his story in Wildlands sets up the possible plot for a new Splinter Cell, as Fisher is notified that a nuclear weapon has been lost or stolen.

What's Confirmed For E3?

As noted above, a new Splinter Cell hasn't even been announced; as such, there's nothing confirmed for E3. That said, a recent Walmart leak saw numerous unannounced games listed on the retailer's Canadian website, including something simply called "Splinter Cell." Another of these was Rage 2, and Bethesda has seemingly tried to capitalize on the buzz rather than deny it as you'd expect. That's not to say there's any truth to that listing or any other, but it's possible the Splinter Cell listing was something that was only intended to go up after E3.

What We Hope To See At E3

Mere confirmation that a new Splinter Cell game is in development would be a great way to cap off Ubisoft's E3 press conference, but let's think bigger. If Ubisoft properly reveals the game, the first thing we'd love to see is a renewed focus on stealth. Blacklist is a terrific game, and its action was very good. But with Metal Gear at least temporarily moving away from stealth, Ubisoft has an opportunity to fill that void and establish Splinter Cell as the preeminent stealth-action franchise. It could even look to draw on the open-world elements of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, even if it maintains its more distinct mission structure (maybe something along the lines of Dishonored?).

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015)

However missions are structured, the game will ideally provide replayability. Hitman did an incredible job of offering numerous different approaches and different challenges to tackle within each of its levels. Splinter Cell could use something similar, as well as different consequences depending on how you decide to approach a given situation.

Michael Ironside's return is also all but mandatory. It was hard for many fans to come to grips with his absence in Blacklist, but after he came back for an appearance in Wildlands, it would be both frustrating and disappointing if he weren't back as Fisher for an actual game. It's the sort of detail that Ubisoft could have decided to share for a post-E3 reveal, but after Wildlands, we want to know right away if Ironside is truly back.

Another name fans are familiar with that should make a comeback: Amon Tobin. The composer of the excellent Chaos Theory soundtrack brought a distinct techno-thriller flavor to that game that we want back.

And while single-player is generally the focus of Splinter Cell, we want multiplayer to return as well. That means both co-op support and the return of Spies vs. Mercs, the unique, asymmetric PvP multiplayer mode. Ubisoft has increasingly shifted its efforts toward extended post-launch support of games; part of that could come in the form of a Hitman-inspired, replay-friendly campaign. But it could also use its learnings from Rainbow Six Siege--with its varied Operators and gadgets, as well as destructible environments--to make something truly exciting on the multiplayer side.

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mrblondex

Chris Pereira

Chris Pereira is GameSpot's engagement editor. He likes Twin Peaks, The X-Files (before it was bad), and serial commas.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Blacklist

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Master_Live

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Chaos Theory, that was peak Splinter Cell.

Lets try to take a cue.

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khatibi22

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Super good news!

Where are you Sam?

We miss you.

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ohjtbehaaave

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Edited By ohjtbehaaave

Yeah definitely time for them to take a break on AC and do a Splinter Cell game now. But please don't do what MGS5 did and basically sacrifice the single player game by adding some bizarre MP stuff. SC games of the past have had decent MP so it should be ok hopefully if they don't do anything crazy.

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watercrack445

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Hmm... Splinter Cell might come out since Rage 2 was confirmed and it was part of the leak. Also, Assassin Creed, an ubisoft game, was part of the leak too but there is another leak going on that the new Assassin creed game will come out in fall 2019. The guy who leaked this is supposedly the same guy who leaked the previous assassin creed game and has some credibility. With assassin creed out of the picture, splinter cell is mostly likely outcome at this point. The Walmart leak so far hasn't disappointed or failed anyone yet. So, I assume those two games will be shown at E3 this year.

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GunnyNinja

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Edited By GunnyNinja

If the Sam Fisher that showed up in Wildlands is coming back, who would want him? That guy just wants to take a nap...

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Sgt-Damain

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What "WE" want? Who is "we"? Why can't you say what I want, since this is your personal opinion?

I couldn't give a damn about multiplayer or co-op, or Operators and gadgets...

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ECH71

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Ironside. That's what I expect from the game. SC didn't feel the same in Blacklist without the original VA.

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khatibi22

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@ECH71:

I am totally with you pal.

Sam = Ironside

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Forester057

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I haven’t played a good ubi game in years. Open world formula games are just there to waste time. Splinter cell is one I really enjoy. They pretty much perfected the stealth game so I will be excited to see how they can screw it up with stupid multiplayer and unneeded open world and forced diversity. Just make it a good story with good maps and good AI that doesn’t say the same thing in the same voice. Little hope but a glimmer just in case.

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Vodoo

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I would actually like to see more emphasis on stealth and less on more gadgets and action. This isn't Ghost Recon. Make the super cool, alternate paths a bit more obvious. Some I only notice after I killed everyone already, and wished I could've used it the first time through.

I tend to typically just use the silenced pistol for head shots and stealth takedowns. I'd also like to see the return of hiding the bodies so other npc's won't notice them. Makes it more realistic.

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PETERAKO

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Edited By PETERAKO

Get ready for splinter cell online or at the very least some sort of tact on online component! I'm calling it!

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@PETERAKO: Tact online? Not a chance.

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PlaystationZone

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The new Splinter Cell might be full online who Knows right.