Sam Fisher returns in early 2013 for Splinter Cell: Blacklist

By on June 4, 2012, 6:39 PM

Sam Fisher will slink back into action next year, with a sixth Splinter Cell title scheduled for early 2013 (we've seen "spring" and the "first quarter" bandied about, but no specific release date yet). Dubbed Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the title will ship for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, with Kinect controls planned for Microsoft's console. According to current information, Blacklist is being developed by Ubisoft Toronto (opened in 2009) in collaboration with Ubisoft Montreal (behind most of the Splinter Cell titles).

The latest entry is set six months after Splinter Cell: Conviction and appears to be at least slightly more faithful to the classic franchise. Conviction depicted Fisher as something of a rogue agent seeking revenge for his daughter's death and it emphasized the "action" part of "stealth-action" by introducing a cover system, more fluid hand-to-hand combat, mission objectives displayed via in-game environments, and  a "mark and execute" mechanic that let you dispatch multiple enemies with minimal effort.

All of those elements appear to be present in Blacklist, but fans of earlier entries will appreciate the return of Fisher's iconic night vision goggles, which were entirely scrapped for sonar goggles that let you see through walls in Conviction. Word has it that you'll also be able to bait enemies by creating vocal noise, and Kinect owners will be able to do this by speaking a command. Blacklist will also see the return of the classic multiplayer mode Spies versus Mercenaries, which was also absent in Conviction.

Plot-wise, Ubisoft is steering away from Fisher's personal struggles and focusing more on the political espionage that popularized the series. According to IGN, a group of "rogue nations" threatens action against high profile US targets unless the country ceases its military operations. Fisher -- err, you -- are tasked with resolving the conflict and you're supplied with a new 4th Echelon unit and a Strategic Mission Interface that helps you determine the best course of action (limited details here, sadly).

The video above shows some of Blacklist's fluid traversal and action sequences, which likely isn't what a stealth purist wants to see, but it makes for a better mass audience demo. Although the gameplay will surely be more aggressive than early Splinter Cell titles, the reintroduction vocal distractions, the ability to move bodies, and weapons like the sticky shocker should make for a more balanced experience. Oh, and before we forget, Fisher will be voiced by Eric Johnson instead of Michael Ironside this time.




User Comments: 17

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Alpha Gamer Alpha Gamer said:

Conviction was a masterpiece that's still etched into my brain. If Blacklist gets to be at least as good as Conviction, it's gonna be a day 1 purchase for me.

Guest said:

Michael isn't playing for the role of Sam... I'm gonna be sick. It just doesn't matter. I'm sick - it just doesn't matter. Ironside literally made the role of the character for me. (!!!) :( Sorry everyone, but that quite literally crashed my day. :|

ikesmasher said:

I dont know how many people were watching E3 with me, but combat looked really smooth. They did good finding ways to merge different moves together.

IAMTHESTIG said:

I hate to be Sergeant Buzzkill, but I really don't feel any connection to the games roots. Back in the day of Splinter Cell, this was an all-out stealth game, with little action. I rather enjoyed the slow pace, creeping through the dark, slowly stalking prey. It came down to timing and precision, slow movements. I really miss this aspect.

I tried Conviction, played maybe 20% of the way through but just got bored and frustrated with the "action". There are TONS of action shooters out there, both third and first person. I want a stealth game! I want my old Splinter Cell back...

Guest said:

IAMTHESTIG I think that could be fixed if you play on hard. And I can play a less slow game on normal.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

I agree it's nothing like the original where every kill was an achievement. Would like to see something slower and stealthier. Right now it looks a lot like a modern day assassins creed.

Guest said:

No Michael Ironside, loads of action, no stealth..... Sounds like Splinter Cell to me. No wait, it doesnt. Ubisoft is just popping out these 3rd person games like prince of persia, assassins creed and now Splinter cell.

The stealth genre really died with conviction, and the real Sam Fisher just died with this announcement.

Guest said:

Totally agree.

Guest said:

Couldn't agree more. Like I said earlier [above], "totally bad day." :P :|

I think its petition time for those of us who are fans of the original series objectives - Ironside's replacement isn't something we're sitting with well.

-MW

Guest said:

You might as well just call it Blacklist. No Third Echelon + stealth replaced with action + fake Sam Fisher = anything but Splinter Cell. Not to mention the guy's in his mid 50s by now. There's no way he should be that agile anyway.

R3DP3NGUIN R3DP3NGUIN said:

<p>You might as well just call it Blacklist. No Third Echelon + stealth replaced with action + fake Sam Fisher = anything but Splinter Cell. Not to mention the guy's in his mid 50s by now. There's no way he should be that agile anyway.</p>

I get what you mean Splinter cell isn't the same anymore, but then again Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are in there mid-60's and there doing some rather agile things lately (And there Real characters too)

Guest said:

Watching the trailer, too much of the action seems to be automated with the targeting, and maybe the part where he breaks through the door then out the window at the other end? I'll wait for reviews before I spend my money.

noel24 said:

<p>Conviction was a masterpiece that's still etched into my brain. If Blacklist gets to be at least as good as Conviction, it's gonna be a day 1 purchase for me.</p>

You either working for Ubisoft, or havn't played previous installments, contrary to your nickname.

Guest said:

In earlier E3 splinter cell reveals they used some other voice on Sam, but in the release they had Ironside. So we can just hope he will borrow his voice once more to Sam in Blacklist

Guest said:

Why would anybody think that "show me where all the enemies are and what they're doing goggles" are a good gameplay mechanic?

Alpha Gamer Alpha Gamer said:

<p>Conviction was a masterpiece that's still etched into my brain. If Blacklist gets to be at least as good as Conviction, it's gonna be a day 1 purchase for me.</p>

You either working for Ubisoft, or havn't played previous installments, contrary to your nickname.

I judge a game for what it is, not for what it could have been. Let alone by my expectations based on previous titles of the same franchise. Saying a game is good does not imply others are not.

IAMTHESTIG I think that could be fixed if you play on hard. And I can play a less slow game on normal.

Indeed, I finished the game on realistic difficult, and I assure you: it's all about stealth

Guest said:

Michael Ironside is Sam Fished as far as I'm concerned. No Ironside, No Splinter Cell for me. Shame. I loved the series up until now.

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