Splinter Cell’s complexity is holding back its popularity, says Raymond

Tuesday, 23rd April 2013 12:15 GMT By Dave Cook

Splinter Cell’s complexity is stopping it from becoming as popular as Far Cry or Assassin’s Creed, Ubisoft Toronto head Jade Raymond has suggested. The team is currently working towards the release of Splinter Cell Blacklist, an entry that seems to go back to the complex stealth mechanics the series is known for.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Raymond offered her own theory on why Splinter Cell hasn’t hit the same heights as its stablemates, “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.

“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. I guess Splinter Cell stayed with the most pure approach to that stealth experience.”

Raymond acknowledged that previous entry Splinter Cell Conviction took a more action-heavy approach, but stressed that Blacklist is a return to form, and the stealth ideals that founded the franchise.

“Splinter Cell still really is a thinking game,” she added. “It’s really about being intelligent and taking that time in the first phase to plan out how you’re going to do things, and understanding the elements, and even planning your gadgets and your load-out and being smart about it.

“That’s where you get the thrill, but it’s a different way of playing than most games on the market these days.”

Based on footage we’ve seen of the game running so far, do you think that Blacklist really is going back to the series’ roots? Let us know what you think below.

Splinter Cell Blacklist drops across North America on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 from August 20, and across Europe from August 23.



  1. monkeygourmet

    No shit…

    Perhaps if it was turned into a Facebook farming sim, it would be even more popular?! O__o

    #1 2 years ago
  2. monkeygourmet

    At this rate, EVERY fucking game will merge into Uncharted…

    Linear corridors, great graphics and basic climbing gameplay…

    This is my prediction for next gen.

    Every game will be Uncharted…

    #2 2 years ago
  3. HOBO

    I would punch her in the face if she was a dude

    #3 2 years ago
  4. monkeygourmet


    You could have a sex change, then punch her?

    It’s a lot of work to go too, but if your passionate about something! ;)

    #4 2 years ago
  5. TheWulf

    Is that a bad thing, is it really?

    Allow me to make a case in point:

    Deus Ex revelled in shenanigans and idealistic symbolism before Mass Effect was but a twinkle in the eye of BioWare. The difference was that Deus Ex was less accessible, it was crazy-hard at times, and it actually took skill. It took a hell of a lot of skill if you went for a non-lethal playthrough (which is my favourite kind).

    Mass Effect 3′s gameplay, by comparison, is essentially popcorn entertainment. So when BioWare decided to do something arty with it, something involving symbolism and ideologies, the fanbase went batshit. This is because the average Mass Effect fan just isn’t that bright. They’re expecting Space Invaders. You know, you have the enemy, you kill the enemy, a celebration is thrown, and so on. Popcorn entertainment. Brainless stuff. That’s exactly what Mass Effect 1/2 were.

    So they got to the end of Mass Effect 3 and the reaction was, essentially, “The hell is this shit?!?!” since it didn’t revolve around the usual Space Invaders plot.

    So why was that the case, versus Deus Ex?

    I think it’s because Deus Ex didn’t let the mainstream in so much. Even Human Revolution, as accessible as that was compared to other Deus Ex offerings, was still a bit oldschool. The complexity works like magic in helping people to understand that such-and-such a game isn’t popcorn entertainment. Deus Ex was many things, but never popcorn entertainment.

    By dumbing down games, all you’re doing is creating popcorn entertainment and inviting a very low brow audience in. I guess it makes more money, but at the same time it also devalues the IP. Why? They have to make the plot dumb as well in order to make it accessible, which makes it less desirable to anyone who wants more from gaming.

    There’s enough popcorn entertainment out there already. Let Splinter Cell be Splinter Cell. This is the wrong move, UbiSoft. The worst possible one you could make.


    If anything, UbiSoft should make it MORE complex. Take pages from the books of Deus Ex and Alpha Protocol. That would be a game I’d want to play!

    #5 2 years ago
  6. The_Red

    What else is new? Last time I checked, Bayformer movies and Kardashians were “popular” so, yeah. If you want “popularity” you need to leave you brain at the door. That’s why everything is a “cinematic” played-by-itself clone of COD or Uncharted. Heck, even BioShock I was a bit COD-fied.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DrDamn

    So anyone actually read the article – or the linked article – and not just the headline?

    Stuff like …

    “We brought back the purest hardcore version, which is, you want to ghost through the level and get through it without killing a single person. Every single thing you want to do you can do in a non-lethal way. That requires the most planning and being the most strategic.

    “You can even play that in Perfectionist Mode, which means if you want you don’t have any of the added things, such as Mark and Execute, that make it easier.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. FeaturePreacher

    I don’t think the problem is the complexity, I think the problem is the inability to have NPCs behave the way the player predicts. This is why stealth games should have a rewind mechanic. I’m going to buy this game regardless.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ristas

    For fuck’s sake guys, read the goddamnit article before you start posting hateful comments…jesus christ…

    #9 2 years ago
  10. YoungZer0

    Yeah, if you read past the headline she makes a lot of sense.

    BUT. This is my main issue with the current industry. You take some niche game and try to make it work for as many people as possible. If people continue to do that, we’re going to basically play the same game.

    And that’s ubisoft biggest problem right now. They keep taking features from their other games and put them into games like Splinter Cell.

    Do I really want Sam to use drones? Isn’t it enough that Ghost Recon has them already? Do I need Mark & Execute in all Tom Clancy games? Do I need some half-assed hunting mechanic in AC3 or FC3? Ubisofts games are losing their originality.

    In case of SCC however, I think their approach worked. For far too long stealth games have been all about sitting in the dark, mark a target, watch it’s walking behavior. Strike from the dark, get seen, try again/get shot, reload the savegame.

    But in SCC, I see the target, I take it out I hide the body, I get seen, I jump to cover, I disappear, I take the target out. It works much better.

    The gameplay isn’t my biggest problem with SC right now. Story and characters are. Why make Sam younger? Why get rid of his iconic voice and replace it with a 30-something guy? Because of motion-capture? Don’t give me that bullshit

    Why even have Sam still operate? How about you introduce us to new characters? It worked for the SCC coop. Great characters. Great chemistry.

    Then you wouldn’t have to use him for motion capture and we might have a fresh start for the franchise. SCC took Sams story as far as it could go.

    This game takes a huge step back. It isn’t personal anymore nor interesting.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. monkeygourmet


    Have you guys watched all the gameplay? They’ve already had to tone the torture scenes down, lets face it… All the reboots are getting diluted to have mass market appeal.

    Hitman, Thief, Splinter Cell, Dead Space, REsident Evil…

    They are all merging into one/two genres…

    In the future (next gen), most games will either be Skyrim or Uncharted the way things are headed…

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Stardog

    It just looks b-rate. The graphics don’t even look good for current gen.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. YoungZer0

    @11: They probably tone down the torture scenes because torture isn’t cool anymore. 24 is gone and so is any reason to put it into their game. We probably wouldn’t have a Watch_Dogs game without Person of Interest.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. monkeygourmet


    lol :)

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    Let’s make it a balloon you hit with a stick. Maybe then, when apes get it, it’ll sell more.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. polygem

    @2: exactly my thoughts. i am actually thinking about going handheld only. The 3ds/ds gems, the vita, psone, psp games are where it´s at for me for quite a while now. even replaying some old games is more fun to me than playing many newer ones. homeconsole gaming bores the shit out of me atm. it´s sad really.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Moonwalker1982

    So in other words Ubi….

    After Splinter Cell…Rainbow Six will be destroyed next?

    #17 2 years ago
  18. ojinnvoltz


    A rewind mechanic in stealth games? Buddy, it’s called a quicksave. Oh that’s right, this gen has been all console and checkpoint affairs.

    #18 2 years ago

    The main problem with current and next gen games is the shitload of money developers need, to create state of the art graphics. So in order to get the most cash out of their franchises, they just HAVE to dumb them down, so anyone can play and buy them. Face it, there aren’t enough of us gaming geeks, to keep this industry alive. The better the graphics get, the less niche-products we get.
    The only hope for hardcore-niche-gaming are the crowdfunding platforms, where the fans help the developers create the game they really want to create.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. YoungZer0

    @18: Yep. Checkpoints are true enemy of any stealth game. It literally ruined Hitman Absolution for me.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. DrDamn

    I’d say quicksaves are much more of an enemy. A well done checkpoint system should encourage good game design. Quicksave is a work around. It skirts the issue, it doesn’t address it.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. xino

    splinter cell sucks!
    Conviction was better, they should just make the damn game more like Conviction.
    Because it was still a stealth game, yet very OPTIONAL to use action!

    #22 2 years ago

    To me it felt optional to play it stealthy. Oh they saw me? Ah fuck it, i’m goin rogue.
    I loved the first one, were action wasn’t an option and you couldn’t blind all of your enemies, just to stay ‘stealth’.

    I guess I’ll wait for Blacklists reviews to emerge, before i’ll buy it, so i don’t make the same mistake of buying it, i did with Conviction.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. theevilaires

    @3 put your hands on Jade ever and I’ll beat the shit out of you.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Mjorh

    Adverfuckintisment 4 gainin the trust of fans ! gotta admit it sounds promising but definitely it ain’t what they say it is

    #25 2 years ago

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