Splinter Cell: Blacklist doesn't try to pretend its much-vilified precursor doesn't exist; it moves directly on from Conviction's plot, and Ubisoft Toronto hopes to learn from its failings.
"The game takes place about six months after Conviction," creative director Maxime Béland told Joystiq.
"You're going to see in the first half hour of the game where it's not just the President coming to Sam and saying 'I need your help yet again'. We've made it very personal for Sam."
Interestingly, that six month gap won't go unfulfilled.
"We're going to be also doing some exciting stuff in the gap between the two that's outside of the game," Béland added.
Béland also worked on Conviction; he said he was brought in quite late in the process, when the project faltered, to take it in a brand new direction and release in under two years.
Describing the results of this Frankensteining as "sweet and sour", Béland said he used it as a "stepping stone" while preparing for Blacklist. He and his team went through Conviction's reviews and feature list to work out what to keep and what to axe.
Blacklist is expected in March 2013, on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.