2008 is a Metal Gear year. There are relatively few franchises out there that can make this kind of statement – Snake is perhaps only kept company by Grand Theft Auto and Halo, but the trade-off is a massive shadow cast over any competitors hitting the shelves in the same year. Though it's unlikely Ubisoft would take kindly to such a description, there's no avoiding the fact that Sam Fisher's latest opus, due out in the second quarter of this year, will be squaring up to Konami's cash-cow at release.
It's not an entirely fair comparison either, because – while stealth is the lifeblood of both series – Ubisoft has always been careful to give Splinter Cell its own distinct flavour. Indeed, it's fair enough to say that the series has more in common with the French publisher's fellow Tom Clancy franchises than it does Metal Gear. No doubt aware of such aspersions, Conviction is set to see Sam Fisher finally step out of the shadows and into harsh light, in every sense imaginable.