Where Did They Go Wrong? Volume I, Splinter Cell


"It’s a simple question we all find ourselves asking about franchises across all mediums: where did they go wrong?

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, “Pablo Honey” by Radiohead, Michael Bay-directed adaptations of established stories, excellent games choosing to appeal to broader audiences; all things that can go awry in a manner nearly imperceptible.

In our modern industry, gaming truly has risen from the foam to sit beside other forms of entertainment as a more socially accepted medium, but with that change of class comes ramifications that deeply affect die-hard fans.

This series of articles will cover the direction of – and attempt to pinpoint – franchises that caused fans to roll their eyes, hang their heads in shame, and silently shed tears for their fallen virtual heroes.

Today, the spotlight shines upon the ballad of Sam Fisher, and how he was forced to appeal to a broader audience."

gaminoz4527d ago

I really think that these days devs will struggle to sell games based on pure stealth. I often hear complaints about 'stealth' sections of games, and that isn't even a whole game.

Yet making a stealth franchise all action oriented makes the game almost industinguishable from all the others.

The answer is what MGS4 did. You could try and play it COD style, but there were open enough environments to find other sneakier ways around it and not die so much as a reward.

Conviction didn't offer as much opportunity for choice of approach.

A game like Thief 4 or Hitman would suffer if action became the main focus over sneaking, taking out lighting, stealth kills, and disguise.

Proeliator4527d ago (Edited 4527d ago )

You forgot that in Hitman Absolution there's a cover system, lower difficulties can see enemies through walls, and forced action segments; the stealth genre is dead. It's simply not profitable.

Conviction as a video game was excellent, but as a Splinter Cell title, it was very disappointing.

I do agree with your stance on Metal Gear Solid 4, though.

Eske4526d ago

I don't know if MGS4 is the answer. Playing that game stealthily was just...awkward. I found myself doing that goofy "inchworm crawl" across whole football fields-worth of open ground.

On topic: I think there's a ton of untapped potential in stealth games. We need to see some improvement in AI behaviors, though. Watching enemies repeat endless patterns of behavior and movement is immersion-killing.

OhMyGandhi4527d ago (Edited 4527d ago )

very nice article! and completely agree with everything you wrote.

I wrote a similar piece, lol.


jc485734527d ago

never liked any of the Splinter Cell or Tom Clancy's games.


Two Decades Later, the Original Splinter Cell is Still a Masterpiece

They don't make games like this anymore.

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vgvill28d ago

Too dated in my book. The AI is way too unpredictable to be acceptable today. It's definitely a game of its time.

Jingsing28d ago (Edited 28d ago )

Agreed with those sentiments. The quality of the CPU controlled characters make or break a stealth game and they are pretty poor in all the Splinter Cell games by today's standard. This is what led me to playing Spies vs Mercs all the time in later games just to get a better stealth experience from a real person. Arguably Sony are making better stealth games albeit not Tom Clancy stuff.

TheProfessional28d ago (Edited 28d ago )

You should stick with fortnite or one of the countless bloodborne style games then. What a joke.

rlow128d ago

I had a good time with the game. It is a product of its time. But when it came out it was a must have game for a lot of people. I wish Ubisoft would make another game in the series or at least a reboot.

vgvill28d ago

They are making a remake, I think. I loved the original game when it was released, but I tried to play it again in recent years and just couldn't get on with it. The same with the older Hitman games.

PrecursorOrb28d ago

Yeah chaos theory still holds up though I gotta say. If you’re a fan of the series I highly suggest you go back to that one. Ubi has said they are remaking sc for “modern audiences”. I don’t have a lot of faith for the future of that company

Chocoburger28d ago (Edited 28d ago )

Due to the lack of modern stealth games, and me constantly playing the MGS series, I've been looking for alternative stealth games to play, and went back and re-played the SC series recently. I wouldn't call SC1 or SC:PT masterpieces, there are AI issues, they're very much trial-and-error games, and that can lead to a lot of frustration. I also found the stories in this series to be boring, uninteresting, and just sloppily told. Cinematics are also of poor quality for both in-game scenes and CG cut-scenes, the soundtrack didn't leave any impression on me either.

Chaos Theory is better, but there was still a lot of room for improvement, and Double Agent (old gen ver.) was a sloppy mess that ended up a regression from CT. But still, at least they tried back then, these days Ubi-junk doesn't even try to make good games!

HvNzSoul19d ago

Everyone needs to quit with all of the unnessacery Ubi-hate. SC Conviction and Blacklist are both still good games.

HvNzSoul19d ago

Everyone needs to quit with all of the unnecessary Ubi-hate. SC Conviction and Blacklist are both still good games, they just weren't 100% focused on stealth with Conviction and they remedied that in Blacklist. The only thing they have released recently that I was disappointed with was Watch Dogs Legion, and Skull & Bones. Everyone seems to be salty about the misleading trailer for the original Watch Dogs and The Division. Which are also, both good games, and actually Watch Dogs seems like it was ahead of its time even with all the trailer drama (having gone back and played recently, can say the game didnt deserve all the flak). Yeah the misleading E3 trailer that had better graphics than release is understandable to a very small degree, when most Teaser Trailers, or Game Demo's only have that portion of the game developed so they use the highest quality assets of w/e they have being showed, or what they are showing was made purely for the showing, allowing for extra polish . As to the gripes about minor game design changes, or cut features upon a games release just goes to show how unknowledgeable most gamers are in terms of how game development works or to even understand what what the hell a WIP, let alone titles still in early development.

Good games from Ubi since 2014 (Year that SC Blacklist Released) include:

Watch Dogs 1 & 2
The Division 1 & 2 (Although I had a hard time getting into The Division 2 at first)
R6 Siege
Ghost Recon Wildlands & Breakpoint
Immortals Fenyx Rising
AC Origins, Odyssey, MIrage (Haven't finished Valhalla games too damn long)
Far Cry Primal, and 5 (6 also has a length issue)
Avatar Frontiers of Pandora
Prince Of Persia The Lost Crown

Haven't played a couple of titles those being For Honor (played at launch but didn't honestly give it an actual go), The Crew, R6 Extraction and at the time of writing this xDefiant.

Even if you absolutely hated any of the above titles, they aren't inherently bad games, they're just good, but not always top quality either.

I say give Ubi credit where credit is due, they at least fix games post launch if they start out rough, Breakpoint is an excellent example this and is such an enjoyable experience now compared to it's launch.


New Assassin’s Creed Mirage gameplay teases unique ability for Basim

Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Mirage appears to be adopting a key Splinter Cell mechanic, which is great news for the characterization of Basim on PS5 and Xbox.

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Why a Splinter Cell mobile game now would make perfect sense

Splinter Cell is the most innovative stealth series to ever grace this industry, why this is high time for a mobile port we'll discuss here

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