If you were to think about some of top gaming franchises of all time you would think Halo, Zelda, Mario, and Final Fantasy. Another franchise that would make the conversation would have to be Tom Clancy’s: Splinter Cell. There’s been five installments to this franchise as well as a few hand-held iterations. With the help of Michael Ironside, Sam Fisher has become one of the most iconic characters in the history of video games. Splinter Cell is a beloved franchise, but recently it has shown it has fallen afar from the greatness it used to have.
Splinter Cell made its first appearance in the gaming world on November 19th 2002. It was a whole new experience for gamers and the first stealth game of its kind. After its initial success in 2004 we were given Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. Sam Fisher really started becoming a household name after this, but he didn’t become a must-have until 2005 when Ubisoft released Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. This is when Ubisoft changed online gameplay and set a standard for all stealth titles.
Chaos Theory was the first Splinter Cell to introduce cooperative multiplayer to the franchise. Though the local and system-link options were fun, the online competitive modes really set itself apart from all other titles. The multiplayer was simple and dynamic in every way. It was spy vs. merc; the stealth vs. the gun. Ubisoft took polar opposites and turned them against each-other balancing gameplay in a nearly flawless way. It was a revolutionary game that became one of the greatest of all time, and really cemented Splinter Cell as a must have franchise.
Chaos Theory truly was the stepping stone to greatness for Sam Fisher. That’s why in 2006 Splinter Cell: Double Agent was one of the most anticipated games for gamers everywhere. This game was a lot different from Chaos Theory. It had a lot of changes to both singleplayer and multiplayer.
In the story you were no longer that confident Splinter Cell; you become an under-cover double agent, angry because of the death of your daughter. Ubisoft introduced a trust system that made the player make choices that affected the outcome of the game. The single player was tilted to more of a run and gun system rather than the stealth approach that Chaos Theory perfected. Ubisoft really took a step back with this one and disappointed a lot of gamers. The real disappointment didn’t come until 2010 with the release of Splinter Cell: Conviction.
It took four years for the release of the fifth installment of Splinter Cell. Mainly due to fact of the great distaste of the first trailer of Conviction. Let’s just say most people thought it should have been called Splinter Cell: Bum Fights. Ubisoft was forced to start over completely with Conviction. I’m afraid the results still weren’t great. The story was about the fall of Third Echelon and Sam Fishers revenge.
Conviction almost entirely depended on a more action-oriented approach. The multiplayer completely removed spy vs. merc and instead opted for spy vs. spy. In light of these changes Splinter Cell has removed away from the core conventions that made it great, and perhaps even the best.
What Splinter Cell needs is rebirth. Ubisoft needs to go back to the roots of Chaos Theory to return to their former glory. Bring back spy vs. merc; it’s what made Chaos Theory a legendary game. As far as the story goes you need to move on from Sam Fisher. Have him become the new chairman of Third Echelon and start rebuilding from scratch. Bring in a new Splinter Cell that Sam Fisher trains. This will keep Fisher in an important role, however it will also give the franchise a breath of fresh air. This new Splinter Cell needs to be knowledgeable, cocky, and above else better than Sam Fisher.
Supernatural’s Jensen Ackles could not only fit well as a voice actor, but even with the general look. With the industry starting to embrace digitally acting as a medium this could be a great opportunity to improve the franchise substantially in the narrative department. These could bring back Splinter Cell as the premiere stealth franchise.
We have loved Splinter Cell for years now, however it’s time to bring back the true-essence of Splinter Cell with a fresh new face.
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