Splinter Cell 5 – “Who Said Anything About Hiding?”

By Alec Meer on June 2nd, 2009 at 11:34 am.

Hands like bricks

Sam Fisher’s been off the radar for a little while, Ubisoft having given the old lad some time off whilst they made that bloke in the hood from Assassin’s Creed their stealth-man of the hour. Well, the guy who pays Michael Ironside’s rent is coming back this year, in the long-delayed Conviction. In the CGI and in-game footage below, it’s clear this is an earthier, angrier, more brutal Fisher. Maybe he’s so grumpy because he just heard the Left 4 Dead 2 announcement?

This pre-rendered video sets the scene: Fisher as renegade, seeking revenge for the murder of his daughter, and claiming he’s done with hiding:

Then this in-game footage shows what manner of romp we’re in for: a much more hands-on Sam, eschewing gadgetry for more plausible tools such as mirror shards and, most importantly, those big, beefy hands of his. It’s a mess of familiar, uh, homages: 24, Bourne, Nu-Bond, that Liam Neeson Taken movie, the Manhunt games… Question is, is this Ubisoft actively wanting to take the series in a slightly different direction, or simply a -hey! – conviction that more out-and-out action games bring in the biggest bucks these days?

Looks a lot of fun, in an enormously sadistic way. I do like that he can now hand-shuffle across a ledge at ridiculous speeds. Clearly having a family member murdered makes your arms more powerful.

Splinter Cell: Conviction is due – when else? – this holiday season.

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77 Comments »

  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    “Tell me who killed my DLC!”

  2. nabeel says:

    I <3 you Alec.

  3. Jonas says:

    Bloody hell that looks great! Hopefully proper stealth and nonlethal moves will still be an option – nothing like holding the power over life or death in your hands (of digital actors, admittedly, but still!). I also hope this will be as open-ish as Chaos Theory or Double Agent, as in that case the option of shimmying along the ledge outside the windows to flank an enemy would be really impressive (whereas it’d merely be neat if it were the only option, see?)

    Between this and Alpha Protocol, I think I shall get my spy thriller fix this year.

  4. The_B says:

    So is this still coming to PC then? The 360 exclusive announcement surprised me yesterday, as I thought the series was doing well multiplatform.

  5. Hermit says:

    I took it to mean 360 console exclusive, B. Microsoft are fond of saying things like that. Given that the PC is kind of their platform and it’ll likely as not have GFWL if it is PC bound, it’s not like they’d complain.
    Probably developer choice not to try a PS3 port at the same time.

    Edit: Game looked rather entertaining, too

  6. Optimaximal says:

    The auto-aim function is… interesting. Whilst the idea of auto-locking whilst hanging from a window then leaping through and capping guards is nice and fluid, it just looks like yet again Ubisoft are automating the game.

  7. James T says:

    Oh awesome, it -is- due for PC, that was conspicuously absent from the big MS presentation, had me a touch worried.

    I hope it’s not entirely transformed into Rainbow-Six-style “stealthiness… right up until you have to fire the first bullet, then it’s all shooter” (that ‘pre-aim under the door’ bit is pure R6); I don’t mind a bit of a scuffle, but Seoul (particularly the last bit) was definitely my least favourite bit of CT.

    Wonder if they’ve kept the Anna story in there.

    (Oh, and that overlaid mission text is pretty shmick, isn’t it, heheh.)

  8. Nero says:

    I wonder how that marking technique works. Do you mark people and then press a button for auto win? Not a big fan of the new direction, faster and more action. Oh well, I’ll always have the old games.

  9. Jim Rossignol says:

    MS said L4D2 was an “exclusive” too. It seems that just means “not on PS3″ these days.

  10. The_B says:

    I took it to mean 360 console exclusive, B. Microsoft are fond of saying things like that. Given that the PC is kind of their platform and it’ll likely as not have GFWL if it is PC bound, it’s not like they’d complain.

    Oh, I know this part – I’ve never assumed any console exclusive to not have the caveat of “except for PC” – it’s just that as James T says afterwards:

    Oh awesome, it -is- due for PC, that was conspicuously absent from the big MS presentation, had me a touch worried.

    MS didn’t mention anything yesterday if it would be on PC as well, and there don’t yet appear to be any PC logos on the official site anywhere. Whereas Valve clearly said L4D2 was PC & 360.

  11. Cigol says:

    I half expected him to push that civilian off the edge of the bridge out of pure simple frustration. MAN RAGE.

  12. Paul_M says:

    Will it be a game better played with a mouse and keyboard or gamepad? I suppose that will determine the appropriateness of auto aim features. Looks awesome.

  13. Ian says:

    Looks like it could be fun. Certainly more interested than I was when the game looked like it should be called Splinter Cell: Angry Hobo.

  14. PC Monster says:

    I LIKED the ultra-spy gadgets and black stealth-camo-fetish gear. Why take Sam away from his roots, you bad bad people?

  15. Heliocentric says:

    Eh, excitement gone. Nevermind, maybe the multiplayer will be interesting, but hiding was splinter cell, take that away whats left?

  16. James T says:

    Heliocentric: Rainbow 6, heh. I’m a bit concerned myself, but we’ll see.

    PC Monster:

    It kinda looks like they’ve shied away from the early conceptions of ‘Conviction’ (I wonder if the AC-esque ‘social stealth’ is still going to be involved at all), but I remember back then there was talk of Sam having access to SC gear eventually in the game. I can guess where they’re going to conveniently take Sam once they’ve busted him in that clip there… (the Washington Monument’s kind of a hint too)

  17. Ian says:

    @ Helio: Surely your excitement should have been gone about two or three years ago when they were showing stuff that looked even less Splinter Cell than this? Or had you briefly allowed your hopes to be rekindled?

  18. Heliocentric says:

    I got excited when i read they canceled the then current build and added a massive delay. Like they realised they had just guffed and had the decency to stand up and open the window, it seems to be lingering though.

  19. Captain Bland says:

    I miss the Splinter Cell: Roleplay a Terrorist/Hobo we had a couple of years back. This looks fun, but I wanted crowd centric gameplay for this.

    Also, I know the hairy beardy look was silly, but what have they done to his face?

  20. Walter says:

    Rather this than Fisher with the long hair and emo-bag living on the street even if it’s not “Splinter Cell.” He is a lot more Jack Bauer. More Jack Bauer is never a bad thing.

    Thought his daughter getting killed was just a drunk hit and run?

    Anyone else feel like climbing out of their window and “hand-shuffling” across the front of their building?

  21. Psychopomp says:

    But I just want Chaos Theory 2!

    Edit:Also, I was really looking forward to Splinter Cell:Hobo edition.

    Really, why change it? It looked great, in my opinion.

  22. Heliocentric says:

    His daughter was hit and run by drunken terrorist cia agents.

    You mean chaos theory 3, 2 was da on the last gen consoles.
    Who is up for some hamachi emulator lan?

  23. Walter says:

    Drunken terrorist CIA agents is never a good thing. I wonder if they had their licenses suspended… After this game they probably will.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    Hmm… not that impressed with what I saw and thought the ideas I was hearing from the original Conviction sounded much better. That was still a stealth game, except instead of sneaking around you cause distractions and disappear into a crowd. I would say that is much closer to a Bourne style than this, which seemed fairly like a straight forward shoot bad guys in face type game. I think they should have taken a look at the new Batman game for what they should be doing.

  25. JKjoker says:

    i hope this video isnt representative of the gameplay, because it looks like a long cutscene with 1 button quicktime (shooting button + perfect autoaiming) events, is there any challenge involved here ?

    Double Agent was already much crappier than first 3, easier, shorter and cutescenish, with the only challenge being instant death stealth sections (wheeeeee), they seem to be going to same way with this one

  26. DarthInsinuate says:

    It looks pretty swish to me. It reminds me of the Arkham Asylum game in the way that observation is a bigger challenge than the execution, which is effectively just a few button presses.

    Sam Fisher is a much less interesting character without the goggles and wet suit though.

  27. Isometric says:

    I’d like to think that ubisoft are changing it for the better.
    A more action orientated sam doesn’t look like a bad thing at all.

  28. reiver says:

    Athough the actions in the gameplay footage looked smooth and cool they seemed excessively precise and automated. Reminded me a lot of Assassin’s Creed and the way they allowed you to perform complex manouveres with no timing or skill. Sure it provided a decent spectacle and to, an uninformed, spectator you looked very adept but there was very little satisfaction in performing those moves.
    It looks like it’d be better off being rebranded as a punisher sequel than a splinter cell game!

  29. SpoonySeeker says:


    Maybe he’s so grumpy because he just heard the Left 4 Dead 2 announcement?

    Master Troll
    Alec, your writing style is distinctive, but in a way that I just can’t quite put my finger on…

  30. Psychopomp says:

    @Helio

    Yeah, but see, Chaos Theory was brilliant, and DA was shit.

  31. ZIGS says:

    Splinter Cell: Gears of War Edition?

  32. The_B says:

    Oh silly me. I assumed the second video was just the same as the stuff they showed at the conference. Well, OK the section itself was the same as that played, but it didn’t have the developer intro and outro, in which he says himself it’s coming for PC. My apologies.

    Awesome, then.

  33. Optimaximal says:

    Drunken terrorist CIA agents is never a good thing. I wonder if they had their licenses suspended… After this game they probably will.

    Indeed… Fisher will ensure their licenses FOR THEIR LIFE will be suspended… FOR LIFE

  34. dash says:

    Pretty much everything in trailer looks a way too cheesy and cheap. Gameplay however Looks cool….I just hope it wont be another Double Agent, which i hated.

  35. James T says:

    Pretty much everything in trailer looks a way too cheesy and cheap.

    I know the word ‘cheesy’ doesn’t actually have a meaning, but what form of ‘cheap’ do you mean?

    Indeed… Fisher will ensure their licenses FOR THEIR LIFE will be suspended… FOR LIFE

    WOAH!

  36. Heliocentric says:

    @Pomp the last gen was made on the chaos theory tech by the same team, da on 360 and pc was the shit shangai team.

  37. fuggles says:

    THIS is bigger than your daughter!

    Depending on if she’s toddling or not, that might not be so big.

  38. The Innocent says:

    Color me extremely displeased. This new reinvention makes Sam Fisher look like Altair from Assassin’s Creed with his way-too-fast antics (hey, this might as well be AC3 if they keep going with the later-in-history stories). Last time they “reinvented” Splinter Cell they gave me the dumbed-down mess that was Double Agent, right after they finally came close to perfection with Chaos Theory. Double Agent had a couple moments of brilliance, but overall it just sucked.

    The whole reason I loved the series was because I actually liked having light and sound meters, moving at a realistic pace instead of bouncing around like Spiderman, and being totally badass without bullet-time gimmicks. Sam Fisher is like seventy: he’s supposed to be slower and methodical, but totally unstoppable! This just looks goofy, especially when he was climbing hand over hand faster than most people can sprint. I’m not a huge fanboy, but I was a fan, and this looks awful.

    @ Heliocentric / Psychopomp
    I agree with you, Psycho: DA wasn’t CT2; it was a reinvention. Like reinventing your fine modern bathroom with an outhouse.

  39. WaitWut says:

    How old is Sam again? Is he using Just for Men/ did they make him look younger?

    Don’t like the way the “marking” looks also…looks like noob auto-aim.

  40. Xercies says:

    I have to agree that I’m not to excited about it, thought the text and logos on the building looked cool at first but it could get heavily distracting if its constantly there and it looks kind of silly when you think about it. Theres this objective painted on the wall and no one has twigged yet.

    I have to totally agree with The Innocent on why I loved Splinter Cell.

  41. Loki says:

    Where are my sticky cams, where are my airfoil rounds, where is my silly remote hacking device! I want my tech and strange black camo + eye wear fetishist called Fisher back :(

    (yeah I do realise they said there would be the tech we love. But the trailer is all about auto aim and strange lights from the skies given you missions.
    Why make Splinter Cell: Angry Schizophrenic Technophobe when CT was so good?)

  42. phil says:

    “I’m not hiding any more” – Isn’t that essentially like Mario claiming he’s not jumping any more (or at least karting)?

    Having just finally played though Gears of War 2, frankly this cover based, shoot, hide, shoot, hide nosense
    is about as fun as rickets – couldn’t they have gone with something more like Far Cry 2, expansive, open ended, not obcessed with waist high objects, possibly featuring flame throwers?

  43. Captain Bland says:

    I like that UBIsoft (still) seem to be one of the few publishers willing to evolve thier franchise. But at this point it seems as if the Splinter Cell brand, and Sam Fisher are limiting them. They should make up a new ‘stealth-action’ brand and slap the Tom Clancy label on it for their precise shooting and stabbing game. Splinter Cell should be proud to be stealth focused. Seems like the series is ashamed of this, when it really shouldn’t be.

  44. Nimdok says:

    If there was anything in the gameplay video to really like, it was the integrated objective system; light up the side of a building with “Break In HERE!”?

    Awesome.

  45. JKjoker says:

    @Loki: as they showed with Double Agent, because they are idiots

  46. IvanHoeHo says:

    Disregarding the roots of the series (was never that into Splinter Cell), this actually looks pretty fun. And if we look at this as an experiment on improving the fluidity and versatility of in-game controls, this could be a very good thing, indeed.

  47. TheLordHimself says:

    Splinter Cell, Ubisoft Montreal, Brilliant game.
    Pandora Tomorrow, Ubisoft Shanghi, Meh game.
    Chaos Theory, Ubisoft Montreal, Best of the series and probably genre IMO,
    Double Agent, Ubisoft Shanghi, Dire game.

    On this basis Conviction will be good no matter how the series goes.

  48. Bhazor says:

    Wait, how does he zoom into a picture on a shard of glass? Why was that guy still shooting at the wall after Sam had clearly just jumped through the window? Did the Government have his balls as insurance because he seems to have got them back since he quit working there.

    All in all I’m just not sure. I miss the stealth of the first couple of games and thought the second, or whichever game had the lighthouse level, game was definitely the best. This just stinks of GoW style mind mulch. Still, if the levels and objectives are as open as “Enter House” or “Assasinate a Guy” this could be big, but potentially dumb, fun.

    That said I do like the way he seems to be taking missions from the Mysterons and that civilian going “Oh my” at seeing the objective flashed up was oddly funny.

  49. Dreamhacker says:

    SC:CT was the best game of the series… I’ve played it once, and I desperately want to play it again, but… STARFORCE. I would frigging buy the game again if they released it without that DRM-insanity.

  50. Whiskey Jak says:

    I’m personally extremely impressed with what they’ve done. Doing the exact same thing as in SC:CT would be just that, an old rehash that people would be quick to trash. I can certainly handle a more action-packed SC.

    The on-the-wall objectives effect is sweet, the interrogation gameplay is brutal, the way I like it, and the mark and execute seems fine. Makes Sam look like a true badass.

    People need to cheer up and start enjoying games a bit more.