Video With Conviction: Ubi Talk New Splinter Cell

“Prepare, execute, and vanish,” say Ubi Montreal of their new Splinter Cell philosophy. That, apparently, is the best way to explain the way Splinter Cell: Conviction will retain stealth options while boosting the action quotient. While standard sneaking allows you to prepare your approach, you’re going to be going through fairly ostentatious action sequences, before slipping back into the shadows. Hide and seek with neck-breaking, then. Also, “Mark and execute” is the new central motif – the tagging system which we saw in the E3 trailer – allows you to mark out enemies before you engage, allowing Sam to have the upper hand in the first moments of a fight. Anyway, go take a look at the developers making earnest hand-gestures about their game concepts below.


  1. Yfel says:

    It’s amazing how seamlessly they’re able to edit it such that every next sentence is spoken by someone else. I guess they’re all reading from the same script.

  2. Bret says:

    So, wait.

    You sneak up on people… to get in an obvious fight with them?

    JC Denton would not approve. If I’m sneaking, it’s because I want to avoid a fight generally, either through a quick takedown or just avoiding the whole deal. Not so I can have the exact kind of fight I just avoided, but with an ever so slight edge.

    Could work, mind, but I’m skeptical

  3. Heliocentric says:

    After double agent getting decent reviews yet being a total abortion? I need a demo. But yes, the advantage stealth offers in a fight is intrinsic, it doesn’t need to be tacked on. Although, analogue controllers are a massive limitation when it comes to shooting in 3D. Still, a one level demo will show if they get it.

  4. Aubrey says:

    Well, I think their point is that the action bits essentially ARE the stealth take downs.

    Definitely a lot of nice ideas in there! Hope it’s not animation soup like the last ones.

  5. Sartoris says:

    So you mark the guys/things, and then press a button and the character shoots everything to bits without you needing to move a finger? Am I understanding this correctly? If so, I would like to cautiously exclaim DUMBED DOWN GRAAR! Ahem.

  6. Heliocentric says:

    If your game has ai which isn’t psychic you don’t need ambush super powers. I think thats the main thing i’m taking from this.

  7. Ashurbanipal says:

    But yes, the advantage stealth offers in a fight is intrinsic

    Doesn’t look like they’re going so much for stealth as for surprise. And I can’t think of many games where the element of surprise is used to any good effect. Usually its only advantage is getting off a couple of clean shots at an enemy, which is enough to alert everyone else and turn the game to normal shooter mechanics. I really like the idea of pulling off a sudden quickdraw that empties a room and disappearing before anyone catches you.

    “Like a panther…” Yes.

  8. Heliocentric says:

    @sart you shoot, the game just aims for you.

  9. Heliocentric says:

    Fear did suprise properly, a grenade into one group, snipe another pair and then sweep in with the shotgun for stragglers. But that said, you did have the bullet time magic power. But fear never aimed for you. I guess console tards need it.

  10. Ian says:

    “So to research for this game we played all the old Splinter Cell games, which I totally heart with every fibre of my being by the way, and I was like: Man, this is awesome but at the same time a pile of old shitwaffles. Am I right?”

  11. Dan says:

    In Soviet Russia, gun aims you!

  12. ZIGS says:

    Ubisoft will never make another Splinter cell half as good as the first one

  13. Heliocentric says:

    I need to add, by console tards i refer to whoever in microsoft and sony decided their systems don’t need mouse support, or some kind of awesome future true analogue controller.

  14. Sartoris says:

    The stealthy bits of this series remineded me for some reason of the Commandos series, which was my first foray into stealth games. I loved setting up my strategy/puzzle-solving and then watching it all fall into place perfectly. I wonder what it would have been like to be able to play Commandos in co-op. Oh well, reminiscence over.

  15. MrBejeebus says:

    I don’t know whether I like the look of this or not… it looks to be more stealthy than DA (which was shockingly bad) and at the same time, not.

    And Heliocentric, the analogue controls are alot better for movement in 3rd person, I use a 360 controller when I play most 3rd person games on pc and it makes it way easier, although aiming is piss poor.

  16. Rinox says:

    The last installment of the SC series was horribly ported to the PC. Double Agent, iirc, didn’t even have a proper ‘quit’ button in the main menu prior to being patched. The only way you could get out without rifling through all sorts of sub-pages was by opening task manager and killing it. It made me laugh and cry at the same time.

    Regardless of that, sticky cams still rock. Always will.

  17. Ian says:

    @ ZIGS: That’s true, Chaos Theory was thrice as good.

  18. LewieP says:

    I am going to admit, I am a little concerned. The prospect of a new Splinter Cell that changes things up a lot is pretty exciting, but from that trailer, it looks like they are making the game pretty automatic, which seems to be a trend in a lot of recent Ubisoft games.

    I hated PoP because it basically played itself. Hopefully I won’t feel the same way about conviction.


  19. SmallGods says:

    So… stealth it up, prepare and learn the area, approach your target, take them / it out in a mad flurry of violence, then dash away and try and hide again…

    Is no-one else seeing the Assassins Creed comparisons here? If I see Fisher leaping between drainpipes or hurtling over rooftops, my scream of “OMFG ITS JUST AN ASSASINS CREED MOD!” will deafen all those monks who spend hours in the mountains listening to the universe fart…

  20. Heliocentric says:

    I’ve actually been playing scct with the 360 controller, its lovely rushing up behind people them smoothly slowing down as you get closer. Indeed, when you don’t bother trying to shoot and go for a pure sneak its great. i want the bastard offspring of a mouse and 360 pad.

  21. Jonas says:

    JC Denton would not approve.

    On the contrary it looks like they’ve finally decided to do to Splinter Cell what Deus Ex did to Thief: the whole point of DX initially was that Warren was annoyed that he couldn’t just fight his way out of trouble if he got caught sneaking in Thief.

  22. Lilliput King says:

    Is it telling that the lead developer refers to “the right bumper” and “[pressing] Y”?

    These ideas dont seem to be intended for a PC audience, and I doubt that the game itself is developed with the PC in mind.

    Cool ideas though. The “last seen” shadow would actually be useful for us too.

    @Helio, I can’t think of a game that doesn’t appear to have psychic AI at times. I imagine programming AI that reacts fairly to every situation is pretty difficult to do from a programming standpoint, but also a design standpoint too (i.e., balancing for the singleplayer aspect).

  23. Jim Rossignol says:

    Is it telling that the lead developer refers to “the right bumper” and “[pressing] Y”?

    Depends whether you have a gamepad connected to your PC, I guess.

  24. Heliocentric says:

    Deus ex is just thief with guns?

    My most recent playthrough was with denton as a storm trooper who started off fights with a sniper rifle. Stealth barely came into it. Was quite refreshing.

  25. Lilliput King says:

    :D I do, but they aren’t usually the trapping of a PC gamer, and I wouldn’t consider using it for a game like this when a mouse is at hand. It’s still a shooter, after all.

    TBH I just use it for Braid and Spelunky. It may just be me as a PC gamer feeling easily aggrieved about this sort of thing, but to me it hints at a console focus.

  26. SlappyBag says:

    I like the idea of introducing the action like that but I do think that the whole marking system is a bit geh for anybody on PC. I for one can run into a room, three shots, three dead bodies – that isnt even guaranteed which makes it more interesting if I miss.

    That scene where he shot out the light and then the guard – why the hell would you need to mark that up, just shoot the light yourself. This whole thing reminds me a bit of VATS from Fallout 3.

    I like the pacing though, otherwise it would just be another samey Splinter Cell and the most annoying things about the others was the fact that being spotted was usually game over, in the sense that you died so quickly.

    Also that animation when he scoots along the side of the building is terrible – theres no weight in it at all.

  27. Serenegoose says:

    Heliocentric: There’s another way to do it?

    For some reason, my last play of DE I tried to use the basic pistol for as long as possible. Eventually ammo just stops dropping. Total downer. I must just be pretty terrible at the game though, as I found it exceptionally difficult without the anti-bullet AND anti-missile shields and a general attitude of CHARGE WITH A MACHINEGUN.

    I’m going to say that, for a marketing trailer where they only show you precisely what they want you to see whilst talking over it in that excited-yet-hushed tone they do, it actually looks alright. I’ve been asking for a stealth game where I played a spec ops uebermensch that could -actually fight- for a while now. Well, actually I was asking for a hitman game with some decent gunfights (read: not hitman 2) for a while now, but same difference. :P

  28. Heliocentric says:

    I completed deus ex with the minimum 3 kills and everyone else was a baton take down… Baton! Except the mib’s who explode, which i just evaded.

    Sometimes i hacked turrets and bots, but i just consider those kills the result of bad security, hardly my fault.

  29. Heliocentric says:

    Max melee+strength aug+baton=thwack

  30. Ian says:

    On the one hand I’d like Hitman to be better when it does come down to gunplay. On the other, if they did that I have concerns they would try to ensure it came down to gunfights more often, which would be rubbish.

  31. TwistyMcNoggins says:

    The day they make a Hitman with decent gunfights is the day I stop buying Hitman games.

    I also agree with everyone about the console focus of Conviction. There’s no way the originals could have been good if they’d have been developed alongside an Xbox version.

    OH WAIT.

  32. Xercies says:

    Damn you action games, why do you have to ruin stealth games.

  33. Howard says:

    While all this *looks* impressive it is another step away from gaming and towards *interactive films*. I am not, per say, opposed to such a genre, but the level of player involvement in this game when compared to, say, Splinter Cell 3 is minimal. If there is one legacy that the 360 will leave us with it is massive oversimplification. Designing games so that the game itself does most of the work without you having to learn an in depth control mechanism leaving you to simply leap about and look heroic and feel like you are good at games.

    I weep for our children as it grows less and less likely that they will experience the thrill of mastering a control mechanism and carrying out these actions for themselves. Whereas I can wax lyrical about the weeks spent perfecting my skiing, air-combat and O-Sniper licks in Tribes until I was finally able to step onto a clan server and really bust some heads, single-handedly turning the tide of the battle, their gaming memoires will instead be filled with “Remember when I took down that boss by holding the bumper button and pressing ‘B’? That was awesome…”

  34. MD says:

    Tom Clancy’s Man-Shooter Manager 2009

  35. autogunner says:

    now i have seen this action thing for real I am very excited, as the combat was always rubbish through the series.

  36. Deadjim says:

    By the looks of it Splinter Cell is gettin it own VATS system…although it also looks similar to the vegas tagging system except that you don’t have 2 extra spec ops buddies to do the take down once you tag em up.

  37. Lilliput King says:

    “I weep for our children”

    You don’t think you might be overreacting here a little bit?

    There’ll be a place for skill-based games. They aren’t going away just because some games have moved towards the more ‘film-ish’ end of the spectrum. Look at how dire PoP was.

  38. Nerd Rage says:

    I have to chuckle a little bit whenever I hear game developers use the words, “In reality…” while discussing a game of this type. I’m sure he’s drawing from his many years of experience single-handedly infiltrating hostile environments to perform espionage operations.

  39. Serenegoose says:

    Ian: That’d be my concern about hitman games as well, but as it stands, I get frustrated that it comes down to ‘the right way’ to complete the mission, because the moment that you get into a firefight, every single bad guy in the mission, and the one before and after it, turn up and start killing you. So I’d rather they put more effort into getting the gunplay -right- rather than avoiding it entirely and having a lesser game because of it. But I can appreciate the arguments of those who believe that hitman is purely a puzzle game that masquerades as a shooter.

  40. James-Kond says:

    I have understood that if you kill someone you gain points that you can use for those super awesome mark points, I think it was 2 kills 1 mark. But yeah it’s not that easy :P

  41. Bear says:

    This looks f’ing awesome

  42. mrrobsa says:

    Looks promising, pity they ditched the ‘crowd-stealth’ dynamic, but I guess they couldn’t get it working satisfactorily, and bits of it popped up in Assassins Creed anyway.

  43. armlesscorps says:

    Looks interesting but I am always wary when Ubisoft try something different because it often ends up sub-par. Far Cry 2 and Mirrors Edge were both espoused as being original and fresh but they were both underwhelming to me.
    Its a great idea for the series to change the gameplay into something more action based (stealth games are getting stale now) but its also hard to imagine how they will pull it off. They need to base the take downs on a lot of skill and nuance for it to work, and then they need to teach the player sufficiently so that they learn how to play well and feel real skill was involved.
    It looks like Sam’s still a pretty good shot, and its hard to see what reason they will give for Sam Fisher to not just tag the whole level then run around popping them off with headshots. Maybe they will make it so that Sam Fisher dies from one shot or something. If they could pull that off and make the game fair it could be real thrilling to pull off some kills knowing your always close to death.
    If they pull it off the way I imagine it in my head it could be absolutely amazing, but given that would require gamer skill to play, and the trend seems to be of dumbing down to appeal to the masses, this could also be really awful. It could be Assassins Creed 3..

  44. Radiant says:

    It’s one thing to complain that games are too hard or be scornful about boss fights and it’s another to cry foul when a dev makes things easier for you to do cool things.
    This game looks great; I was sceptical at first but this trailer shows me enough genuinely new gameplay mechanics for me to be excited about what they are trying to do.

  45. Captain Haplo says:

    This looks really awesome. It’s nice to see some of the ideas that have come out of this.

    I particularly like the Execute system. The ability to plan your attack without forgetting something in the excitement is quite cool.

  46. Radiant says:

    I weep for your children too.

  47. Dracko says:

    So essentially they’re aiming to remove as much skill as possible from the game and just want it to look impressively vicarious.

    Sounds like a natural progression after Assassin’s Creed and Prince of Persia, if you ask me.

  48. Bhazor says:

    Splinter Cell invented action stealth? Fuck off.

    Hell the first Metal Gear was in 1987. The year that also saw further innovation with the creation of my own bad self.

  49. Howard says:

    (sigh) Kids…

  50. Tim James says:

    What’s Viggo Mortensen doing up there in that Splinter Cell picture?