Splinter Cell: Blacklist Is Dressed For The Occasion

Our news cousins at VG247 have put together a new Splinter Cell: Blacklist video, with commentary from “cinematic director” David Footman. You can see that below. I have to admit I was a little bored by the last Splinter Cell game, despite its ultra-violence and clever presentation, and I wonder if this new game will be something of a return to form of more workmanlike shadow-lingering. It certainly all looks quite familiar, with hapless guards getting grabbed from behind, and that big American action man dressed in figure-flattering black. Ooh, stealthy.


  1. postwar says:

    Stealth has become 2012-13’s open world RPG. Has stealth ever been so important in so many AAA titles?

    • Heliocentric says:

      Is that a complaint? the alternative to some degree of stealth is enemies always knowing where you are.

      • postwar says:

        Not really a complaint, just interesting how even a game like Far Cry 3 has integrated stealth into the gameplay. And with Hitman, Dishonoured, Splinter Cell, Deus Ex: HR, Mark of the Ninja, it’s evident that stealth is the “in-thing” for developers. Even AC3 let you crouch at times (revolutionary, I know).

        Similar to how the COD style FPS ruled mainstream gaming in 2011.

        • TrueBlue says:

          “Similar to how the COD style FPS ruled mainstream gaming in 2011.”


          Similar to how the CoD style of FPS’s rule the gaming media, back from 2008 till this day forward.

          That’s more accurate, just because a game like Far Cry 3 uses other sorts of mechanics like stealth, if you can even call that proper stealth that is, doesn’t mean that the core gameplay for an FPS is still different which in this case it isn’t, gunplay wise.

        • InternetBatman says:

          Farcry 2 had some stealth in it, you could even buy camouflage and enemies would have a harder time seeing you. I think Far Cry might have even had some stealth.

    • Prime says:

      “Massive 12 hour action campaign! Lasts up to 60 hours if you renounce violence!”

      You could be on to something here…

  2. Squirly says:

    “All new gameplay!’

    What, again?

  3. KenTWOu says:

    And now every stealth pessimist should read this about new Perfectionist mode in Splinter Cell:Blacklist!

    On Perfectionist, you can’t resupply or change equipment during missions. what you start with is what you have to work with. You can still mark targets in order to track them, but the quick execute function no longer works. You have to take enemies out the old fashioned way [he means enemies deny melee attacks from the front] That’s made even more difficult by their more acute senses—they’ll hear you and come investigating much more frequently. To top it off, Fisher’s signature goggles don’t even see through walls anymore.

    • Syra says:

      Glory be! This is how I play conviction anyhow, and I love that game, despite the hatred… I was thinking meh at this new one, but more and more am I beginning to see it as a mix of the good from old and new splinter cells. I hope the level design and story delivers!

      • tobecooper says:

        I’m playing Conviction right now. Lay the love on me, because after the atrocious Iraqi level, I don’t feel like coming back to it. And I had low expectations! I think I might be playing it wrong, though – trying to be stealthy and no-killy, whenever possible. I believe I need to let go and just execute everyone and the fun will begin.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          Yeah, I think that level is meant to be all explosions and stuff. I’d call it a palette cleanser if I was being generous. Stick with it – some of the later missions are quite good.

        • Jonesy says:

          That level was terrible. Just push on through, and it gets way better. Also, find someone to do co-op with.

          • tobecooper says:

            Thanks, Lenny and Jonesy. The game does get back on track after that level. I’ve blown it out of proportion, because it really annoyed me when, suddenly, this very different Splinter Cell turned into a modern clunky, war shooter 679. And all that, just to deliver a little plot twist that wasn’t really needed.

            I’ve heard good things about the co-op campaign too, and I’m kicking myself for not buying the game in some 2pack.

          • Syra says:

            I could (and have) play the multiplayer all the damn day long, the coop is great fun and very satisfying but going up against a good friend in a stealth off is a sort of bliss to me.

    • Simon Hawthorne says:

      This does sound good, however it has has echoes of Hitman Absolution’s highest difficulty level. The problem there was:

      – No ability to save, so no ‘testing the limits’ of the level. If SC:B has check points and no ability to save, this will be detrimental to being able to the traditional SC type of play.

      – Building a game around certain systems (being able to see through walls, execute, etc) then removing those systems doesn’t make for a good game. This happened in Hitman where the game was built around instinct; removing instinct as an option didn’t make the game better.

      I enjoyed Hitman Absolution but the idea that the removing the systems that hardcore fans were dubious about made for a more traditional Hitman game was flawed. I have suspicions this will be the same.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Yeah, I know what you’re talking about, Simon. I love Hitman:Absolution very much and even beat it on Purist difficulty level after few patches which tweaked AI sensitivity and disguise system. I completely agree, Hitman was designed around using mini map or instinct, that’s why few levels have several infuriating blind spots, where you can’t walk undetected because you just can’t see the nearest NPC/enemy. For example, the second part of Terminus Hotel, the vent which leads from shoe salesman’s apartment. Without mini map you can’t see the charlady who could spot you while you get out of that vent. That’s why you must use another way to get a key card on that level. That’s why HUD-less Purist difficulty wasn’t properly balanced in my opinion.

        Anyway, I hope that Blacklist will be good on Perfectionist difficulty, cause even Conviction was partially playable with such limitations. And Blacklist already has more features to deal with large group of enemies. Features like gas grenades, shocker, whistle. And devs promise better level design without segments built around M&E feature.

  4. DrAmateurScience says:

    I gave up on Splinter Cell after, in the original, it took more shots directly to the head to take out an alert guard than an oblivious one.

    I admit I may have denied myself some great games but that’s unforgivable gameplay sin number 1 in my book.

    Arbitrary exclusions like this are the only way I can keep my ‘games I must play’ list to something even approaching a manageable level.

    • mckertis says:

      So you gave up on Thief series as well, i take it ?

      • DrAmateurScience says:

        They are on the list!

        They are no longer on the list!

      • Low Life says:

        Wasn’t Deus Ex one of these games, too? I almost never kill people in that game so I can’t be sure, but at least the sleep darts and stun prod work less efficiently against alert enemies.

        • DrAmateurScience says:

          Ok ok, maybe it’s not a hard and fast rule, but it vexes me nonetheless!

          • Outright Villainy says:

            Dishonored had it too for sleep darts, though you could upgrade it to be instant in combat if it bugged you enough. I like Metal gear solid’s way of doing it most, where a sleep dart to the heart/neck/head puts them down instantly, then takes longer depending on different places you hit them. In non-combat, you can take the time to line up that shot, but on alert its a lot harder to shoot outside centre mass, so its an effective punishment.

        • InternetBatman says:

          The new one is. I don’t know about the older ones.

  5. Aldehyde says:

    I still really dislike the way Sam looks when he’s crouched in these videos.

  6. yesterdayisawadeer says:

    Timer? TIMER?!! I hate timers with a passion. If there’s a timer I can’t really appreciate a game – I just rush to the objective screaming obscenities.

    • wodin says:

      me too…nothing worse..not sure how many games I’ve ended up quiting on due to a timed level..worse a timed level that requires precision key presses..

    • InternetBatman says:

      Absolutely. The worst offender is Pixeljunk Eden.

  7. DXN says:

    The stealthiest LEDs of all.

  8. DaftPunk says:

    Haha sure game can be playe stealthly,just look at freaking ai,its beyond stupid!

    • Demigod says:

      Ai in the last few years has increasingly been like this look at hitman and dishonored, small sight ranges very fixed paths. It looks very similar to hitman absolution in its detection abilities from that vid at least. The dog searches seem interesting though

  9. Demigod says:

    Really looking forward to it tbh I like all the splinter cells and to me at least this looks cool. :)
    Glad to know I can ghost it and while the timer could be detrimental it should/could add some tension and re playability to it.

  10. Chandos says:

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch the trailer past the point where he says “America has been attacked.” I know this sounds silly coming from a long time gamer, but I find the idea of a top secret operative with “the fifth freedom” kinda disturbing. Also have to admit, this is coming with my assumption that the game narrative will be another one of those “we are the good guys and that’s all you need to know about global politics of our times” stories.

  11. Ender7 says:

    Too bad this is marketing spin. Read the actual hands on impression. There are mandatory fight scenes like where you have fight, there was one where you had to defend a place against enemies coming in attacking you. Also, moments where control is taken away from you at certain locations so the character goes all rambo to get to the important NPC, regardless if you go stealth or not. Also, coming up with buzzwords like panther stealth, where you run up, quickly take out enemies and hide. Um, no. That is NORMAL run and gun action. Also, the level designs are uninspired, remember the awesome CIA level? These look like abandoned buildings, desert dwellings..etc. Boring and done to death.

    It is obvious from the beginning that they are focusing on the COD crowd from the first demonstration videos. This is marketing spin and nothing more. Splintercell Chaos theory was the best SC game EVER. Wish they would go back to that. It sucks to see a great franchise dumbed down for the crowd that have no attention span while pissing on the original fans. I hope someone kickstarts (because its obvious big companies will not do it) a true stealth/assassin game in the vein of SC:splinter cell, hitman (up to bloodmoney), and thief (not the new actiony one being made).

    • KenTWOu says:

      There are mandatory fight scenes like where you have fight, there was one where you had to defend a place against enemies coming in attacking you.

      So it has a scene like this one

      Wish they would go back to that.

      Check Clint Hocking’s Fault Tolerance GDC ’09 talk about Far Cry 2 on his blog. Where he admits that Chaos Theory becomes unplayable after detection phase:

      …generally speaking the game was so slow paced and so fragile and the consequences of getting kicked out of the execution phase were so extreme that when you weren’t killed outright by such an event, it was typically better to simply reload the game and try again anyway.

      Remember that Warren Spector created Deus Ex out of Thief frustrations. He wanted to make a game where you can sneak and fight. So stop dreaming about good old days. The game should support both action and stealth. Deus Ex/Dishonored/Blacklist way rules!