Posts Tagged ‘Splinter Cell: Blacklist’

A Chat About Interior Design In Games, With Ubi’s Dan Cox

You can see the yellow and black markers if you peer closely

For no reason other than “We were at the same conference and his work sounded interesting” I ended up scheduling a meeting with Dan Cox. He focuses on level art at Ubisoft Toronto and his work has most recently appeared in Splinter Cell: Blacklist. He was in Paris to give a talk about interior design in games so it turned out he was more than happy to answer some of my questions about how artists make sense of spaces in video games*.

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Sneak A Peek At Project Stealth


It was way back in 2011 when RPS last covered Project Stealth, and even then Jim was commenting on how the previous video was released in 2009. That’s a long time for a game to make no visible progress. This should have been on my PC yearrrrrs ago. The promise is there, but they’ve yet to deliver the re-imagining of Splinter Cell’s Spy Vs Merc multiplayer mode that the original project was set-up to be. Thanks to an anonymous tip, written in invisible ink, on an exploding microfilm, I can tell you they’re still alive. The website has relaunched, with a few new screens and some information about where the game’s been all this time.
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Wot I Think – Splinter Cell: Blacklist


Splinter Cell is one of those series that suffers through repetition. There are so many of the buggers, the most recent being the borderline-psychotic Conviction, that only the die-hard keep track, and to everyone else it’s one amorphous blob of banjo-legged throat-slitting. But Blacklist is far more than a production-line piece of gristle. It’s not merely an exemplary slice of, forgive the oxymoron, action-stealth – but also contains the best Aliens game in years.

No you didn’t misread that, so hit the jump and find out why.
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STOP TELLING US THINGS ABOUT SPLINTER CELL

This is what it's come to, Ubisoft. You made me do this.

Do you like green goggles and Sam?

I do not like them, Sam-Fisher-I-am.

Would you like more Splinter Cell: Blacklist trailers here or there? In a house? With a mouse? Would you watch them in a box? With a fox? 

I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. I do not like them in a house. I do not like them with a mouse. I would not watch them in a box. I would not watch them with a fox. I do not like green goggles and Sam. I do not like them because you’ve released so many goddamn trailers, Sam-Fisher-I-am.

Oh. Well, here’s another that pretty much accomplishes what all the others did, but more succinctly and in a single go. Tehehehehehe. 

SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAM.

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Ghost Panther! Splinter Cell Blacklist Trailer #43,830

It is arguable that I have slightly misunderstood what this minute’s Splinter Cell Blacklist trailer is actually about, after I read that the video title was “Ghost Panther Assault”. But that isn’t going to change anything – I’m insisting that rather than being about Ghost, Panther and Assault modes, this is about Ghost Panther, the greatest hero of our time.

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Splinter Cell: Blacklist Trailer #43,829

Aha!

How times have changed. It used to be that the British ruling hawks would not allow our delicate eyes to witness a snapped neck. And madly recently, too. For instance, British viewers of Buffy were left completely oblivious to what happened Ms. Calendar, since the scene where Angelus unscrewed her head never appeared. She just stopped being in the show. Thanks, censorship! But now look at things – today’s trailer for Splinter Cell: Blacklist contains a neck-snapping scene that would have had the footage banned barely ten years ago. Also, SERIOUS TALK ABOUT HOW SERIOUS THE SITUATION IS.

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Hands On: Splinter Cell: Blacklist

The Go Ape level is great
I gassed a dog, wore its limp body like a stole, and threw the conked canine at a guard. Because of that my trousers are now more tactical, a room on my flying fortress has nicer decorations, and now I’ll have more information about missions. Splinter Cell: Blacklist is a bizarre game.
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Spam Fisher: Another Splinter Cell: Blacklist Video

I miss Clint Hocki'ng's Sam
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is basically Splinter Cell: Conviction 2. I spent a few hours with it last week and came to that conclusion, but I’m not allowed to say anything else. The NDA is watching me. That’s not a complaint, btw. I really enjoyed Conviction, and more of that will do me just fine. Anyway, I also think it’s obvious from the videos they’ve released that Blacklist is sitting on Conviction’s shoulders. There’s a bit in the video below where Sam has to break cover and chase the boss of a terrorist cell, which is one of the previous game’s more annoying additions to the series. They’ve brought the bad with the good.
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Mercy Me: It’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist Versus Trailer

How did he miss that shot?
I know it’s not cool to be excited about a new Splinter Cell game, but I think I’ve proven time and time again that being cool isn’t the first thing on my mind. So this post is a judgement free zone: feel free to declare yourself a fan of a series that people get rolly-eyed at. Be proud of your allegiances! So I am excited about Splinter Cell: Blacklist, because it looks like Splinter Cell’s greatest hits. They’ve taken all the good bits of Splinter Cell and crammed them together in the Conviction engine. One of those bits is the awesome Spies vs Mercs multiplayer. Want to see it?
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Man On Man Action: Splinter Cell: Blacklist Co-op Trailer

Don't deploy the lens flare during stealth shenanigans!
Wanted: one co-op partner for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Must enjoy crashing through doors simultaneously, long walks in the dark, and pretending that one of the character’s is still voiced by Michael Ironside. Preference given to someone that can quote Chaos Theory’s Sam/guard chats and those who would rather muck about with the AI over actually following the mission text. To be in with a chance, watch the video below and apply in the comments.
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Splinter Cell: Blacklist’s Spies Vs Mercs Video Decloaks

Guess which team I want to be on?
I am grumpy. In the world away from my desk and monitors, people have been meeting and playing Splinter Cell: Blacklist and I wasn’t invited. They were probably worried that having someone there who has completed every Splinter Cell, bar that rubbish one set in the prison, would mess up their plans. I might be disrupting their electrical flow of PR by dropping truth EMPs. Like pointing out that Ubisoft don’t understand what “Ghosting” means. They don’t want my truth making their screens all squiggly. The thing is, Ubisoft/The MAN, the video below of the Spies vs Mercs mode might have just won me over.
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It’s Back: Splinter Cell Blacklist’s Spies Vs Mercs Multi

Credit where credit’s due: Splinter Cell: Blacklist is looking significantly more like classic SC than Conviction or Double Agent – except, you know, when it’s really, really not. There’s pitch-black darkness and rainy atmosphere and the option to play without killing anybody (though non-lethal roughhousing  is, sadly, quite encouraged), so that’s a good-ish sign. But what of multiplayer? Conviction mystifyingly abandoned the series grimly satisfying, intriguingly asymmetrical Spies vs Mercs showdowns, so it’s good news indeed to hear that clandestine game of cat-and-mouse-and-AK-47 is making a return. Catch it after the break (courtesy of IGN) before it throws down a smoke bomb and places a not-so-gentle hand around your tenderest of neck regions.

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Silent Kill: Splinter Cell – Blacklist

The voice at the beginning of the new Splinter Cell trailer sounds a lot like Jigsaw, the dying/dead/metaphorical villain of the horrifically dull Saw series. This voice is threatening the whole of America though, which means he might not be Jigsaw, who is more likely to spend his time righting individual wrongs, such as finding a chap who inadvertently left the milk out of the fridge and sewing a cow’s udder to his bottom lip while perching him on a machine that converts his bumcheeks into burgers. The rotter! New Sam Fisher will deal with the Splinter Cell baddy and the video suggests he’ll do so by STALKING, STRIKING and SILENCING. He’s also magnetically attracted to helicopters.

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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.
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Ubi Promises Splinter Cell PC Won’t Suffer Ubidelay

Due to Sam's near-implausible predilection for green and practically superheroic feats, Splinter Cell was originally titled The Incredible Skulk.

Once upon a time, the Ubidelay was a dreaded and ponderous creature – the raging 18-wheeler we just knew would plow into high-profile PC releases at the last possible second, catapulting them clear into the stars of some far off month. But lately, its power has waned. Assassin’s Creed III only stumbled a few weeks behind its console counterparts, and Far Cry 3 didn’t miss a beat at all. Still though, there’s something to be said for “better safe than sorry,” so I checked in with Ubisoft on the status of Splinter Cell: Blacklist. In light of its newly announced August 20th release date, here’s what they told me.

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Splinter Cell: Blacklist Blacklisted From Pre-Aug Months

Can we have more screenshots of Blacklist that aren't in broad daylight, please, Ubisoft?

Have you been eagerly awaiting Sam Fisher’s sneaky, skulky return from wherever he’s been for the past few years? Well, how do you know he’s not already right in your living room? I mean, this man’s a near-future ninja. Look closely: are you sure that’s a lamp, and not a disarmingly spry geriatric infiltration machine with a lampshade expertly positioned atop his head? Here, let’s run a test. Try turning it on. Is the general bulbular region made up of three green lights? Also, did it kill you? Congratulations! You found Sam. Unfortunately, however, it looks like the rest of us are gonna have to wait, as Ubisoft’s sent Splinter Cell: Blacklist behind August’s all-too-distant frontlines. A delay heralding trailer’s after the break, courtesy of IGN.

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Eye Spy – Dark And Light In Splinter Cell: Blacklist

There really aren't enough atmospherically green-hued lighting fixtures in the real world.

Way back when Splinter Cell: Blacklist first leaped into the spotlight, it did so in a fairly strange fashion by, well, leaping into the spotlight. Instead of methodical skulking, we saw fast-paced hulking – in broad, nearly blinding daylight, no less. It felt bizarre, as though Sam had suddenly become some hard-charging young gun in his old age. Recent videos, however, have eased my fear the teensiest of bits on that front – first with some admittedly takedown-heavy stealth, and now by showing us just how much time and effort is going into getting various forms of light and darkness just right.

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Non-Lethal Nerve-Punching: Splinter Cell – Blacklist

Sam Fisher of Men deviates from the assault and battery that didn’t make him famous to demonstrate some of his shadowy, stealthy takedowns. It’s not the kind of stealth that involves shooting a light, becoming one with the darkness and leaving a group of men trying to work out how many terrorists it takes to change a lightbulb – instead, in Blacklist young (old?) Sam crouches behind crates and then punches people in the kidneys when they’re looking the other way. It may be non-lethal but there are going to be a few hospitalisations, that’s for sure.

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Don’t Worry, Though, Splinter Cell Still Has Stealth

For some reason, I always read it as Splinter Cell: Breakfast.

As Alec recently pointed out, Sam Fisher isn’t acting much like his old self these days. I mean, he’s technically gotten older, but – based on what we’ve seen so far of Blacklist – he may as well be some testosterone-bloated young gun who doesn’t play by the rules. Shoot this, break the arm of that, hold a man’s quivering neckflesh mere centimeters away from jagged glass’ unforgiving teeth. These are not the actions of a man for whom the stakes used to be “Get noticed and be totally disowned by your organization and country.” Now, though, Ubisoft’s trying to assure potential players that there’s more to the new Sam Fisher than meets the eye. He can still play non-lethal peek-a-boo with the best of them, Blacklist’s creators assert.

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