After eight years of radio silence, Ubisoft are finally bringing Sam Fisher in from the cold, as they've just announced a remake of the original Splinter Cell. In keeping with the series' stealth roots, the game was announced with little to no fanfare this evening via a blog post, with Ubisoft declaring its existence along with some developer chat before scampering back into the shadows. Typical.
According to said blog post, the game is being developed by Ubisoft Toronto, who have most recently been responsible for the likes of Far Cry 6 and Watch Dogs Legion. If that has you worried that Splinter Cell is suddenly going to be stuffed through Ubisoft's open world machine, then you needn't fret, as Toronto do have some history with the series, having made the last entry in the series, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, back in 2013.
It will likely be a good few years before Splinter Cell Remake sees the light of day, though, as Ubisoft begin their blog post with an image saying they're now hiring for it. Still, the blog post states Splinter Cell Remake is being built from the ground up in Ubisoft's Snowdrop engine (the same one being used to create their upcoming Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora game), and will feature modern, "next-generation" visuals and dynamic lighting and shadow effects. All the good stuff you'd want from a remake of a classic stealth game.
"Although we're still in the very earliest stages of development, what we're trying to do is make sure the spirit of the early games remains intact, in all of the ways that gave early Splinter Cell its identity," says producer Matt West. "So, as we're building it from the ground up, we're going to update it visually, as well as some of the design elements to match player comfort and expectations, and we are going to keep it linear like the original games, not make it open world."
Technical producer Peter Handrinos is also keen to emphasise there are "a lot of [Splinter Cell] vets" working on the game, but most of the key talent who worked on Blacklist have either since left the company or moved on to other studios. One person who definitely won't be returning is Splinter Cell: Blacklist's director Maxime Beland, who resigned from the company last year following allegations of assault.
In slightly happier news, it would appear this announcement is laying the groundwork for a lot more than just this one game, as creative director Chris Auty closes out the interview by stating that, "With this remake, we are building a solid base for the future of Splinter Cell," which hopefully means Sam Fisher hasn't entered retirement just yet, and is still on active duty.
It's also worth noting that the employee group ABetterUbisoft launched a petition last month seeking public support for their demands for reform at the company, following allegations of widespread harassment and discrimination.