Splinter Cell: Blacklist marks another revival, of sorts, after Ubisoft took a different direction in Conviction. Each new entry seems like an attempt to modernize and update the game, appealing to new fans and old. Its old-school sensibilities have proven problematic, according to Ubisoft Toronto lead Jade Raymond.
"One of the things that held it back is despite all of the changes that have happened over the years, it's still one of the more complex and difficult games to play," Raymond told Eurogamer. "Even though we do have core fans who are like, 'Oh, I want to have more of this experience,' when you play any other game that has stealth elements, they're all a lot more forgiving than Splinter Cell. I guess Splinter Cell stayed with the most pure approach to that stealth experience."
She says the complexity comes from the "planning phase," an important part of Splinter Cell games. Instead of assessing the situation as you move, it's important to map out enemy positions, look for cover, and plan a strategy. "By default there aren't many games where that's the phase. Most games you can walk in and you start shooting right away, or you just walk in and you improvise as you go along."
Blacklist, for its part, is attempting to bridge the gap with a "broader range of play styles." It rewards stealth for making it through a stage without a single kill, and the addition of "Perfectionist" mode. But some of Sam's movements are more automated, and you can shoot your way out of situations if need-be. Read our preview for more.