Splinter Cell's complexity held it back, says Ubisoft Toronto lead

Ubisoft's Jade Raymond says that Splinter Cell is still one of the most complex games out there, and Conviction is aiming to appeal to a "broader range of play styles."


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.

From The Chatty
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    April 23, 2013 11:45 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Splinter Cell's complexity held it back, says Ubisoft Toronto lead.

    Ubisoft's Jade Raymond says that Splinter Cell is still one of the most complex games out there, and Conviction is aiming to appeal to a "broader range of play styles."

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      April 23, 2013 12:00 PM

      I wish I was a "modern gamer" instead of some old fart who likes to have to think in video games instead of "PUSH A FOR AWESOME", then I could enjoy video games again instead of being a bitter spent husk of a gamer.

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        April 23, 2013 12:07 PM

        Preach it brother.

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        April 23, 2013 12:09 PM

        Push A? Please, that's as antiquated as thinking: "You can climb up, do 3D navigation and jump over things without thinking too much or pressing buttons," Raymond said.

        Get with the times, Haxim.

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      April 23, 2013 12:20 PM

      I just want to play the game. I've liked all the other games and I'm sure I'l like this as well. Don't care about how it used to be. If its good. Ill play it. If its bad I wont. If it atrocious Ill get my money back.

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      April 23, 2013 12:21 PM

      I can see that in some ways. If they went the Alpha Protocol way of being talk, sneak or fight it out, then it'd just be mad awesome.

      But what they mean is that you can shoot your way out.

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      April 23, 2013 12:44 PM

      SC was always too fiddly for its own good. Sounds good to me.

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      April 23, 2013 3:09 PM

      A game doesn't have to sell trillions to be good or worth developing. It has to turn up a profit and generate demand for a sequel.

      What they mean by holding back is it will never attain CoD or World of Warcraft status. That facetious in thinking. Not every game has to appeal to the broadest possible audience. They just have to appeal to a large enough niche and turn up a healthy enough profit.

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        April 23, 2013 6:28 PM

        You would be shocked by the names and numbers of recent AAA critical darlings that failed to turn a profit. You can't make high fidelity experiences in most genres/settings without spending tens of millions of dollars. If you want those experiences to exist at all, they have to be made to address an audience big enough to justify the exorbitant cost. There is sadly no middle tier left for developers.

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          April 24, 2013 5:21 AM

          As far as I'm aware, even Modern Warfare managed to turn a profit. The problem has been unrealistic expectations from publishers, like Square throwing Enix under the bus because Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution were only profitable but not profitable enough to pay off all of the money Square is wasting.


          Square Enix did not disclose exact sales figures or projections, but said it expected to sell 2-2.5 million units of Sleeping Dogs in Europe and North America; 4.5-5 million units of Hitman: Absolution worldwide; and 5-6 million units of Tomb Raider worldwide.

          Look at that bullshit. That's what's wrong, there's middle tier, just publishers don't care about it anymore and will blame their studios instead of themselves.

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      April 23, 2013 4:05 PM

      I think I just heard Clint Hocking and Patrice Désilets simultaneously going, "DAAAAAAAAAAA!!"

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      April 24, 2013 5:17 AM

      Splinter Cell: Conviction was awesome! It had a lot of replayability for me in Single Player and Co-Op with my brother. I cannot wait for this next iteration as it looks like they are keeping pace with SC:C, with exception to the bots and external gadgets which I never liked in games.

      For instance, I am more of an infantry only person. I am this way in Battlefield, Arma, and in any other games that have vehicles. I don't want to control anything besides my character, or in this case my Sam Fisher. /Rant over...

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