Over the last few years, stealth-focused games have been on a downwards spiral.
Metal Gear is slowly fazing out since the release of MGS V: Phantom Pain. Even though Hitman reinvigorated the assassination genre, Agent 47's story concluded this year in IO Interactive's Hitman III. Because of this, the opportunity for another franchise to grasp the stealth-based genre remains wide open.
And I believe a new Splinter Cell adventure could fill that void.
8 Years And Counting...
Despite consistent episodes in the franchise, 2013's Splinter Cell: Blacklist did not meet Ubisoft's sales expectations. This forced higher-ups to pause further development of the series.
And given Ubisoft's expansion into big open-world endeavours like the most recent Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion, and live-service, multiplayer models through Rainbow Six Siege and The Division 2, Splinter Cell doesn't really fit the mold. The espionage thriller encapsulates self-contained set pieces, interwoven into a narratively-focused story, dissimilar to Ubisoft's current trajectory.
However, Sam Fisher has made a return through appearances in Ghost Recon Wildlands and Rainbow Six Siege. The agent will continue his cameo tour through the mobile game, Tom Clancy's Elite Squad, and even drive his own Netflix show.
It is safe to say that Sam Fisher is making a small comeback. With his pop culture presence growing across multiple mediums, isn't now the best time to give the spy his own brand new game?
Modernizing The Formula
Despite the stealth focus usually associated with Splinter Cell, the principles attached to the franchise can be slightly tweaked in order to accommodate Ubisoft's current portfolio.
As showcased by Rainbow Six, what once was a narrative campaign associated with the likes of Rainbow Six Vegas, Siege follows a multiplayer-driven experience.
Splinter Cell doesn't need to follow a similar shift per se. Rather, this showcases how the espionage franchise can weave its roots slightly. Like IO's Hitman, Splinter Cell could offer specific maps and locations that Sam Fisher can traverse through. And maps could be offered through yearly passes, therefore integrating Ubisoft's live-service model. All the while, generating an entirely new Sam Fisher tale.
Despite Splinter Cell mainly being a stealth-driven franchise, flexibility in how players could approach missions could be emphasized. Building off Hitman, Dishonored, and even Ubisoft's own Watch Dog franchise, players could be given the convenience of approaching an event silently or gun-blazing. Sam Fisher's series would be the perfect means of continuing this approach.
With co-op multiplayer being popular than ever before, Splinter Cell is the perfect opportunity to re-clinch this blueprint. Expanding on Blacklist's co-op mode, players could encapsulate different operatives, maybe those that appear in the new campaign. While PvP isn't outside the realm of possibility, given the fact that Blacklist had a Spies vs. Mercs 8 years ago. Whereas, personalization opportunities for operatives could be limitless.
Ubisoft is sitting on a gold mine of content, multiplayer capabilities, and unlimited scope. With fans constantly clambering for a new Splinter Cell adventure, in combination with Sam Fisher's recent popularity across different forms of entertainment, now would be the perfect time to re-introduce the cult classic.