It's been awhile since the last installment of Splinter Cell, the beloved stealth action series from Ubisoft that starred Sam Fisher, one of the company's few 'iconic' heroes. Rumors of a new installment have been swirling around for awhile too.
Back in 2018, Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoet claimed that the company was “fighting for resource” to make a new game in the series. Naturally, Ubisoft CEO gets asked about Splinter Cell a lot, and says things like, “[it’s] a brand we talk about a lot,” and “stay tuned for more.” But today I saw this on the Twitterverse:
That’s Julian Gerighty, a creative director at Ubisoft making reference to a new Splinter Cell project with Dan Hay and Roman Campos-Oriola of Ubisoft Montreal. He even briefly changed his Twitter background image from The Division 2 to Splinter Cell. This is the kind of news that would get fans of the stealth action series excited if Ubisoft representatives didn’t immediately respond with a denial.
A Ubisoft rep told PC Gamer, "Julian was obviously joking as Julian likes to do. It looks like our creative directors are having fun right now. We do not have any announcements to make at this time.” Which I guess is a fair statement to make if you’re trying to keep these accidental reveals low key, but what’s odd is that the tweet remains up hours beyond an acceptable “delete it now or else,” window.
Even Dan Hay, the executive producer at Ubisoft Montreal who was one of the two people tagged, retweeted it. And about a half an hour after Gerighty followed up with a tweet telling people to stop retweeting his tweet because, “I may be in trouble.” A problem that would be solved by deleting the tweet.
That a new Splinter Cell is being made feels less like a surprise and more like an inevitability, but to see its existence acknowledged like this is really strange. My wife is convinced it’s some kind of bizarre meta-marketing stunt, and she’s probably right, but that doesn’t make this any less weird.
2013’s Blacklist was the last installment of the Splinter Cell series, which is pretty much a lifetime ago when you consider it was never brought to current-gen consoles. Ubisoft recast a significantly younger actor, Eric Johnson, as Sam Fisher with Ironside's apparent blessing and the desire to enhance the game with motion capture performance that would have tasked the then sixty-three year old Ironside.
A listing for "Splinter Cell 2018" appeared on Amazon Canada just a few months before E3 last year and immediately got noticed by Reddit, but it was quietly removed and turned out to be false. And not long after that Ghost Recon Wildlands featured a surprise appearance from Sam Fisher himself.