It’s 2002, and I’m renting some game called Splinter Cell from Blockbuster. After spending about an hour deliberating over the moral, emotional, and philosophical repercussions of my choice to ensure I had chosen the right game, I settled on it. The box promised ground-breaking stealth action, and hell I was 11 years old what did I know, the guy had on night vision goggles that’s all I cared about. I fired up the game and was kind of disappointed in the fact that it wasn’t Halo: CE, but as I figured out how things worked I stopped caring about trying to rack up the highest body count and started having a blast sneaking around like a ghost. I loved that series.
Now it’s 2012. I tried to play Splinter Cell: Double Agent, but really wasn’t into it. The series was starting to lose its stealth and starting to focus more on being “bad ass”. I didn’t even bother with Convictions, not because I heard it was short, but because it just looked so mediocre and boring. Now we have this.
It really speaks for itself. I remember being astonished by the trailer for Splinter Cell Blacklist at E3. Not the good kind of astonished. Splinter Cell seems to be one of the latest casualties in the on going war between major developers and the games that made them their money. Some things to take away from the trailer would be the blatant lack of stealth; for instance using an air strike to take out a machine gun mounted on the back of a truck instead of, oh, I don’t know, sneaking around it. Why do you need to use an air strike? Well partly because you have the President’s permission to do anything to “protect our laws” and partly because you just burst out of a tent and shot 4 people in the face. I’m not even going to go into the overt nationalism and blatant propaganda in the game.
This trailer here gives a little bit of hope, but still, the “stealth” in the game is literally just following a path that was laid out and conveniently easy to follow. Like one of the commenters on the video said, why play a game that plays itself? The one bit of stealth was the last part of the first area where Sam sneaks past the guard that was wearing blinders. Hopefully the FOV for the enemies will be widened, however.
These trailers by themselves aren’t so depressing, but their inclusion in a growing set of games that have been over-hauled to “expand the audience” is. I’m going to go play Chaos Theory and cry in the corner.