A report surfaced in October that said Ubisoft had greenlit a Splinter Cell game. But instead of letting that report linger, Ubisoft has not only confirmed this Splinter Cell‘s existence, but also that it will be a remake of the first title from 2002.
This won’t be some sort of remaster either since Ubisoft said it will be “rebuilt from the ground up” and also use the publisher’s Snowdrop engine. Snowdrop has been behind a whole slew of Ubisoft titles like both The Division games, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and South Park: The Fractured but Whole in addition to the upcoming Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, XDefiant, and Ubisoft Massive’s Star Wars title. This engine will allow for dynamic lighting and shadows, which fits for a series all about hiding in the dark.
Ubisoft also confirmed that Ubisoft Toronto would be the main studio behind it, which most recently led Far Cry 6 as well as Watch Dogs Legion and 2013’s Splinter Cell Blacklist. The publisher released a short video reflecting on that first game, which revealed some of the game’s creative talent. Chris Auty will be its creative director and is known for his work at Crysis developer Crytek as well as Far Cry, a series he has contributed to at both Crytek and Ubisoft. Patrick Ingoldsby will be its art director and was an art director on games like Watch Dogs: Legion and Watch Dogs 2. Matt West will also be its producer and worked Blacklist as well as a handful of Far Cry games. West even spoke to why this is a remake and not a remaster and how the team is keeping the linearity and general design goals of the original.
“To me, a remake takes what you’d do in a remaster and goes a little bit further with it,” he said. “The original Splinter Cell has a lot that was amazing and revolutionary at the time it came out, 19 years ago. The gaming public now has an even more refined palate. So, I think it kind of has to be a remake as opposed to a remaster. Although we’re still in the very earliest stages of development, what we’re trying to do is make sure the spirit of the early games remains intact, in all of the ways that gave early Splinter Cell its identity. So, as we’re building it from the ground up, we’re going to update it visually, as well as some of the design elements to match player comfort and expectations, and we are going to keep it linear like the original games, not make it open world. How do we make sure that new fans are able to pick up the controller and dive right in, and fall in love with the game and the world right from the get-go?”
Linearity is likely going to please a lot of fans since many probably assumed it would be an open-world game, given Ubisoft’s constant output in the genre. But it seems as though the team knows the type of game it is remaking and is even using the original’s tagline — “Stealth Action Redefined” — as a North Star, something Auty explained by saying that having that satisfying sense of mastery is something the team of “stealth purists” is striving to achieve and is “very, very aware of.” West reiterated that notion while also circling back to the importance of Splinter Cell‘s linear but dense environments that are a “guiding light” for this remake.
“One of the things that, from my point of view is really exciting about this project, is that the last couple of games all of us have worked on have been really big worlds,” he said. “What that means is that the economy of decisions is very spread out, whereas what I love about a Splinter Cell map is every square inch represents intentionality. Every square inch is part of a choice, or directly offers a choice, or has a direct ramification. That density of gameplay is at the forefront in Splinter Cell, and that’s going to be really, really important for us. The gameplay experience we are targeting is directly tied to what we want players to feel, to capture the essence back when we were all playing the original games.”
Technical Producer Peter Handrinos also explained that the long time between entries has allowed the studio to explore every aspect and innovate where it makes sense to bring it up to modern standards. West added that Ubisoft Toronto wants to make something new players will like while also appealing to established fans. These team member repeatedly emphasized that this remake would get what made the first trilogy so good while also looking forward when appropriate. Auty even went a step further, calling this “a solid base for the future of Splinter Cell.”
Given how Ubisoft is hiring up for this game, just recently greenlit it, and had nothing to show, this remake likely won’t be out some time. Ubisoft didn’t give any sort of release window or platforms either.