It was all very fluid and technically impressive. What was missing? Well some would say everything that made Splinter Cell Splinter Cell. Splinter Cell: Blacklist was becoming Black Ops and although the narration from the development team emphasized that Sam would have a multitude of options to reach his objective, they only showed one. See a terrorist? Kill him with bullets. See a sentry? Pull him off the rooftop. See some guys standing in a pool of water, unaware of your position and already out of your path? Throw some gadget in there to electrocute them before moving on. Kill everything in your way. They’re terrorists, you know. What was lacking was the stealth techniques, the hiding in plain sight, the shooting of light sources to mask your presence. It was easy to see why fans would feel betrayed as Ubisoft began to create Splinter Cell 6 for the crowd with the surgical precision of a sledge hammer mounted to a freight train.
It is time to calm down. More footage has been released and shows Sam up to his old tricks. He is shooting out lights, hiding behind copy machines, taking out baddies while sliding on ceiling-mounted pipes. It’s the Splinter Cell fans know and love. Yes, the less-hardcore player can shoot their way through most of the game without having to resort to ninja tactics. Yes, Sam can call in airstrikes now. That does not matter. They are not necessary. These are options afforded to players and they do not need to be used. There is nothing worse than opening up your bag of tricks and realizing you have nothing. It can create humorous games of cat and mouse, but the majority of the time, it results in frustration and loss of interest. Stealth is there for those who want it. Action is there for those who want it. In the same game, no less. What is so bad about that?
Games are becoming increasingly more expensive to create. Existing franchises need to adapt to changing markets and sell enough to stay profitable. Games are still a business. Fans should be happy that Splinter Cell 6 is coming out, that it has stealth options, that it has familiar themes, characters and gameplay. The fact is that stealth games are a niche market. When something as easy as being seen happens, it is nice to know you can fight your way out of a bad situation. Purists can always restart from checkpoints if they want to challenge themselves, but true fans should be happy that the franchise will be sold to more people, the brand will grow and hopefully continue to renovate while maintaining its original identity. If you are truly a fan of Splinter Cell, be an ambassador of the brand, not an agitator.