We were starting to grow suspicious. As the Winter marched on, as games like The Last of Us, Star Trek and, recently, Injustice: Gods Among Us were etched into a spot on the gaming calendar, it became doubtful that Ubisoft was merely emulating the stealthy Sam Fisher by concealing Splinter Cell: Blacklist’s anticipated “Spring 2013″ release date any longer.
Sadly, those inklings have now been confirmed. Rather than face off against Spring headliners like Gears of War: Judgement, BioShock: Infinite, Grand theft Auto V or the three aforementioned, Ubisoft has announced that Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be releasing on August 20, 2013 for its originally intended platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. No mention was given of the once-rumored Wii U version of the game, which is never a promising sign in official release-date announcement mythos.
Ubisoft hasn’t indicated why Splinter Cell: Blacklist was scaled back — the release date was conveyed through a new teaser trailer posted on IGN — but the end of Summer is usually treated by publishers as the industry’s next prime launch window after Spring. In this case even a minor development hiccup — a multiplayer lobby crash, an egregious mission load time, Sam Fisher’s night vision goggles spontaneously switching into disco mode — could have produced an abnormally long delay.
But it’s time we hope the developers at Ubisoft Toronto use well. The series has been through a lot of soul searching in the current generation, and coming off of 2010′s action-packed Splinter Cell: Conviction the animus for Blacklist appears to be accommodating the elements of stealth and open, frenetic combat, satisfying both the player who wants to be a badass in the light and the one who enjoys disappearing into the night. “A lot more diversity” is what director David Footman promised fans back in September, and we’ve seen both the discrete and destructive philosophies of Blacklist first hand thanks to the two gameplay walkthroughs Ubisoft provided for its E3 2012 demo.
We’ll be sure cover the reason for Blacklist’s delay if Ubisoft ever elaborates, but we’d rather a game smooth out every corner as opposed to cutting them.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist releases on August 20, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.