‘Splinter Cell: Blacklist’ Gameplay Trailer Brings Back the Stealth

Published 2 years ago by

2010’s Splinter Cell: Conviction brought Sam Fisher a long way from his mid-aughties hedey of silence, shadows, and frequent no-kill/no-detection missions. Just as Sam’s government superspy status was stripped away, so, too, was the imperative of invisibility, those ever-present tracks to be hidden at all costs.

But stealth has always been a staple of Ubisoft’s legendary franchise, and for Splinter Cell: Blacklist, fans have been eager to see how the team in Toronto is re-incorporating the style back into gameplay. While the latest gameplay trailer from the developer doesn’t delve into any new mission or story territory – it’s the same level shown in the Blacklist E3 and Gamescom trailers – it serves as a road map for the non-lethal approach.

Dubbed “Ghost Style,” the trailer is narrated by Splinter Cell community developer Zach Cooper as Sam once again thwarts enemy patrols en route to a terrorist leader’s compound. Splinter Cell: Blacklist puts Sam in command of the newly-minted Fourth Echelon (in lieu of Third), and Jadid, his current target, is one of many threats in the game believed to be plotting an attack on the United States.

Splinter Cell Blacklist Stealth Combat

Sure, Blacklist fans could breeze through the level wearing a blindfold at this point, but Ubisoft clearly wants to instil their message of “your-way” gameplay. In the end, it’s definitely worth witnessing. The way Sam masters his environment, the way he studies pedantically every pathway, enemy, and ability at his disposal in order to remain unseen – those are mechanics that should always have a home in Splinter Cell and even in rough pre-alpha form, there’s reason to believe Ubisoft is keeping them in mind. At any rate, the trailer is a noticeable departure from the frenetic motion killing/Mark-and-Execute demonstrations of the past.

There’s a lot more to learn about Splinter Cell: Blacklist. As assiduous as Ubisoft has been in guarding the stealth elements promised for Sam’s return, we haven’t seen the action set outside the Mirawa village above, or a city rooftop in a teaser trailer. We haven’t seen gameplay where Splinter Cell truly shines: in the darkness.

Splinter Cell Blacklist Stealth Trailer

Ranters, we’ve asked before, but after seeing Blacklist’s pre-alpha stealth gameplay (as Cooper notes, non-lethal animations haven’t even been added yet), which combat style are you eager to use in Sam Fisher’s next outing?

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is slated for a Spring 2013 release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, with a possible Wii U edition in development. A rogue Amazon UK listing last month hinted a date of March 29.

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

TAGS: PC, PS3, Splinter Cell, Splinter Cell Blacklist, Ubisoft, Xbox 360

  • genericiz3d

    Good to see! That was awesome. Can’t wait for Blacklist.

  • jwalka

    i told you people they would show love to the fans of the series. this makes the game more appealing to me as well b/c i like the nice blend between rambo and leon the professional ;P

  • Ken J

    Oh yah, “stealth” with those three glowing green lights at the end of his NVG’s… Riiiigggghttt. NOBODY will see 3 glowing green dots in the pitch black darkness of the night or anything…

    • jwalka

      pre-alpha gameplay buddy, if you noticed he walks and later jumps over a ledge right next to bad guys and they dont notice him at all 😛

      i have faith though, since i know that they’re trying to appeal to everyone and not just big nostalgic babies (aka us older gamers).

      • http://Gamehermits.wordpress.com Josh Calkins

        This worries me too. He didn’t say that their obliviousness was from pre alpha state. What if he just knew the AI and cones of vision, etc, well enough to remove challenge, realism and uncertainty? I’ve been there with many games, and it is a sad state of affairs. It fits right in with the untechnical ease with which Sam seems hidden enough, dark and quiet enough without checking any sound or light meters, or ever worrying that someone actually spotted him… Ominous weakness of stealth elements here.

        • jwalka

          he said multiple times that the game is in alpha stage which means that this is only the base game, they will no bought fix the enemy cone of vision, add more stealth elements and fine tune the stuff fans are crying about.

          imo the game looks and sounds fine, they just need to fine tune certain elements and add more stealth features to add variety – cater to everyone.

          judging a game based on pre-alpha footage is pretty childish considering that the game comes out mid next year (or a little earlier). this will end up like the new hitman – over time they will reveal more that will calm the fanboys down.

          • http://Gamehermits.wordpress.com Josh Calkins

            Well, I think you’ve implied that I personally: wasn’t paying attention, am “crying” and also that I am childish… But setting that trash aside, here’s my valid thought: Saying the game is pre-alpha does not in any way imply which elements will change or how much, or to what degree the developer understands the current weaknesses. He specifically mentioned a lack of non-lethal animations, yes, but I would have liked to hear him say that the enemy awareness is not at all what they plan to implement yet, and that the ease of his passing was not indicative of the flow or tension that the final product is hoping to achieve.

            Alarmingly however, this demo was shown to the public specifically to show the quality of the stealth option! If I were complaining about some animations or the rough look of this or that, then your dismissal of my concerns would be more valid, but the fact is that the very intention of this reveal is at odds with its current level of quality, and that concerns me greatly. Many more comments about the specific planned evolution of stealth elements would have alleviated my concern, but what I saw and heard was not a developer who was a bit embarrassed by the early state of the game, so much as a developer who (perhaps tentatively) feels that stealth is really coming together. The message I took away was that they are thinking about Stealth, and may yet make it cool, but that they have not yet pulled it off at all, unlike the polished looking action sequences. If they wanted stealth fans to feel optimistic, then in my opinion they did not succeed. I want more info on the improvements and concepts that are planned, to make up for the fact that the “don’t worry about the strength of the stealth” video gives me every reason to worry about it. SC and MGS should be setting the standards the way they used to, not shoe horning in boring steal options to shut up the older fans of the series, which is how I feel about the video. I am still hopeful for the game, and I do think it will be fun, but that’s another subject. Aside from the doggie, this felt like a dull alternative to the action oriented nature of their designs. I’d like to think that the game deserves multiple plays for the alternatives offered, but I don’t see that YET. Hopefully we will all think it’s great when it arrives…

    • AmazonKendall

      They’ve already explained that the goggles only show up for the sake of helping the player keep track of Sam. Think of them as UV lights or something like that.

      • Ken J

        Actually, that would have been better represented by an infrared beacon on his back or helmet…

      • Ken J

        And I’m sorry, that’s a lame excuse. That whole NVG’s with the lights in the front (objective) lens thing is done by every low-budget crappy B-movie because they think it looks cool. That’s the real reason they did it for this game… I wish people will just be honest instead of trying to make up these lame excuses that don’t even make any sense…

    • ATG

      @Ken J,

      They’ve been using those NVG since day one with Sam. Why he still wears it is beyond me… I guess it’s his signature.

      • Ken J


        Yah, I know, and I’ve made fun of them from day one, lol. 😛

      • http://Gamehermits.wordpress.com Josh Calkins

        Firstly, it is the character’s visual signature as you say, needing only three green dots to identify the franchise and Sam too. That being said, and setting aside realism, when they took his goggles away it seemed like a departure from the franchise…and it was. Thematically I like having them back, and hope that represents a genuine return to stronger stealth mechanics. Not yet evidenced though…

    • https://www.facebook.com/DownloadableConflict TaboriHK

      They do that for the player and have done that in most of the games. If you see in Pandora Tomorrow/Chaos Theory in spy vs. merc, playing as a merc, the spies are pitch black including their goggles. It’s just to help the player have visual reference when moving through darkness.

      • Ken J


        If it is to help the player have visual reference, would be better to have an IR beacon instead. First of all, you will probably see your character’s back more than the front, so the lights on the front wouldn’t help as much as an IR beacon or IR tape on his helmet would…

        • https://www.facebook.com/DownloadableConflict TaboriHK

          I didn’t make the games.

  • D

    Still looks bad.Nothing like the earlier games.

  • http://Gamehermits.wordpress.com Josh Calkins

    A stealth is looking better, but kinda seems like an alternative to every interesting thing the level has to offer. I want stealth more than action, but simply avoiding those guys with the boring cliff, only to NOT blow up a car, then NOT use the fancy new combat mechanics… Shouldnt there be more of an intrigueing payoff to your stealth? I don’t want to feel like I skipped all the interesting designs and set piece moments because I went dark. Also, if they are trying the Rainbow 6 inverted rappel and incursion trick, I really wish that they would flp the camera perspective. It’s fake feeling without adding that gimmicky challenge, more like spiderman than Sam to me. Inverted room clearing is awesome. Try R6 Vegas if you disagree! It’s co op too…

    • ATG

      @Josh Calkins,

      Agreed. It’s looks like he just went around everything. I’ll rent this but I miss the old Sam.

    • Merciful Rao

      Im thinking each level would have different stealth options.

      • http://Gamehermits.wordpress.com Josh Calkins

        I surely hope that each level offers compelling, unique stealth options… But they didnt show that here. I am also not satiated by the simple statistical payoffs of stealth completion times, silent mission “credit” of any sort, or the mildly compelling achievements for such efforts. I want stealth to be tense and methodical, sure, but also feel as rewarding as the action option, which still seems to be the unfortunate single focus of the game. If they make this feel like the original trilogy, with action alternatives, I will be thrilled, but this walk through is not fixing my fears…

        Furthermore, the ever-younger Sam that goes hand in hand with the increase in mainstream blockbuster action, and the almost total loss of defining stealth elements, is always disheartening. See the new MGS pic of Snake? Kojima had the guts to let his protagonist get old in the last game, and now when a replacement seemed inevitable, he gives us an even older Snake! nicely done.

        • jwalka

          pre-alpha = no where near done, this is probably the only level they’ve made so far and will probably be way more diverse in the final build of the game.

  • vain

    I’m still going to buy and play this but for the hard core stealth players, they should really show a mission at night or something.

  • Merciful Rao

    Only thing that bothers me is Sam seems to be getting younger lol

  • https://www.facebook.com/DownloadableConflict TaboriHK

    The stealth highlighted some weaknesses in the system. I guess we’ve returned to the MGS1 days of hilarious tunnel vision. Hopefully that’s worked out by the time the game is finished. Also, least believable dogs ever.