All the recent buzz surrounding the Tom Clancy video game universe has been focused on the return of the Ghost Recon franchise, after a five-year hiatus was tactically and summarily put to sleep this month by the successful redesign Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (read our review).

But even as the strategy-centric military shooter now aims to find its place among modern market-dominating goliaths Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, there’s another Tom Clancy title waiting in the shadows that, by and large, has far fewer contemporaries: Splinter Cell 6.

We’ve known Sam Fisher’s next saga to be in development ever since Jade Raymond, Ubisoft Tornoto’s Managing Director, began discussing it back in 2010. Very little has been gleaned about the game since, however, and even its real title (the series has never used numbers) – rumored in March to be Splinter Cell: Retribution – has never been confirmed to the public.

E3 2012 may be about to change that. According to a poster on the NeoGAF forums – who claims to have seen a promo for Splinter Cell 6 – the official title of the game will be Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Ubisoft will be pulling back the curtain on it come their E3 press conference.

Admittedly, such “reports” can be grain-of-salt, but Splinter Cell 6 has been posited for an E3 2012 reveal ever since missing out on E3 2011. Furthermore, the poster goes into greater detail, alleging to have seen our grizzled protagonist out of the shadows and, surprisingly, for what he’s been through, looking as good as ever:

Sam is looking good as always with no grey hair… full body suit, and his mighty night goggles, including a serious look on his face.

There’s more. Based on the NeoGAF’ers inferences from the promo, he asserts that Blacklist will be a direct sequel to Splinter Cell: Conviction. Each of the franchise’s iterations have shared overlapping storylines to a certain degree, but he claims that Sam will be fixated on hunting down enemies made during the last game – hence, the “Blacklist.”

Splinter Cell 6 blacklist e3

Will Sam be returning to the shadows in his traditional attire?

All of this concurs perfectly with the rumor last year that Splinter Cell 6 would directly tie the events of Conviction and be ready to release in 2012. (At this point, though, it will likely see a 2013 release due to an already-jam-packed Fall/Winter release calender.) How it does so and transmutes that to gameplay remains the real question. Splinter Cell: Conviction was a statement of sorts, an evolution that marked the franchise’s shift from the patient shadow lurking of Sam’s obedient past to the chaotic scrambling of his muddied present. It was when he truly went from being the hunter to being the hunted. Now that it appears he might be back on the prowl – and wearing his more traditional stealthy duds – will Ubisoft decide to bring back some of the hardcore, strategy-minded gameplay that endeared Splinter Cell to so many?

Not surprsingly, Ubisoft has yet to venture a comment on the rumor, as the unveiling is – was – intended to be a secret. Rest assured, we’ll let you know what happens; the developer takes the stage on Monday for their E3 press conference, and Game Rant will be there – night vision goggles tied tight.

Follow me on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: NeoGAF