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.

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