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Ubisoft: Complexity Holding Back Splinter Cell

Eurogamer has comments on Splinter Cell: Blacklist from Ubisoft Toronto's Jade Raymond, who discusses how the series has "stayed with the most pure approach to that stealth experience" over the years. Though she doesn't come out and say the game is being simplified for its upcoming installment, she does comment that there is a feeling among the executives at Ubisoft (surely hardcore gamers) that the Splinter Cell video games could be more popular but for their complexity: "One of the things that held it back is despite all of the changes that have happened over the years, it's still one of the more complex and difficult games to play," she tells them. "Even though we do have core fans who are like, 'Oh, I want to have more of this experience,' when you play any other game that has stealth elements, they're all a lot more forgiving than Splinter Cell." She goes on to talk of a "broader" experience which can allow for more of an action/game experience:

"We brought back the purest hardcore version, which is, you want to ghost through the level and get through it without killing a single person. Every single thing you want to do you can do in a non-lethal way. That requires the most planning and being the most strategic.

"You can even play that in Perfectionist Mode, which means if you want you don't have any of the added things, such as Mark and Execute, that make it easier.

"That's for those who want to plan it out and feel really smart, and, 'I'm going to use the Sticky Cam with the Sleeping Gas and them I'm going to whistle and the guy's going to come,' and do the full set-up."

By default, though, Splinter Cell: Blacklist offers a more "fluid, modern play-style", Raymond explained, which helps Fisher navigate the 3D environments without the need for as much interaction on the part of the player.

"You can climb up, do 3D navigation and jump over things without thinking too much or pressing buttons," Raymond said.

"Sam does it automatically. The Killing in Motion, being able to Mark and Execute while moving through the map, makes it much more accessible to more of an action gamer."

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21. Re: Ubisoft: Complexity Holding Back Splinter Cell Apr 23, 2013, 15:55 Jerykk
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 23, 2013, 14:05:
Jerykk wrote on Apr 23, 2013, 12:31:
combat should never be a viable option in any stealth game

And that's why I hate stealth games. I like screwing up and having that "holy crap holy crap holy crap" adrenaline chaos of blowing off heads and running for some ductwork and praying that the shots I'm firing land and they shots they aren't don't.

And then I get annoyed that I can just hide in a duct and wait. In better games I can't, so I pop out of the duct on the opposite side of the room and resume taking people out.

But I hate most stealth games. They always feel more like quicksave adventures than other games, and most stealth games are less about doing things right and more about doing them how the level designer hoped you would. Sure, you can go through a level a dozen ways, but a dozen ways that were programmed. This elevator works but that doesn't. Stuff like that. Thief games didn't do this, but man, the Splinter Cell and Hitman games I played certainly did.

The levels in Thief are just as designed as the levels in SC and Hitman, though I guess it depends on which iterations you played. SC: Chaos Theory and Hitman: Blood Money had the most open-ended levels of their respective series.

To me, the appeal of stealth games is perfectionism. Figuring out how to get through a level undetected and leaving no trace behind is tremendously satisfying if the levels are open-ended and AI reactive enough. It essentially becomes a puzzle game that requires a deep understanding of level layouts and AI systems. If I'm detected, I consider that a fail state, even if I'm technically able to recover and progress. Engaging in combat isn't even an option in my mind. If I wanted to fight, I'd play an action game.
 
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