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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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31. Re: Ubisoft: Complexity Holding Back Splinter Cell Apr 24, 2013, 00:03 Jerykk
siapnar wrote on Apr 23, 2013, 17:12:
Speaking of stealth and simplicity, the new Hitman game's AI is pathetic. I played some of it on expert and had baddies standing over bodies and saying "what happened here" or something like that, then BAM they're dead.. fiber wire dead.
Then their pals show up and do pretty much the same thing.

And even when they were aware of my presence, they all bundled up together and missed shooting at me while I popped heads.
On a couple occasions they just kept firing into a wall 12 feet from me.

If I hadn't killed anyone but someone was confronting me, they wouldn't fire upon me unless I shot them, even if I had unholstered my gun and aimed it at their head.
In one instance the head of security (it was evident) caught me crouching behind him with a knife and said "that's not a toy you're holding, you know".
I proceeded to put it into his face. Fuckin idiot.

I was really surprised at how shitty the AI is.

On a positive note, the graphics were gorgeous, level design pretty sharp and ragdolls much improved from the ridiculous ones of the past games.

But seriously, WHEN are developers going to put effort into AI???
Graphics now are good enough for christ's sake

Absolution's AI did have some problems but it was impressive in many ways. For example, if you shoot a bullet near an enemy's head, he'll recognize that a bullet just whizzed past his head and react appropriately instead of just turning around and staring at the bullet hole. Also, when a group of NPCs hear a suspicious noise, the one closest to the noise will go over and investigate while the others hold their ground. Of course, there were some arbitrary limitations to this. Thrown objects could only distract two NPCs at a time, even if more than two were within the sound radius. Bullet impacts could distract three. Explosions would distract everyone and send them into a permanent alert state with random patrols.

Absolution's AI was by no means perfect but it was definitely a step up from most other games. Giving AI actual memories and a way to understand context is the next big step. NOLF2 had some of this, with NPCs noticing when things weren't in their default state, like doors being left open or lights being turned on/off. I think Chaos Theory had some of that too, with NPCs noticing broken locks and such. Instead of focusing on making stealth games more visceral and cinematic, they should focus on making NPCs smarter.

Stealth doesn't have to mean no combat. Rainbow 6(Ravenshield and before) was all about stealth... until you had to execute your carefully orchestrated plan to complete the mission. You spent most of the time tactically and stealthily advancing to good positions so you could even attempt to beat the level.

As far as ghost, you can ghost the vast majority of Metal Gear Solid, but there are certain combats you must encounter, though you can finish them by non-lethal means. I would call MGS a ghost capable game, regardless.

The R6 games mainly required stealth because if alarms were sounded, hostages would be killed or bombs would explode. As such, getting into a firefight usually resulted in mission failure. The combat was limited to quickly and quietly dispatching enemies before they could fire a shot.

As for MGS, I assume you're talking about the first PSX one. You could ghost through most of that, except for the boss fights and Meryl rescue sequence. The later games had more unavoidable confrontations and action sequences.

The most retardedly simplified and easy "stealth" game of the last few years gotta be the over-credited Dishonored.

"Huh who's that?"
"Oh guess I'm just seeing things haha! :D"

Don't use blink? There's only one section in the entire game that requires blink. If you think it's overpowered, don't use it. Stealth has always been about self-restraint. Even in Thief, it's not hard to incapacitate every guard you see. That said, if you try to ghost your way through Dishonored and steal every piece of loot, the challenge feels sufficient on the highest difficulty (which gives the AI faster detection times). If you played through Dishonored on normal difficulty, incapacitated every guard you saw and used blink all the time, you really aren't in any position to complain about difficulty.

This comment was edited on Apr 24, 2013, 00:14.
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