Ubisoft’s E3 2021 presentation has come and gone, and we bet you can’t guess what wasn’t shown. That’s right, Splinter Cell, the long-running stealth franchise beloved by millions did not appear at E3 for the seventh year in a row.
The last mainline entry was 2013’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, but since then, Ubisoft has not seemed interested in bringing the franchise back — instead opting to place the game’s main character, Sam Fisher, into other games, or even other mediums, such as a newly announced anime (no, we aren’t kidding).
Ubisoft seems interested in doing everything with the Splinter Cell series — except for making a brand new game.
But first: What are your favorite games and platforms of 2021, and what future releases are you most excited about? Take our poll!
Where’s Splinter Cell?
Splinter Cell is one of the most popular stealth series of all time. Sure, we have Metal Gear Solid, the earlier Assassin’s Creed games, and even Hitman — all of which are fantastic. But something about the Splinter Cell series has always felt oh so satisfying. Maybe it’s the gadgets, the story, the numerous ways you can tackle an objective, or even its famous Spies vs. Mercs multiplayer mode.
Stealth games aren’t that popular. Sure, all of the aforementioned games are hits, but beyond that, the genre has always taken a backseat to the likes of shooters and action games. With the most recent entry, Blacklist, Ubisoft was underwhelmed by its commercial performance, despite receiving positive reviews.
There used to be a time in the mid 2000s when we’d get new Splinter Cell games often. The first one, aptly titled Splinter Cell launched in 2002 and was a critical hit. It was followed by Pandora Tomorrow in 2004, Chaos Theory in 2005, Double Agent in 2006, Conviction in 2010, and finally Blacklist in 2013.
But after Blacklist, Ubisoft shifted focus to other series — Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, For Honor, Watch Dogs, and Assassin’s Creed. The games in these series have garnered a reputation for attracting a large player base, so it’s understandable that Ubisoft would pivot away from anything that didn’t meet expectations.
Anything but a new mainline game
Still, each and every year we hope for a new mainline Splinter Cell game to be announced at E3, and each year, we leave the show disappointed. What’s strange is that Ubisoft has implemented Sam Fisher in many other games over the years.
For instance, the Splinter Cell protagonist appeared in Ghost Recon: Wildlands as part of Special Operation I DLC, as well as in Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. Fisher also made an appearance in the free-to-play mobile game Tom Clancy’s Elite Squad. There’s even a VR Splinter Cell game in development for Oculus!
But video games aren’t the only places the series has gone over the years. Aside from novels, and a film that never saw the light of day, Sam Fisher is getting his own show. Recently, Netflix and Ubisoft announced a partnership to bring forth a Splinter Cell anime, which will consist of eight episodes, and will be dark in tone.
The fact that Sam Fisher and Splinter Cell have made frequent appearances across various mediums over the years proves that Ubisoft is interested in the IP, but is perhaps apprehensive about another disappointing video game release. Even selling 2 million copies like Blacklist did isn’t quite good enough anymore, so it seems Ubisoft is gauging interest in the series before doubling down on a new game.
Either way, that won’t stop us from whipping out yet another Splinter Cell summoning circle at E3 2022. We want Sam Fisher back in his own proper game.