Ubisoft confirmed that a remake of Tom Clancy’s stealth classic Splinter Cell is currently in development.
In an interview posted on Ubisoft’s website, the studio said that the upcoming remake of the classic stealth shooter will “draw from the rich canvas of the brand,” adding that the game will be rebuilt from the ground up using its own Snowdrop engine, which is being used on Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora as well as Ubisoft’s soon-to-be titled Star Wars game.
“To me, a remake takes what you’d do in a remaster and goes a little bit further with it,” producer Matt West said in an interview. “The original Splinter Cell has a lot that was amazing and revolutionary at the time it came out, 19 years ago. The gaming public now has an even more refined palate.”
Although the game’s development is in its early stages, West assured fans that the “spirit of the early games” will remain intact “in all of the ways that gave early Splinter Cell its identity.”
As part of the development, West said that they are going to update the game visually and also improve other design elements to match player comfort and expectations. West also added that in order to ensure that the remake will remain true to its identity, they are keeping the game linear just like the previous games.
"We are going to keep it linear like the original games, not make it open world," he said. "How do we make sure that new fans are able to pick up the controller and dive right in, and fall in love with the game and the world right from the get-go?"
In terms of gameplay, West talked about the things that they need to focus on in order to “preserve the feeling of early Splinter Cell.”
“We’re going to be straddling the line between the spirit of the old, and the comfort of the new, so that we can excite and surprise new players, but also make sure that when our returning players pick up the controller, they have that sigh of relief, saying ‘Ahhh, they got it,’” West said.
Discussing about how the iconic game paved the way for the stealth genre, Splinter Cell creative director Chris Auty said that preserving the game’s core gameplay is vital for them in the remake, emphasizing that the game will retain the aspects that made it a beloved series.
"Splinter Cell was a breakthrough in stealth—as Matt mentioned, it was ‘stealth redefined’ with a huge focus on getting that core gameplay right above all, and delivering on an ideal: Be a ghost," Auty said.
“It’s important for us to preserve the sense of mastery by supporting players who observe the situations, make their plan, use their gadgets, and outsmart the enemy creatively to deal with the challenges they are presented with. Ideally, they end up coming out on the other side with no one having realized you were even there. That’s the essence of Splinter Cell,” he added.
He furthered: “It’s safe to say a lot of us on the team are stealth purists, and we're behind that level of seriousness when it comes to those kinds of mechanics, and those sorts of things that we want to see in this game. And we're very, very aware of what makes classic Splinter Cell what it is.”
Meanwhile, technical producer Peter Handrinos admitted that “a lot of time has passed” since the debut of the original Splinter Cell, acknowledging that they had "enough time to miss an entire console generation."
“So now we're going to take the time to explore what this means for us, for light and shadow, for animation tech, for gameplay, AI, even audio,” Handrinos said. “We want to bring them something new, yet still connect them to that feeling that they had two decades ago, playing that masterpiece for the first time.”
The studio has yet to announce a release date for the upcoming remake of the original Splinter Cell.