Splinter Cell Blacklist Interview – Top Secret – Shhh! | Gamerillaz

Splinter Cell Blacklist Interview – Top Secret – Shhh!

Splinter Cell Blacklist Interview – Top Secret – Shhh!

We were lucky enough to get a Q&A interview with Mr Maxime Beland, the big kahuna over at Ubisoft, and after much interrogation using sharp implements and some CIA style information extraction he revealed the following – enjoy! (Actually, the bribe of a bag of M&M’s did the trick).



Q: What is “Killing in Motion” all about in Splinter Cell Blacklist?
A: In Splinter Cell Blacklist, Killing in Motion is not a feature, but a gameplay philosophy. The introduction of Killing in Motion completely rebuilds how Sam Fisher, moves through the world, and how he takes down his enemies.  We’ve added three elements to support Killing in Motion – active sprint, Mark and Execute in motion, and takedowns in motion.  Once players master Killing in Motion, they will be able to play seamlessly through the environment, taking out enemies quickly and efficiently. We took great care in Splinter Cell Blacklist to allow the player to really feel like they are Sam Fisher and it’s a powerful feeling when they gain access to all of Sam’s abilities in the game. (Maxime Beland, Creative Director)

Q: Let’s talk about stealth gameplay, which Splinter Cell series have been known for. So far we have seen the return of night vision, moving bodies, knife, whistling and Non-Lethal Combat. What else will make a come-back from previous titles that you can share with us?
A: We’ve included a wide range of features and gadgets that support the player that loves to play in the Ghost and Panther playstyles.  Takedowns from cover are back and better than ever.  The sticky shocker returns in an exciting new way.  Fans of stealth can also make the most of Sam’s sneaking abilities, ability to abduct and carry enemies, and use the silent, but deadly, karambit.  We’ve built variety in every level to ensure there multiple paths for the player to choose, and many ways to tackle any challenge facing Sam and 4th Echelon. (Maxime Beland, Creative Director)
Q:  In what ways are you ensuring that Blacklist walks the line between stealth and action?
A: When we conceived the design for Splinter Cell Blacklist, gameplay variety and the ability to play your way, and be rewarded for your choice, was a priority for our team.  It’s a huge and extremely daunting task from a design perspective to create a game that supports multiple play styles, and then add game elements that support each style (ie: shadow for the Ghost player or enemy groups for the Assault player).  But this was a design element we felt was important to move the Splinter Cell franchise forward in a dynamic way to allow every player to discover their own path in the game.

Splinter Cell Blacklist will have a lot of variety in the game and its design, supporting a wide range from non-lethal right through to full action.  We’re also providing a number of unique moments where gameplay mechanics and perspective will change based on the challenge at hand.  In addition, we’ve built the economy system to support play style choice and this goes a long way to rewarding the player and the way they choose to play Splinter Cell Blacklist. (Maxime Beland, Creative Director)


Q: What new features and abilities will the upcoming game have?
A: Splinter Cell Blacklist supports classic features and a wide variety of new innovations.  Sam is back in his suit with his legendary goggles, and he has new gadgets and weapons making him more deadly than ever.  We are also introducing Killing in Motion with Splinter Cell Blacklist, allowing Sam to move efficiently through the environment while taking out multiple targets quickly and fluidly.  And there will be a great deal more revealed about Splinter Cell Blacklist features and innovations over the coming months.

Q: How important is realism in Splinter Cell Blacklist?
A: Splinter Cell has always revolved around realism; we’re not making a fantasy game or a sci-fi game; we’re putting a realistic hero in a realistic environment against a strong, but realistic new threat. Everything in the game is feasible; it’s an important element of what makes Splinter Cell so popular with gamers. We’ve used a real-life Sam Fisher in our stunt actor, an ex-military weapons and technical expert. He’s teaching our actors how to fight, handle weapons and do holds and throws so all the action is as authentic as possible.

Q: Will Sam’s iconic goggles be back?
A: Yes, Sam is going to have his iconic trifocal goggles back in this game.  He’s back with 4th Echelon – and this time, it’s his team, his way. He will have his goggles, tactical suit, gadgets, and so much more – and gamers will be able to upgrade and customize everything to support their playstyle.

Q: Does Sam have the power to do anything he wants in this game?
A: Yes – due to the severity of this threat, a new mandate was given to Sam directly by the President of the United States. Sam is granted the fabled Fifth Freedom to do whatever he has to, by any means necessary, to take down the Engineers and stop The Blacklist attacks.

Q: How does the economy system work?
A: Everything you do in Splinter Cell Blacklist earns in-game currency that allows players to purchase and upgrade  4th Echelon resources, such as guns, weapons, gadgets and customizations.


Q: How important is character creation in a game?
A: Good stories depend on interesting, relatable characters. In Splinter Cell Blacklist, Sam Fisher moves from lone wolf to pack leader of Fourth Echelon. The dynamics between the 4th Echelon team are important to our story in Blacklist, not only to showcase Sam as leader, but to also really go deep into the dynamic tensions that build and evolve over the course of the game.
We were really excited when we found Eric Johnson to act as Sam Fisher – we knew we had found someone strong and powerful enough for the role. Right away, we knew that we had to find an actress who could play Grim in a way that could hold her own with Sam. This requires a smart and powerful woman, which we definitely found with Kate Drummond. She has a presence and the power to look Sam Fisher right in the eyes and tell him when he is wrong or when he is right. I’m really proud of the actors.  They’ve allowed us to tell what I think is our most emotional and relevant story in the series to date. (Maxime Beland, Creative Director)
Q: Will Michael Ironside return as the voice of Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell Blacklist?
A: Early in the development of Splinter Cell Blacklist, we made a choice to focus on high realism and production values that would create a more immersive, lifelike story experience in the game – to make a leap forward in the quality of our performance capture.  In Splinter Cell Blacklist we are incorporating full performance capture (full body, facial and voice captured at one time) using technology similar to the innovations implemented by the film industry.  We required an actor who could not only deliver a commanding voice performance, but also a demanding physical performance to really bring the character of Sam Fisher to life.  We auditioned dozens of actors, but the moment we met Eric Johnson, we knew instantly we’d found our new Sam Fisher.  We are very excited about the creative direction for Splinter Cell Blacklist and we’re confident that fans of the series will experience a gritty, action-packed performance by Johnson as the iconic lead character. (Maxime Beland, Creative Director)

Maxime Beland, Creative Director & Creative Studio Advisor Bio:
Maxime Beland is a founding member of Ubisoft Toronto and Creative Director for Splinter Cell Blacklist.  Joining the Ubisoft team in 1998, Maxime has played an integral role in the creative direction and success of multiple critically-acclaimed games including Rainbow Six Vegas, winner of multiple awards including IGN’s Best of 2006 coveted “Best First Person Shooter” and a GameSpot “Editor’s Choice Award”, Splinter Cell Conviction, winner of an IGN “Editor’s Choice Award”,  and Assassin’s Creed, winner of multiple Game of the Year awards as the first game in the franchise – a franchise that has sold over 30 million units across all its titles worldwide.  

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