Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell has been around since 2002 and has spawned the second most successful stealth/action franchise of all time (lets be honest MGS is forever going to wear that crown). Ubisoft went dark on Splinter Cell after Blacklist in 2013, leaving fans wondering “Where’s Sam? What’s next?” up until a listing for Splinter Cell 2018 appeared on an online retailer and Fisher made an appearance in Ghost Recon Wildlands.

Well we’re here to speculate and lay out some of Ubisoft’s possible options ranging from the sensible to the downright deranged. Let’s get crazy, shall we?

Splinter Cell 2018 – The Movie

It’s no secret that there has been a Splinter Cell movie in production for a while. Last update we had was last year saying that the script had been delivered to Tom Hardy, set to play our super spook, Sam Fisher. This is pretty exciting stuff since the Splinter Cell games all have plots and storylines that would be very much at home in any decent spy action thriller title.

However, we shouldn’t get too excited. Movie adaptations of video games have always been disappointing. Ubisoft don’t exactly have a great record either, what with the god-awful Assassin’s Creed movie that released early 2017. Maybe this one will prove a little easier to adapt for the big screen. Rumour has it that the movie will be looking at Sam’s early days, focusing on his escapades before the games hit our consoles. It’s got a whole lot of potential and could help clear up some of the mysterious back story, lets just hope they’ve learned from their mistakes and they’ve done their research. If you’re reading this Ubisoft, go watch Olympus Has Fallen and then London Has Fallen. Something along these lines would work great.

What do often work pretty well though are Book to Movie adaptations and there are plenty of Splinter Cell books that would make great movies! They all feature our boy Sam and so it’s possible one of these books served as the source material for the movie, lets pray this is the case because I really don’t want to see it fail.

As far as casting choices go, Tom Hardy is a pretty solid bet. Obviously, we’d all love to hear Michael Ironside playing Fisher, as he’s been the voice for years, but Hardy is a great call and was rumoured to be the next Bond for a while, so it’s clear he’s got the skills. We also know he has the ability to manipulate his voice quite well, just look at his portrayal of Bane! Hopefully he can mimic the grizzled tones we’ve come to know and love and really make this work!

The Division Tie In?

Players are already able to acquire the Splinter Cell outfit for their Division Agent to run about in while cleaning up the streets of New York and with the recent Wildlands mission “Operation Watchman”, we can clearly see that Ubisoft are happy to do crossovers. The Division is just one of the many things under the Tom Clancy banner and features a story that is very much in Fisher’s field of expertise. With Aaron Keener on the loose with a DNA 3D printer device and a “recipe book for all kinds of nasty” the man could cause untold amounts of damage to not only the US but the whole world. Sam has already proven himself capable of stopping bio-attacks and surviving exposure to weaponised pathogens, Keener doesn’t stand a chance.

Admittedly this is unlikely as we know that The Division 2 is definitely in the works. However, it wouldn’t be completely unfeasible to see Sam make an appearance during whatever the events of The Division 2 end up actually being. It’s entirely possible that Sam will be doing his thing in the shadows, helping out our Division Agents without them even knowing he was there.

Something entirely new?

This is without a doubt the most likely outcome and Splinter Cell 2018 will end up being something brand new and completely different to what we’ve seen before. Operation Watchman in Wildlands seemed to drop hints that there’s something far bigger going on that the Ghosts aren’t aware of, so it’s possible we’ll see Sam acting on the intel he recovered from Bolivia at some stage.

At the moment, we’ve only got the dialogue provided to work from but it definitely has some promising potential and seems to indicate that we’re likely to see further collaborations in the future. Sam makes reference to his team back home so it’s clear that Fourth Echelon are still about and it’s implied the Griggs and the rest of the gang are off doing something else while Sam handles the Bolivia situation. It seems like a pretty small-time op compared to what Sam is used to dealing with so there’s definitely something bigger happening here.

Being the most likely option is great but we have no idea just what could happen if this is the case. Sam’s been around the block a few times, saved the president, the States and the world a couple of times, saved all three at once in one of them. He’s faced down deadly nerve toxins, plagues and nuclear war, there’s not much further things can really escalate and no-one wants to see this go down the same path Advanced Warfare and Black Ops 3 went…

Honestly my money is on some of the following; a thinly veiled satire aimed towards the Russian hacking scandal, an international arms dealer selling nuclear arms to North Korea or a malicious cyber attack designed to wipe out not only the US infrastructure but bring about a global collapse of civilisation by nuking BitCoin. Fuck it, we might even see all three.

Would it be that much of a loss?

At this stage it’s far too early to tell. Literally anything could happen and nothing is off the table. Given the modern age and its over abundance of technology, automation and integration into our lives, something focused on a more technological aspect wouldn’t be completely ridiculous. We might even see some Watch Dogs style shenanigans, although given how that bombed, probably not.

All we know for sure is that Sam Fisher is still taking ass and kicking names, and that’s good enough for me. If/when Splinter Cell 2018 gets properly announced I have no doubt it’ll bring down the house…speaking of which…

The Reveal

If Ubisoft are going to announce Splinter Cell 2018’s real identity and production, there’s literally no better time than this year’s E3. They’ve already told us that there’s going to be a big The Division 2 set piece, something I can’t wait for, but surely that’s not all they’re going to be bringing to the show. We’re going to see the usual stuff, Assassin’s Creed related content, maybe some South Park stuff, a look at Wildlands Year 2 content and maybe even some Far Cry developments, DLC and the like.

So, The Division 2’s segment comes to an end and it’s possible they leave this to close out their showcase, after all you’re going to want people talking about it, right? But if I were Ubisoft I would let the Division 2 content fade to black then you hear the iconic “ch-wreeeee” from the Splinter Cell NVGs and the 3-point greenlight appear on the screen. From here it will go one of two ways, it will either launch into a trailer with Ironside giving us Fisher’s voice in a narrative voice-over and a final closing segment where someone talks about the new Splinter Cell 2018, revealing its title. Or from the 3-point greenlight the screen goes on to show us a title, estimated release date and the hashtag #SamsBack or something along that line.

That’s just how I would do it. We’ve been waiting a loooong time and we know Ubisoft haven’t forgotten about Fisher and Fourth Echelon, so if I were them I would totally do something along that line to really get the crowd going. I’m a fanboy and I admit it, but if they announce a new Splinter Cell title then they will definitely “Win E3” …that is of course unless Microsoft and Sony announce that they are teaming up to create a unified console. But that will NEVER happen so…stay tuned and pay attention. Anything could happen and it’s not a guarantee that it will but I will be highly surprised if it doesn’t.

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