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If You’re Going to Lie About Splinter Cell, Do It With Conviction

March 17, 2015

Sam Fisher wasn't created. He was Bourne. And Neeson.

9 facts about Splinter Cell that are so hard to believe, you probably shouldn’t.


  • Splinter Cell Conviction was, at various times throughout its elongated development time, both a Jason Bourne game, and an adaptation of popular murder movie, Taken. These earlier builds can be accessed via the main menu by selecting “New Game”.
  • No one has ever played Splinter Cell: Double Agent. Everyone took one look at the demo, and said “No. No. It’s okay. Try again.”
  • Sarah Fisher, Sam’s daughter, was originally going to be named “Samsdottir”, but Ubi were talked out of it by a passing Tom Clancy ghostwriter.
  • The Mark & Execute feature is a holdover from an abandoned Ubisoft concept for a co-op game, starring hard-luck New York cop Mark Cooper and his loose-cannon partner, John “Execute” Doyle.
  • Clint Hocking, lead designer of Chaos Theory, didn’t just go on to head up production of the similarly best-in-franchise Far Cry 2 – it’s a little-known fact that he gave a cheeky cameo to the super-sneaky master of stealth Sam Fisher. See if you can spot it.

Spoiler: he's behind you

  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist’s three play-styles of “Ghost”, “Panther”, and “Assault”, had the respective in-studio nicknames “Ugh, this guy, I dunno, let him use a drone or something”, “This is the game, this is how you play the game, this is the actual Blacklist” and “Why would you buy a stealth game?”
  • Inexplicably reversing Fisher’s ageing process for Blacklist was intended to give the player a measure of revenge on Grimsdottir for her Chaos Theory “You are old, Sam” jibe. The Sam-assaults-Grim scene in Conviction was also designed with the same purpose, but testers suggested that friendly ribbing probably wasn’t enough justification, so Ubi shoehorned in some storyline excuse or something, I forget. The important thing is that you definitely get to see Sam punch Grim in the face for some reason, so Ubi are happy.
  • Voice actor Michael Ironside’s departure for Blacklist was seen as an opportunity to freshen up the Fisher character. Unfortunately, everyone forgot to think of anything to do about that, leaving Sam a fugue nothing person.
  • Conviction’s storyline was conceived as an avant-garde attempt at a gritty action thriller without any stakes. “Your daughter’s dead! Joke! She’s still alive really. And I’m keeping her where you’ll never find her! Except I won’t really – she’s here. AND SHE’S IN DANGER. Nope, wait, she’s fine.”
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