Back in April, Ubisoft declared that its famed, long-absent Splinter Cell series is not dead: "At some point, you will see something," CEO Yves Guillemot said at the time. And at Ubi's E3 press event today, Sam Fisher finally returned! In a mobile game called Tom Clancy's Elite Squad. Sorry.
Elite Squad is a 5v5 tactical combat game featuring characters from Ubisoft games including Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, The Division, and yes, Splinter Cell. There will be a campaign mode "with a unique Tom Clancy's storyline," as well as support for player vs player and guild vs guild battles. It has all the hallmarks of turn-based action at first glance but battles will actually take place in real time "on iconic maps from the Clancy-verse," Ubisoft said. "Trigger strategic orders with perfect timing to defeat your opponent's squad."
I feel like this needs to be said: I have no beef with mobile games, in fact I play them myself, but this is not the Splinter Cell resurrection I was hoping for. I am disappointed—I really wanted a surprise Splinter-Cell-starring-Michael-Ironside reveal at E3 this year.
But I'm also doing my best to take it as a good sign in the long run. Including Splinter Cell alongside Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and The Division tells me that it's still on the radar, and that means that somebody, somewhere, is thinking about it. And if Ubisoft is willing to trot Fisher out for this, then I'm willing to bet (or at least hope with commitment) that it's got better news cooking for the future, too.
Hey, call me an optimist. For now, you can learn more about Elite Squad and pre-register for access at elitesquadgame.com.