AusGamers E3 2012 Splinter Cell: Blacklist Developer Interview
Post by Dan @ 03:30pm 12/07/12 | Comments
At E3 2012, AusGamers caught up with Ubisoft Toronto Presentation Art Director Wylie Styles for a chat about the freshly announced Splinter Cell Blacklist.
AusGamers E3 2012 Splinter Cell: Blacklist Developer Interview Video
AusGamers: Ladies and gents, welcome back to AusGamers. You are here once again with Stephen Farrelly, also once again out at E3; on the show floor; at Ubisoft’s booth. Ubisoft have owned this thing this time around, partly because they have a great line-up, and partly because they have a bunch of revamped IPs. I’m speaking with Wylie, who is Presentation Art Director on Splinter Cell Blacklist.
What did it take for you to “re-present” Splinter Cell? Let’s go there.
Wylie Styles: Well, it’s really interesting. We’ve got a group of core people that worked on Conviction, and we’ve also injected a bunch of new people like myself, who have also been a fan of the franchise. So it’s been super-fun, where you take a lot of the classic stuff, and you get a chance to inject some of those things that you’ve always had on your wishlist.
So now we’re adding the new game feature “Killing in Motion” which is the evolution of the “Mark and Execute”. And now it’s all about Sam Fisher having tonnes of freedom -- the player having tonnes of choices for stealth, and action paths in this game. So it’s pretty awesome.
AusGamers: Did you guys go back, and sort of just look at the franchise, and the flow of each iteration, and work out that if you’re going to be this ultimate killing machine, that you need to be able to walk through a battlefield and just take out everybody?
Wylie: It’s not just about ploughing through an area, it’s also about looking at the situation from a tactical standpoint. Using stealth; using the gadgets; using cover, and what-have-you, that’s really what the evolution is about with Splinter Cell Blacklist.
AusGamers: There’s a fair bit of... there’s some new elements -- a bit of a throwback to Assassin’s Creed in there, and stuff like that. Did you guys actively look around and see what you think would work for a Splinter Cell game? Or was it more of an organic process, where you’re sitting there and go “You know what? Sam should be able to just scale a wall, and actually get over into cover, and take people out that way”?
Wylie: I think it’s a little bit of both. We’re looking at stuff that we wish Sam could do, and then once we build the level and we look at the situation: “where would Sam’s head be at that moment?”. That’s how I think we go about adding new features like him scaling the wall. It’s like “How would Sam get to the upper-base here?”.
AusGamers: So as Presentation Art Director, run me through what you would do on a day-to-day.
Wylie: On a day to day? So now it’s all about, giving that experience to the player of being Sam Fisher, being able to select various locations around the globe. Where does he want to take Fourth Echelon to help stop the Blacklist right?
Also, you’ll see in our cinematics, and the extended version of the demo, that it’s the evolution of the projected elements. So what we have is some projected panels in the background, that serve as a visual narrator for the story.
AusGamers: When you talk about Sam making a decision where to take the Fourth Echelon, how much player-freedom is there? Are we working out of a central hub, and then you get to choose where you go?
Wylie: Yeah. Actually, Fourth Echelon now is mobile. So Sam and his crew are on a plane, and he’s basically got the world tactical map, and various missions. And from there, the player can decide “Where is the next place Sam Fisher is going to go?”.
AusGamers: So how does that work in a narrative structure? Is it more of a mission-based game then? Because the last game had this really directed story going on, that was really personal to Sam. Whereas this one it seems like he’s just back to business.
Wylie: It is very much back to business. But it’s not just a straight-shot, it’s all about the player’s choice. it’s how the player decides to actually pace the game and to pace the story. Then we also have a device called the SMI, the Strategic Mission Interface, and on there, the player will be able to pick solo campaigns, also Spy Versus Mercs, and co-op as well.
AusGamers: How is the co-op going to work? Is it part of the main narrative, or is it kind of its own thing?
Wylie: We’re not talking about that just yet, but we’ll have tonnes of info in the upcoming months.
AusGamers: Well I’ve got one last question before I’ll wrap it up: I’ve got a pretty good ear for voice-actors in videogames and I noticed that wasn’t Michael Ironside. What’s going on there?
Wylie: Yes. What we’ve done is: now with this intense story of the Blacklist, we wanted to also capture the performance all at once. So we seeked out an actor that can deliver the voice but also deliver the physicality. And that actor actually worked with Michael Ironside in the past: Eric Johnson. And there’s also a video that you can check out on our website, it’s the handing of the goggles. So it’s...
AusGamers: So there’s no... he didn’t just walk away, it was definitely a...
Wylie: Yes. It’s a graceful transition.
AusGamers: Alright. Well we’re going to leave it there Wylie, but thank you so much for your time. The game looks great. I’m going to go and check it out again now, so congratulations guys.
Wylie: Thanks again.