Splinter Cell

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Image:Splintercell.jpg
An image from the original Splinter Cell

Splinter Cell is a series of video games endorsed by American author Tom Clancy. The success of the series spawned a novel series in 2004 written under the pseudonym David Michaels. The protagonist, Sam Fisher is a highly trained agent of a black-ops division of the NSA, dubbed Third Echelon.

Splinter Cell, as a brand, is owned by Tom Clancy's company, Rubicon, and is licensed to Ubisoft to make the games. The characters of the game, as well as "Third Echelon" itself, were created by Ubisoft writer J.T. Petty.

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[edit] Splinter Cell

Main article: Third Echelon

In the fictional universe in which it exists, a "Splinter Cell" is an operative of Third Echelon of the National Security Agency (NSA) that is sent out into the world to exercise the use of the "Fifth Freedom": the freedom to spy, steal, destroy, extort, and assassinate to protect the United States of America. They are elite intelligence-gathering forces consisting of a lone field operative supported by a remote team. The driving concept behind the development of this type of force is complete deniability: if the field operative is captured or killed, the United States government will disavow any and all knowledge of his actions or existence.

The first Splinter Cell in Third Echelon was Sam Fisher, although there is known to be at least one other Splinter Cell team working within Third Echelon (who, incidentally, believe they are the first and only Splinter Cells).

[edit] Video games

The series of video games are stealth-based games developed and published by Ubisoft Montreal and Ubisoft Shangai, and are a vital part of a large wave of stealth-based third-person video games that became popular in the late 1990s. The originators of the genre, the acclaimed Metal Gear games and the Thief series, have much in common with the Splinter Cell titles in terms of gameplay.

The storyline is similar in most of the games. Terrorists are planning an attack by weapons of mass destruction, usually by use of information warfare, and Sam Fisher needs to prevent that. The missions range from gathering intelligence to capturing or eliminating terrorist operatives. Stealth is a critical aspect of gameplay; shooting and killing any civilians or enemy units may result in mission failure or increased difficulty (as guards may arm themselves to better prepare for an attack). An alarm usually occurs if a non-player character spots a casualty, an unconscious person, or Sam Fisher himself. In the first two games, the mission is aborted after a set number of alarms have been triggered; sometimes only one will end a mission prematurely, depending on the mission. The third game features a new system, in which enemies move up to a new level of awareness for every alarm triggered. For example, after the fourth alarm is set off, enemies will fortify positions around the map and wait for you.

The smoothest way forward is to remain invisible, select non-obvious routes, and use diversion to pass guards. The game is a combination of problem solving and quick action. Attacks must be swift, silent and decisive to ensure success. What truly sets Splinter Cell apart from other games of its kind are its innovative multiplayer modes[citation needed]. Pandora Tomorrow introduced a two-on-two multiplayer mode, pitting two very differently equipped teams against each other. Chaos Theory further evolved that mode and introduced a co-operative mode. This mode plays out very much like the single player mode, yet features myriad moves that can only be performed by both players acting as a team.

Double Agent, introduces a new morality factor. As the subtitle implies, Fisher becomes a double agent, assuming the identity of a wanted criminal and is recruited by a terrorist ring. The new mechanic is that Fisher may now encounter conflicting objectives between his superiors and the terrorist ring. For example, the terrorists may assign you to assassinate a person, while you may be instructed by the NSA to prevent said assassination. This creates a delicate balancing act between gaining the trust of the terrorists and fulfilling your mission assignments. In addition, Fisher must not do anything to reveal to the terrorists that he is a double agent.

[edit] Novels

The Splinter Cell novels are written under the pseudonym David Michaels by different authors. The first two novels were written by American author Raymond Benson also known for being the author of several official James Bond novels and short stories. In 2006 Raymond Benson stepped down from writing further novels saying the next novel would be written by another author under the same pseudonym. It is currently unknown who authored the third novel released in November 2006.

  1. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (2004)
  2. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Operation Barracuda (2005)
  3. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Checkmate (2006)

[edit] Film

Main article: Splinter Cell (film)

The existence of a movie in pre-production has been confirmed both by news sources and by the inclusion of a teaser trailer in the "Collectors Edition" of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. Originally, Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) was slated to direct/produce and Splinter Cell video game scriptwriter, J.T. Petty, was slated to write, along with John J. McLaughlin.

J.T. Petty and Peter Berg left the project in summer 2005 and the project was shifted from Paramount Pictures to DreamWorks [1]. Not long after, however, Viacom, the parent of Paramount Pictures, purchased DreamWorks. Since then, there has been no updated information on the film. Production is publicly considered to be stalled.

[edit] Trivia

  • Originally, Tom Clancy rejected the idea of Sam Fisher having trifocal goggles, stating that goggles with both thermal vision and night vision are impossible to make. The creators argued that having two separate sets of goggles would make for awkward gameplay and convinced Clancy to allow it.
  • Unlike most present-day video games, Splinter Cell uses motion capture technology for all of its NPCs' animations, but not Sam Fisher; a few of his more complicated moves, such as the split jump, are animated by hand. The creators felt this would give Sam a more "fluid" range of motion. The cooperative Third Echelon player agents are also given the same direction as well.
  • Games bearing the Tom Clancy name, including Splinter Cell, must receive approval from Clancy himself to earn his endorsement. Some of the aspects of games that he looks for include realistic weapons, military tactics, and health systems for the game's characters.

[edit] Characters

[edit] External links

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