Splinter Cell: Blacklist aiming for wider audience

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Dead Space 3, Fable: The Journey, Resident Evil 6 – the industry isn't short of big brands that have distanced themselves from their heritage in an attempt to reach a larger audience.

Next on the list could be Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Ubisoft Toronto boss Jade Raymond has said that while the series' complexity has served it well in the past, the developers had to think a little different with the latest instalment.

"One of the things that held it back is despite all of the changes that have happened over the years, it's still one of the more complex and difficult games to play," Raymond told Eurogamer.

"Even though we do have core fans who are like, 'Oh, I want to have more of this experience', when you play any other game that has stealth elements, they're all a lot more forgiving than Splinter Cell.”

Blacklist, however, Ubisoft is trying to offer a "broader range of play" that caters for both the stealth-loving hardcore and the more action-orientated wider audience.

"We brought back the purest hardcore version, which is, you want to ghost through the level and get through it without killing a single person," Raymond added. Every single thing you want to do you can do in a non-lethal way. That requires the most planning and being the most strategic.

"You can even play that in Perfectionist Mode, which means if you want you don't have any of the added things, such as Mark and Execute, that make it easier.”

The changes are liable to evoke some sort of negative reaction from forums but Raymond rightly points out that the loudest opinions are rarely the most widely held.

"There's a big difference between the vocal fans who write things on forums and what the larger base of players think," she added. "You can jump to assumptions only reading what people post on forums. That can be very different from what you find from user analysis afterwards.

"After shipping Conviction, there were a lot of people who said the fans didn't like Mark and Execute. But when we looked at our broader feedback – we do surveys through uPlay and get thousands and thousands of players – the people who rated those new features the highest were actually players who played at least two games in the series before.

So in fact it was the opposite of what the data was telling us.”