Ubisoft CEO and co-founder Yves Guillemot recently joined IGN for an interview in which he states that he believes the Tom Clancy property, particularly Splinter Cell, forever changed the fate of Ubisoft.
“The first one that changed the lot of the company was Splinter Cell,” says Guillemot. “We went for the Xbox, and it was a complex bet, and a dangerous bet because they didn’t have many machines [out there]. Launching on that machine and not PlayStation at the time was a bit risky, but we couldn’t go straight on PlayStation. We wanted to use the capacity of the [Xbox]. We did very well on Xbox. We hit probably 50 percent of the install base.”
Guillemot touches on a few things of note with that statement. Elsewhere in the interview, he praises modern Ubisoft for the company’s ability to adapt to new technology, new platforms, and take creative risks. So far as that goes, it’s easy to understand why he highlights Splinter Cell. It was a risky venture at the time that resulted in one of the Xbox’s most notable games (though it was eventually ported elsewhere) and a game that pushed the technical limits of gaming at that time.
In the grander sense, though, it’s easy to see how Ubisoft views Splinter Cell as the first “modern” Ubisoft game. It helped the company move into a franchise era, was much more accessible than the Rainbox Six franchise until that point (which also benefited from the Tom Clancy name), and it gave Ubisoft a stronger foothold in the console world.
Of course, some fans will find it strange that Guillemot praises Splinter Cell at a time when the studio doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to release a new Splinter Cell game. There have been rumors of a new Splinter Cell game floating out in the wild for years now but nothing has ever come of it. Some people suspect that Blacklist’s reported poor performance might be responsible for their hesitation.
Still, it’s clear that the company still relies heavily on the Tom Clancy name. It lives on in The Division 2 which features some compelling references to the next Assassin’s Creed game just as Far Cry: New Dawn once again hinted at that elusive new Splinter Cell game.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.