In what I can only describe as a real monkey’s paw kind of situation, it sounds like Splinter Cell could finally be making its long-awaited comeback. The catch is that it’ll apparently be returning as a Facebook-developed VR game.
The Information reports that the social media giant has signed an exclusive deal with Ubisoft to create VR games for Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell. The report goes on to suggest that this is part of a wider plan to boost sales of the company’s Oculus Rift headsets.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is said to be personally involved with the acquisition, and the deals are apparently already signed. Facebook purchased Oculus – who created the Oculus Rift VR headset – back in 2014, but the likes of Valve, HTC, PlayStation VR, and the fact that VR hasn’t really caught on yet has meant that Facebook hasn’t had massive success in that particular arena just yet.
It seems to be Facebook’s hope that having big-name franchises such as Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell behind it will help the Oculus Rift stand out above the competition. It’s not the worst idea, but if Skyrim couldn’t help shift headsets, I’m not entirely sure anything can.
If this report turns out to be accurate, I can’t imagine it’ll go down too well with fans who’ve been desperate to see Sam Fisher and Splinter Cell make a proper return on consoles. Back in April last year, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot explained that we haven’t seen a new entry because there’s more money in focusing on bigger, proven franchises like Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed.
He told IGN in an interview:
When you create a game, you have to make sure you will come with something that will be different enough from what you did before. Last time we did a Splinter Cell, we had lots of pressure from all the fans saying, ‘Don’t change it; don’t do this; don’t do that.’ So some of the teams were more anxious to work on the brand. Also because of Assassin’s Creed and all the other brands taking off, people wanted to work on those brands more. so we have to follow what they like to do.
Guillemot did then tease that there are certain teams who are currently “looking at” and “taking care of” the brand. Given these new reports, it could very much be the case that Splinter Cell is indeed now in the hands of Facebook. May Zuck have mercy on our souls.
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Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.