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Splinter Cell could have been a James Bond game

by Nathaniel Hohl, shacknews.com, Feb 4, 2014 10:30AM PST

Before it became a stealth series powerhouse, Ubisoft's renowned Splinter Cell franchise had a lot of trouble getting off the ground. It got so bad that at one point the then-fledgling developer even pitched the original game as a James Bond title.

Before Splinter Cell became what it is now, and before the James Bond idea, it was originally conceived as an ambitious sci-fi shooter called The Drift, Ubisoft Montreal CEO Yannis Mallat told IGN. Ubisoft's New York studio was working on the game but, despite some cool ideas like a future setting in which Earth had been split into several floating islands in the sky and contextual smart A.I. that reacted dynamically to player actions, the concept just wasn't garnering much interest.

As a sort of last-ditch effort to keep the game alive, Ubisoft New York retooled some of The Drift's gameplay mechanics and pitched it as a new James Bond game. Despite its valiant efforts however, Ubisoft New York was eventually forced to shelve the project. It wasn't until a year later that Ubisoft acquired the Tom Clancy license and the studio, now moved to Montreal, began reworking elements of The Drift into what would become Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell.

Since then Splinter Cell has grown into one of the best-selling stealth game franchises on the market, encompassing over ten different games with more surely to come. A few elements from the original Drift premise, such as using sticky cameras and different vision modes, still live on in what Splinter Cell is today but it can't be denied that the series has also gained an identity all its own.