MGS 4 style VR playground is the way to go...completely optional yet really functional...I was pleasantly surprised by it...I expected to be forcefed the gameplay via unbearable codec conversations...."Snake, this is a SNEAKING MISSION"Snake: "Sneaking?"facepalm
^ Yeah, exactly. Something simple and passive just for the player to mess around in and find out what does what, so when you go into the actual gameworld you won't fumble your buttons. To take the MGS4 concept further, Splinter Cell heavily relies on environmental stuff, so you could add barricades and doors/walls/windows, large crates, with constant paroling NPC that can't detect you and respawn every time they die etc.
And to solve any other issues pertaining to the less vigilant of newcomers, the first time you boot the game a notice pops up and asks you to mess around in the "Training Room" for a few minutes.
I didn't like MGS4's VR room much, it felt like the Animus loading screen, ghosts and odd. It did work well for figuring out the buttons and cqc and all that, I just didn't get any passion from it. Whereas training maps like SAR feel like the real deal, like Rainbow's kill houses, real locations that real operators train in. I wouldn't mind an HQ location like that to tool around in prior to mission deployment in between levels, as an option. Get to try out any newly aquired gear, maybe interact face to face with Handlers, have a blueprint room for planning, shooting range, towers for zip lining and climbing training, couple of tight alley ways for limbering up the split jump.
I liked Brotherhood's VR stage, probably because it was less ghostly than MG's.
Letting the player roam around HQ would be a pretty cool alternative as well. Perfect Dark let you do just that in the Carrington Institute and it was a blast.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
@Jazz: It's true my friend, they should have a dedicated option in the main menu for training for those who request it. I found the first splinter cell's training annoying, your just itching to get on with the game and lamberts glueing you to the spot whilst forcing words down your neck, it really breaks the flow of the game.
Fiirst 5 PS4 Games: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Mirror's Edge: Catylist, Firewatch, Ratchet and Clank.
I rather enjoyed the Camp Peary tutorial. I suppose it's much better than having basic movements and controls forced down your throat in a bland and non-essential fashion, and example being Assassin's Creed 1. Long Animus load times to teach me things I've used for over one hundred hours is annoying every time. Just my two cents,
See more rantings on the game industry at my blog: http://spy81.blogspot.com/
Those of you opposed to a 'forced' tutorial have a good point. No one wants to be subjected to a mind numbing hand holding indoctrination to a game they know well, so it has to be an optional deal to be good. A selection from the in game menu, between levels or similar.
I liked the idea of a training map but if that takes time away from building a robust and lengthy campaign I would vote against it and say just go with the VR. Quick and easy. I would prefer better AI graphics than in MG4 though, Brotherhood's VR room was the best yet.
Forget about the forced tutorial. I can live with that and it's nicely (but clumsily) integrated into the "story" with those flashbacks.
What I can't live with is a section of wall telling me to kill someone. Or save someone. Or even just climb a damn pipe.
@Sage: I see your concern, but the ridiculous little amount of time that would need to be put into a "playhouse" would never detract from the overall game. In one weekend my brother and I could probably assemble a training room so advanced that by the time you completed it you'd actually be smarter?!?!? okay... maybe not, but still, throwing some stuff into a playhouse is pretty quick and easy, especially for an experienced designer. Fear not.
Though, I should probably point something out here, and that is the time/effort that is required to integrate a tutorial into the "story" portion of the game is rather substantial and could (evidently) have the potential to interfere with that mission/level final quality.