Not a reboot in the traditional sense, where the previous continuity is discarded, but a reboot in the sense that the next game will start a new era with fresh ideas and the different direction that we saw in Conviction - "aggro action stealth" as I have seen it called.
I played Conviction again recently and it struck me that there is no logical way for things to return to the status quo of previous games.
1. Lambert is dead.
2. Sam's trust in Third Echelon has been betrayed.
3. Sam's left Third Echelon.
4. Sarah is alive (after having been declared dead).
5. Sam's trust in Grim has been betrayed.
6. Third Echelon has basically imploded.
7. Grim has been left to pick up the pieces.
If you choose to kill Reed, Vic talks about how Sam told him he was going to take some time to catch up with Sarah and learning who was important to him (family).
If you choose to spare Reed, Sam tells Grim he's walking and she begs him to return but he rejects her. Then Vic talks about how Sam told him he was going to take some time to catch up with Sarah and learning who was important to him (family).
Neither of those endings seem promising of Sam returning in another game.
So it made me think, where does Ubisoft go to from here?
The answer? Reinvent Splinter Cell by rebooting the series. Give us a new Splinter Cell, a new director and a new agency - not a new agency in the literal sense but a new agency in the metaphorical sense, like what Reed said in Conviction, "It's not Lambert's Third Echelon."
Except it wouldn't be Reed's Third Echelon either. It would be Grímsdóttir's Third Echelon. And Leon Coltrane would be the Splinter Cell. It would be the perfect opportunity to pioneer the new direction that the creative minds have been striving for and, at the same time, introduce some new characters and lead the story into EndWar.
About the idea of a new Splinter Cell - when we first met Sam he was already a retired special forces veteran with twenty years of experience and an adult daughter. He had an established character, even if we didn't see all of it until Double Agent and Conviction (though it was hinted at in previous games).
This is why I think that the next game should have a new main character. Someone like Archer (but with a better backstory - not as a NSA analyst who got bored of interpreting signals intelligence) who's young and fresh out of Splinter Cell training, and arrogant, stubborn and overconfident. I think it would allow for character development, something that Splinter Cell has been criticized for -- I mean, Sam is awesome, but he's been awesome since we first met him and was even awesome in flashbacks to 20 years ago.
What should happen to Sam? I think he should fade out of the series. He could be mentioned in passing in the next game, but I don't think he should be the player character of future games.
Michael Ironside has said that he was specifically pulled into Conviction by its personal subplot, but there's no way for the writers to weave in that sort of plot thread every time without it becoming tired and cliché and some people think it already is.
You just can't top having your daughter killed in a hit-and-run by a drunk driver while you're away on a mission and dealing with the grief by going on a deep-cover operation as a convicted felon in a federal penitentiary to infiltrate a domestic terrorist organization, then shooting your best friend to maintain your cover and afterward walking away from the agency who made you do it before going walkabout for the next three years looking for a reason to keep living and then finding out that your daughter's death wasn't an accident and going to investigate but then being tipped off that hit men sent by the guy who killed your daughter are after you and then finding out that it was just a lie to pull you into a plan to foil a treasonous conspiracy concocted by your former agency to assassinate the President of the United States and that the leverage to get you to do so is the fact that your daughter is actually alive.
That sort of thing shouldn't happen in every game and so I think that the most logical thing to do at this point would be to retire Sam.