Reboot. That word has been thrown around a lot, in regards to Blacklist.
I thought about the implications of that word and developer comments that they want to make Sam a timeless icon. There have been objections to making Sam an ageless character to appear in games for future generations, saying that they betray the original concept of the character, which was to be a deconstruction of the forever young James Bond spy archetype and "not some young goofball that you see in your typical shooter". They've been countered with the response that Sam is too good a character to kill off or retire. But then there's also a lot of people also don't identify Blacklist Sam as the Sam Fisher they knew in previous games, either because he's not voiced by Michael Ironside or because he's acting out of character, or other reasons.
Well, there's a way to solve all of those problems.
Total continuity reboot.
Probably the easiest example to explain here is Batman. He's been reimagined and rebooted in various media, comic books, television shows, films and video games. They didn't all share the same continuity, but they all involved familiar characters (Batman, Commissioner Gordon, Joker, etc.) and themes (crime-fighting, living a double life, etc.). Character interpretations were sometimes different and so was the tone, but that's okay because they weren't meant to be the same continuities anyway. It allowed for more creativity and to take the series in different directions.
So, in relation to Splinter Cell, I think a reboot would involve restarting from scratch so that:
- Sam is now 40, old enough to be experienced and mature, but not so that old age is an issue.
- He's a veteran of the more recent War in Afghanistan and Second Gulf War, rather than the First Gulf War.
- He has just recently retired from the Navy, rather than coming out of eight years of retirement.
- His wife is alive and married to him, not divorced and dead. (Let's explore new relationships.)
- His daughter is in high school.
- There's a new threat to the world. (Not the same as the first game, we don't need a remake.)
- Irving Lambert is alive and director of Third Echelon, which was newly-formed in response to the threat.
- Shetland is attached to Third Echelon as an associate and as Sam's friend. He can be a wild card, secretly instigating proxy wars and organising terrorist attacks behind Sam's back, or he could be like Victor Coste, the guy who Sam goes to when he's in serious need of help. Or both.
- Grim is communications lead.
- Brunton is an agency associate and director of SHADOWNET.
- Coen and Redding are field runners.
- Lambert and Shetland convince Sam to join Third Echelon after he retires from the Navy.
- We meet all the characters again for the first time, obviously except for Regan and Sarah, and Lambert and Shetland who met Sam in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Call it Splinter Cell Redefined, a pun on Stealth Action Redefined.
So, let's see the problems it solves:
- Sam stays in Splinter Cell as the protagonist.
- He's also not ridiculously old to be doing the things a Splinter Cell does. He can move faster and be deadlier because he's younger and still fresh from being a SEAL.
- Lambert lives again as Sam's friend and director of Third Echelon.
- Redding and Coen return after being mysteriously absent.
- Different character interpretations are justified. It's okay if Sam acts a little reckless or gung-ho, or if Lambert reminds you that your gun is important and it's there to be used. It's not the same characters from Chaos Theory and Conviction.
Thoughts? Is this a good idea?