I am a huge Splinter Cell fan. Well I'm a huge fan of Splinter Cell, Pandora Tomorrow, Chaos Theory, and even certain aspects of Double Agent.
The stealth gameplay which made the SC franchise famous is some of the most rewarding and entertaining gameplay experiences I have ever had. Splinter Cell is absolutely without doubt my favorite franchise and SP experience, period.
Are there things I would change about the first three games? Ya, in a perfect world there are a lot of things that could be changed to make them more fluid, fun, challenging, but it doesn't really matter because they were good, entertaining games.
Double Agent still had that SC feel but with many improvements and (imo) positive changes like: day missions, quicker pace while still retaining the gameplay, obviously improved gfx, better gun handling, a new level of variety (excluding the fact that half the missions take place in the same building).
I have to say that Kinshasa is probably in my top 3 favorite SC missions of all time, very impressive and entertaining level. But I was one of the unfortunate souls who purchased the PC version which was plagued with terrible bugs that still to this day have never been fixed. If they had been fixed or if I was a console player I might have some more nice things to say about DA but since not; the DVD met its demise via pellet gun one frustrating afternoon. $60 not so well spent.
I'm not even gonna comment on Conviction, they shoulda just called it Gears of Fisher and called it a day.
But I digress,
Ubisoft (if any of you actually happen to read this), its far too early for me to comment on the actual game do to lack of content and obviously not having played the game itself; but based purely on the trend that has been each new succession of SC, I don't have high hopes for Blacklist. I'm sure that blacklist will be more action oriented with less emphasis on stealth and tactics; and I'm probably not going to like that, but its your game and you can do what you want with it.
If however you wanted to restore SC to its former (i don't even know if "glory" is a strong enough word) I would make 4 suggestions to you:
1) Return to the original style gameplay with focus on stealth, tactics, and challenge. This is what made SC famous, if you want to sell millions of copies this will get it done.
2) Don't try to explain the unexplainable or continue the story in any way. Forget Sam's age and what hes done in the past, just develop an enthralling story that stands alone and build the game around that.
3) Innovate, when I think of Ubisoft I think of a company that has a history of pushing the envelope (and being very good at it). When I say return to the original gameplay I don't mean remake SCCT. Re-adopt the core gameplay and then innovate. Push that envelope, show me a next generation SPLINTER CELL game.
4) Support your PC product! For the love of god Ubisoft, this is hurting your company's reputation more than anything else. I played GRFS and all I can say is WOW. You should seriously be ashamed of yourselves. I know you lose a lot of money to pirating. I'm guilty of this too, but when you release a sub-par product and then don't even support your customers, how can you expect people to shell out $60 for something they may spend more time troubleshooting than actually playing. I spent 4 days just getting GRFS's controls to work properly. You don't deserve my money, plain and simple. I would never buy one of your games without "trying" it first. I have no problem shelling out $60 for a quality piece of software, I'm not poor, but what I don't have money for is a product that is so misleading and atrocious that in any other industry you would be sued for fraud.
Didn't mean to go off on a rant there but it had to be said.
I have a lot of respect for the innovation that comes out of your company.
I have no respect for the PC development side of your company.
I think the next SC game after Blacklist could be the best Splinter Cell game ever, provided you heed the advice of the community and realize that you stopped making SC games a long time ago.
Support your PC players! release a quality product from the start and you wont have to spend months and thousands of dollars fixing a game that's already been released and sold.
I'll be watching with interest but skepticism