Ubisoft’s Pete Closs on Splinter Cell: Conviction

Pete Closs

Pete Closs is one of the main points of contact UK blogs such as us have with Ubisoft. When he introduced himself at last week’s Splinter Cell Conviction community event in Reading with a proffered hand for shaking, Luke had to admit that both of his were caked in pizza debris. Pete reacted by giving a friendly wave from a few feet away.

Despite this less than ideal introduction, the depressingly young Pete (Luke had been dragged kicking and screaming into his thirties just three days previously) was more than happy to give Critical Gamer an impromptu interview.

CG: What sort of reaction have you had from people here tonight [to the new Splinter Cell]?

Pete: Really keen. I’ve been playing it a lot myself – mostly co – op – and so I’ve been wondering ‘is it just me? What does everyone else think?’ and everyone really seems to love it. That’s what everyone’s been saying here.

CG: Is there any one element that seems to have stood out for people?

Pete: Mark and Execute. Because especially as you get further into the game, it’s not just a couple of guys in a room that you can take out with Mark and Execute. You have to pick your targets, get the most dangerous ones first, then deal with the rest the old fashioned way. Everyone’s just clicked with that, nobody’s been saying ‘oh, this is too easy’ or, ‘I don’t get how this works’.

CG: It’s still recognisably a Splinter Cell game though having said that, it is quite a departure from previous titles. It will probably succeed in bringing in a new audience – but is there a worry it might alienate existing Splinter Cell fans?

Pete: They’ve certainly been the most concerned [gamers]. It’s a case of you can play how you want, however. There are multiple paths through the levels, you can stealth it entirely and just use the pistol and not use Mark and Execute, stick to the shadows; or the other end of it is the action. You can’t treat it like a first person shooter, though. You can pick up machineguns, but that won’t get you through the game. In between these extremes you can explode out of the shadows, take control of the situation, then if it gets a little hairy you can vanish again. Last Known Position means you can get away from where the enemy think you are… you can go in both directions when you play.

"No steering wheel support for Splinter Cell Conviction" claims Ubisoft's Pete Closs.

CG: It’s clear right from the off that things are coming to a head; Sam’s lost both his wife and his daughter, he’s out for information and revenge. Does this mean that we’re seeing the end of the Splinter Cell franchise here?

Pete: I genuinely haven’t heard anything! I think it’s too early to say. I think the reason they’ve gone for that storyline is to make it a more personal story again. His wife’s been dead a long time, now his daughter’s been killed as well, he’s not controlled by Third Echelon any more so he’s using these brutal moves because he can do what he likes. It’s not about ending the story so far as I know, it’s more about doing something different that still fits the character and his motives.

An Xbox 360 Elite listening to obscure indie bands, last Thursday.

CG: Notoriously, Conviction was ‘taken back to the drawing board’ and started again from scratch. Why was that?

Pete: I think it was, to paraphrase one of the developers, too much about punishment. It was a lot of fun until things went wrong. They wanted to have that sneaking around, and being in control, and out of sight in the shadows; but then to have that control still when you jump out of the shadows and start firing.

CG: To have a way to recover if you break stealth?

Pete: Yeah. You don’t want to have to restart the game – they wanted a seamless gameplay experience. That’s why you won’t see cut scenes, you’ll never see a loading screen, your objectives are projected onto walls.

CG: Noticeable by its absence on the release schedules, is a PS3 version of Conviction…

Pete: Yeah, that’s been a long time exclusive I think with Microsoft, on the Xbox and of course the PC. No plans for a PS3 version that I know of.

CG: There’s been talk of Red Steel 2 being adapted for PlayStation Move. Is that rumour, or is that fact?

Pete: I haven’t heard that internally, I think it’s more people saying ‘why don’t you do this? It makes sense’. You could easily adapt it for Move. Nothing’s being done that I know, but I’d love to see it, personally.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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