This morning, a new trailer emerged for Ubisoft’s upcoming stealth-action title Splinter Cell: Blacklist (which you can find embedded below this text). Ostensibly the trailer’s purpose is to demonstrate a number of the game’s novel gameplay elements, particularly protagonist Sam Fisher’s new stealth takedown attacks. The clip succeeds at this task, but it’s more notable for offering the first word on an official release date for Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
According to the final scenes of the video (along with the notice in the press release that attended it), Splinter Cell: Blacklist should hit store shelves on August 20, 2013. As far as anyone knows this is the date on which the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC iterations of the game will appear (though we wouldn’t be surprised to see Ubisoft delay one or more of these platforms’ releases either here in the US or abroad). We’ve contacted Ubisoft to see if the company would offer any further specifics on the release of Splinter Cell: Blacklist, but the “no comment” we received indicates that, at least for the moment, the company is unwilling or unable to divulge anything further.
Normally a release date reveal would serve as minor news on its own, but in this case things are bit more interesting. When Ubisoft first unveiled Splinter Cell: Blacklist at E3 2012 we were told that the game would appear at some point during the Spring of 2013. The Gallic publisher has often reiterated this release window as the official date for Splinter Cell: Blacklist since that time, and while it never officially cemented Spring for the game’s release, it comes as a shock to only learn of the game’s most recent official launch date by reaching the end of an otherwise unremarkable promotional trailer.
The key problem here is that this nonchalant revelation of what would normally be a pretty big announcement may indicate that Ubisoft might not afford Splinter Cell: Blacklist the appropriate level of promotional coverage it deserves. The change also signifies that the game has been delayed. The Spring date has been firm for months now, and the reveal of a late summer date signifies that something has changed. That could be alarming, or it could be nothing at all. We may never know.
Assassin’s Creed III received a massive marketing push, and while it was a good game, most players would agree that it stands as objectively inferior to Far Cry 3, another Ubisoft title which was released a bit more than a month after ACIII. Unfortunately, the phenomenal Far Cry 3 has been largely overshadowed by the earlier game, at least as far as sales go, which we fear will convince Ubisoft that its choice to focus almost entirely on the more lucrative franchise is the correct one. Unless Ubisoft is willing to put considerable weight behind its ad blitz, Splinter Cell: Blacklist might just fade quietly into the shadows.