Prior to the recent round of hands-on previews, it would be fair to say that Splinter Cell: Blacklist had been suffering from a messaging problem with respect to its perceived focus on action at the expense of stealth and a certain infamous torture scene. Some would argue that it's still an issue for the game, which appears to be garnering, at best, mixed reactions.
Commenting that properly conveying stealth on an E3 stage demonstration would have been tricky, Blacklist producer Andrew Wilson tells Eurogamer "We've scaled a lot of that [violence] back, and as we've gone through the process of development there are always things that you feel are not working as well. Every game does this, and cuts certain things."
Returning to the aforementioned torture sequence, an interactive part of the E3 demo in which Sam twists a knife around inside of a man he's attempting to interrogate, Wilson explains that "Definitely we are not going to see when the game's coming out that there are torture scenes in it. That scene is not there any more. I've not really heard anyone say they loved it..."
I would never say that torture should be avoided as a subject in videogames, but I think that in this particular instance, in this particular game, it's probably for the best that things worked out the way they did. Could it be used effectively in the medium? Sure. But I didn't get the sense that torture was necessary here -- not based on what we saw of the game.
Splinter Cell Blacklist's torture scene is cut [Eurogamer]