Splinter Cell is back, I guess
It’s always big news when Ubisoft announces a new Assassin’s Creed game, even though that’s more or less an annual tradition at this point. It’s even bigger news when Ubisoft announces a new Splinter Cell game, a franchise that has been largely forgotten about for a long time now.
Yet, unfortunately, despite new installments in both of those series being unveiled today, it’s not going to drum up a whole lot of excitement.
As part of the Facebook Connect event that kicked off today, Ubisoft revealed new Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed games for Oculus VR. They’re both being primarily developed by the North Carolina-based Ubisoft Red Storm team. No gameplay details — protagonists, plot, setting, etc. — were mentioned regarding either game.
It’s also unclear what devices these titles are launching for. They’re exclusive to Oculus, so we know that it’ll stay within that family. But the linchpin of the VR section of Facebook Connect is the reveal of the Oculus Quest 2. It seems unlikely that Oculus Quest 2 will be able to natively run these games without hooking up to a capable PC (and essentially transforming the Quest into a Rift). However, Oculus is discontinuing Rift headsets, so these games were probably built with the Quest 2 in mind.
Any way you slice it, it’s frustrating that Splinter Cell‘s return is confined to a single VR platform. This could turn out one of two ways. It could go the Half-Life: Alyx route and end up amazing, an experience that leverages VR to evolve the series. (Although I still feel extremely bad for non-VR adopters who had to see the next chapter in Half-Life by watching Let’s Plays on YouTube.) Or, it could wind up being a half-baked attempt at cashing in on a popular series with underwhelming VR mechanics. At least Red Storm handled Star Trek: Bridge Crew a few years ago, and that turned out mostly fine.
We’ll hear more about Splinter Cell and Assassin’s Creed in VR in the very near future. Oculus Quest 2 ships in mid-October, and these games can’t be all that far behind. For some of you, this is an exciting development as emergent technology tackles two very high-profile franchises. For more of you, it’s just frustrating.
Did you know that the phrase “The monkey’s paw curls” isn’t actually said anywhere in the short story? That’s completely unrelated to anything else in the preceding six paragraphs.