Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Blame Avatar tech for Michael Ironside’s Absence, states Ubisoft

Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Blame Avatar tech for Michael Ironside’s Absence, states Ubisoft

Too old for this sh**?

by Nicholas Laborde

©2012 Nicholas Laborde

Ubisoft have had one hell of an E3 showing, most notably with their announcements of Watch Dogs and Splinter Cell: Blacklist.

As you may have previously read here, I wasn’t too happy with the axing of Sam Fisher‘s charismatic voice actor Michael Ironside.

Being a massive fan of the franchise since day 1 of the first title, I anxiously (but professionally) grilled our presenter of the game after our behind-closed-doors presentation at E3 2012.

The answer is reasonable, but fans still may not be happy.

I’ll iron your side…

After humbly stating that I have a burning question that they’ve probably been hit with a hundred times before, the developer smiled and told me to shoot.

I simply asked: “What happened to Michael Ironside? Was he not game to do another title?”

The developer got serious, said “Ironside? Who’s that?” and we had a good laugh.

He went on to explain that some of the members of the new Ubisoft Toronto studio were friends with some of the producers of the wildly successful film Avatar.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist uses the same motion capture technology as the film, which is undoubtedly the driving force behind the new “killing in motion” mechanic.

And then, the revelation: the technology is very specific.

As it turns out, the technology requires that the motion capture actor also do the voice acting at the same time to imitate exactly how body mannerisms looks during speech; no longer are they two separate things.

Think how awkward Marcus Fenix looks when he speaks in Gears of War, having to press his ear and trudge at a slow pace.  This tech makes motion and movement much more realistic during speech.

Michael Ironside is getting older, so this makes sense.  He’s no longer the action hero of 1980s sci fi series V or action film Starship Troopers.

After thanking the developer for his time, I meandered back onto the wild show floor to think about what else was on my schedule.

Not necessarily blacklisting fans?

While I’m not necessarily as outraged as I was, it will take some getting used to.

Ironside personified Sam, and to hear another actor – especially a younger one- taking his role, can be upsetting to many die-hard fans.

“We’re fans of the game!” enthusiastically said the developer after giving us the scoop on why Ironside wasn’t there.

I’m going to reserve judgement on the title.

In the meantime, look for our in-depth preview in the coming days, with an exclusive tidbit about the return of Spies Vs Mercenaries.

New Splinter Cell: Ironside ‘Blacklisted’

©2012 Nicholas Laborde

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I'm an American from steamy Louisiana, one of the most electronically deprived areas of the United States. I've gamed since I was four years old as a result, and plan to do it onto my deathbed. I discovered I could write in June of 2010 when I started a little site called Fans of The Genre with a few friends, and that eventually collapsed three months after due to social lives kicking in. No less than two weeks after that I discovered OXCGN via the community gamer gab competition, and become a staff member shortly after. In February of 2011 I was welcomed to the Editorial staff, then in March of 2012 I was promoted to co-owner... and here I am!

4 thoughts on “Splinter Cell: Blacklist: Blame Avatar tech for Michael Ironside’s Absence, states Ubisoft”

  1. Stealth tactics and behind the scenes missions that’s what the series should continue to be about not always having a full fledge gun battle like the old west and rackink up the body counts.


  2. This ignores a bigger problem: why is Splinter Cell so action focused now that they can’t even have an old voice actor? Why is Sam aging backwards?


  3. i feel like splinter cell has lost what it was. Now and also in the last two for the Xbox 360 it seems the games are more about body counts and killing more than stealth and tactics. But as the games change i guess people just want to kill as many people as they can and if your not killing your not playing a game…. How sad…. But i agree could have did a voice over to keep somethings the same.


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