Ubisoft dropped more than a few surprises this year at E3, one of which was during Microsoft's press conference where they revealed the latest in the Splinter Cell series, Splinter Cell: Blacklist. The next iteration will be the sixth console game in the series, taking place after the events of Conviction. With espionage stories being as convoluted as they typically are, some might have lost track of what exactly is going on in Sam Fisher’s universe.
Well, you are in luck. We gathered together the most important story details and characters from recent Splinter Cell games to get you up to speed and ready to jump right into Blacklist.
This article contains SPOILERS for Splinter Cell: Conviction. Read at your own risk.
Sam Fisher is the protagonist
In the first Splinter Cell game, Sam was a retired Navy SEAL who was recruited to become a Splinter Cell operative for the National Security Agency’s (NSA) super-secret spy agency, Third Echelon. Think of him as another Solid Snake. Stealth infiltration is his professional trade, but he doesn't walk into missions unarmed, and he likes to hang from ceilings a lot. Since his recruitment, he’s prevented nuclear war, biological terrorism, posed as a criminal to infiltrate a terrorist organization, and stopped a Presidential assassination. Not a bad resume.
After the events of Double Agent, he had a falling out with Third Echelon due to playing the part of a terrorist so well that no one knew which side he was on anymore. Sam disappears and eventually takes it upon himself to investigate the “accidental” death of his daughter, leading him to the events of Splinter Cell: Conviction.
Sarah is his daughter
As Sam's daughter, Sarah Fisher has played a pivotal role in the last few games. She was believed to have been killed in a fatal car accident, which plunged Sam into a depression and distracted him from his super spy duties. But he gets back to snapping necks and hiding in shadowy corners in no time anyway.
The kicker is, years later, Sam learns his daughter is still alive and that the entire ordeal was completely staged by Irving Lambert, the first Director of Third Echelon, to protect Sarah and to expose a mysterious mole in the agency. In short, almost everyone involved in the cover-up is dead. Sam and Sarah have been reunited by his friend Victor Coste, and they’re all one happy family… sort of.
Victor Coste is Sam’s wartime buddy
Victor Coste is one of the few people Sam trusts. He acts as Sam’s informant during Conviction and is later revealed to be his former SEAL teammate during the Gulf War. After being captured by Iraqi soldiers during the Gulf War, Victor single-handedly rescued Sam and they’ve been best buds ever since.
During Conviction, Victor helps Sam by giving him vital equipment and information during certain missions, and is also the man narrating Conviction’s story in an interrogation at the beginning of the game. At the end of the game, Victor mentions to his captors that Sam “loves him like a brother” and that he “always comes back for family.” Right as he says that there is a giant explosion in the background leading us to assume it was Sam coming to the rescue.
Anna “Grim” Grímsdóttir was a mole in Third Echelon
Grim is another one of Fisher’s friends during his days as a Splinter Cell operative in Third Echelon. In Conviction, she was still working for Third Echelon under the new Director, Tom Reed, but began to uncover a corrupt plot from within the agency and is now working with U.S. President Caldwell as a mole.
She seeks the help of Sam and provides him with leads and equipment along the way, but some questionable decisions - like dangling Sarah Fisher’s whereabouts over Sam’s head - force him to doubt her loyalty and sours their relationship. Later, Grim reveals Irving Lambert’s true intentions behind faking Sam’s daughter’s death, and that she knew about it all along - which kind of ticks Sam off. What her role might be in Blacklist is anyone's guess. Sam gives her the cold shoulder at the end of Conviction, but if we had to bet, he will be working with her again soon.
President Caldwell shut down Third Echelon
After Splinter Cell: Double Agent, Sam went off the grid, only to return to find his daughter. During his investigation he stumbles into a conspiracy to assassinate President Caldwell. Apparently, the President planned on shutting down Third Echelon but the Director, Tom Reed, wasn’t having it.
So, Reed masterminds a devious plan to assassinate the President, take over the country and run the US’s espionage operations his way. Naturally, Sam intervenes, busts a cap into Reed’s skull and Caldwell is free to discontinue Third Echelon operations. This apparently will end up giving birth to the next secret agency, Fourth Echelon which was revealed during the Splinter Cell Blacklist trailer at E3. It’s all coming together.
Sam Fisher starts Fourth Echelon in Splinter Cell: Blacklist
So far we know that in Splinter Cell: Blacklist, a new terrorist group has emerged and instigated an agenda called Blacklist (go figure), which counts down a set of escalating attacks on the United States. At the same time, Sam Fisher forms a group of special operatives called Fourth Echelon to counter the attacks and basically be the go-to intelligence agency for U.S. interests.
Any details on who the terrorists are or what they want are still a mystery. The trailer shown at E3 did show a level based in the Middle East, but that isn’t much to go on. We will update you as soon as more information becomes available.
There you have it
Now you know all the important faces and events that got Sam Fisher where he is today. Ready to hop into Blacklist? Have any story tidbits you think are going to affect the ongoing Splinter Cell storyline. Make sure you leave your crack-pot theories in the comments below.
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