Update: A new Splinter Cell game may have been in development for several months.
A new Venturebeat report claims that Ubisoft ran a test session with consumers in the weeks before E3 2021, which ran from 12-15 June. Players reportedly tested the Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time remake, "and something that had the appearance of a new Splinter Cell prototype."
Details are scarce, as testers are not said to have spent long with the project, which was presented as "a vertical slice that was just a basic tutorial section." Venturebeat does state, however, that "this version of the game combined familiar Splinter Cell actions with elements of the 2016 Hitman reboot."
It's important to note that this isn't necessarily the same project said to have been recently greenlit by Ubisoft (see original story, below). Venturebeat was not able to corroborate those reports, and projects can change significantly through the development process, especially at this early stage.
Original story: A new Splinter Cell game has reportedly been greenlit at Ubisoft.
According to VGC, the new project "has been put into production as a means of winning back fans frustrated by recent efforts to revive the franchise" which saw Sam Fisher head to VR and mobile platforms.
It's not currently known which studios are working on the project, but VGC suggests that Ubisoft Montreal - one of the company's most prominent developers - is not leading the project. The game is said to be in the "early phase of production," but there is "a small chance" that it could be announced during 2022.
It's been more than eight years since the launch of the last mainline Splinter Cell game on major platforms, Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Fans who have been waiting since then for Fisher's return had to contend with a Splinter Cell game announced exclusively for Oculus VR back in September 2020. Over the past few years, the franchise has unofficially reared its head on a handful of occasions, with Ubisoft discussing its wariness of the pressure of creating a new Splinter Cell game, and some of its lead developers duping us into believing they were working on the game.
Last summer, Fisher's Italian voice actor appeared to confirm that a game had been in development for an announcement this year, but that doesn't seem to line up with this new report. Even if Ubisoft has given the franchise the green light, however, don't expect to see it for a while, if at all - a game in the early stages of development could still be several years away, and it's very possible for unannounced projects to never see the light of day.
For the games that are a little closer to release, here's our list of new games 2021.