Developers have to walk on egg shells these days, and responding to the climate of the day, Ubisoft Toronto has cut the notorious torture scene from Splinter Cell Blacklist. The scene, first shown at E3, received a negative response due to its brutality.
Definitely we are not going to see when the game’s coming out that there are torture scenes in it,” said Andrew Wilson, producer of Splinter Cell Blacklist. “That scene is not there any more. I’ve not really heard anyone say they loved it…
In the scene, Sam Fisher tortures an enemy by sinking a knife in the enemy’s throat. What’s more, the player is given control over the twisting of the knife in order to get intelligence out of the bad guy.
It wasn’t nice to see any negative reaction to something you’ve thrown your life into,” said Wilson. “But at the same time you have to have the confidence that as long as you’ve got that stuff in there, eventually people will see it.
Is the outrageous violence a fault of Ubisoft Toronto, or rather the failing of our attention span in this industry?
Because the nature of E3, there are certain things that are easier to demonstrate, said Wilson. Obviously we were up on stage at the beginning, and it’s quite hard to get the value of a stealth playthrough in that environment. We would have got a negative reaction if we showed that kind of stuff.
Splinter Cell has been around long enough for people to know what the franchise is about, and Metal Gear Solid certainly hasn’t had to resort to player-controlled knife-in-the-neck torture in order to falsely sell its stealth action gameplay.
Why should Splinter Cell? Who are these people who would give Splinter Cell, a well-known stealth game, a “negative reaction” for being the kind of game it is supposed to be?
My advice to developers and publishers: stop trying to appeal to a post-Call of Duty world, and continue to sell your games based on the merits that made them great in the first place.