So Ubisoft has come out and shown us a bit of the Splinter Cell: Blacklist Campaign. It is predictably moving in the direction established in Conviction; mark-and-execute is back, stealth seems to be available but totally optional and functionally scaled back to make room for the "Sam Fisher is a slaughterhouse with legs" mechanics. I'm sure there will be a totally passable story, and while Michael Ironside will be missed, and missed sorely, I've no doubt the single player experience will hit all the notes that we should expect from the 6th entry in a series that has followed a well-telegraphed arc.
But fuck all that.
The big news about Blacklist is the return of Spies vs. Mercs multiplayer. Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory had for my money the best multiplayer experience basically ever. From the concept to the gameplay to the level design, it was pitch-perfect. When Double Agent was released I was excited to see a new coat of paint on the old Spies vs Mercs, but in the end, the 3 vs 3 concept, the gadget changes on both sides and the level designs didn't recapture the magic introduced in Pandora Tomorrow and perfected in Chaos Theory.
Now Blacklist has stated its intention to bring back Spies vs. Mercs, but with no information beyond that it exists. This is the information I need. I pray for a return to the 2 v 2 Spies vs. Mercs and secretly hope for a couple classic maps to be rereleased (Aquarius, Club House). Will I get satisfaction, and another kick at the Splinter Cell Multiplayer can? We'll find out soon enough. But in the meantime, I've learned everything I care to learn about the single player experience, bring on the multiplayer news!