@NMC2008: I hate that stupid "people just hate change and want the same game!" argument. No....people hate bad change, they don't hate change. Have you played the first two Splinter Cell games, then Chaos Theory? Chaos Theory improved on a lot of mechanics. It was actually quite different from the old games, but kept the parts from the old ones that made them great. What real fans want is a refinement of the stealth, not an overhaul of the franchise into an action game with pseudo-stealth elements. There's a clear difference.
The problem is that niche doesn't exist nearly to the degree it used to. Pure stealth games are almost non-existent now, which is the problem. Splinter Cell
iswas very unique, now it's trying to be like Jason Bourne mixed with Call of Duty. For God's sake, Sam can call in airstrikes. *facepalm* Okay, metaphor time. Imagine if your favorite metal band, no, ALL your favorite metal bands (if you don't like metal, replace with your favorite genre) starts playing mainstream rock. Would you just say "well, I realize all I wanted to do was listen to the same genre over and over" and gleefully embrace mainstream rock? I don't think you would.
Alright, say they made Blacklist like SCCT, how could you improve the mechanics of SCCT, mind you some people say this game is or near perfect, how do you improve the SCCT formula? Or do you give blacklist the exact same formula in a new suit? I am asking the question seriously, no snark, I honestly want to know. Also, I wish Dragonforce would sing jazzy tunes. :P I mean I get that people loved the stealth mechanics of old SC, I loved them too, but it's time to move on, others whom didn't like SCCT like Conviction so this is just a case of not being able to please everyone I guess. Also, I hear people(not in this thread yet) bad mouthing Mark & Execute, well you don't have to use it, try playing deniable ops without it while trying to be full stealth, that shit takes time, I tried and it took me 34 minutes to clear 1 section of 3, or maybe I am just awful at it. :P Anyway, I am starting to ramble, I just think people need to either accept the new direction and part ways with Mr Fisher or play it for what it is and stop whining about the death of stealth in SC. You want stealth? Play Velvet Assassin. LOL! I'm sorry.
That's actually a good question. I do firmly believe that Chaos Theory was nigh close to perfect, but there's always room for improvements. I'll skip the obvious things like "better graphics, better AI, updated engine etc." As odd as this may sound coming from me after saying that I don't like the recent changes to the franchise, I actually do believe that Conviction had some very good ideas in it. The first one would be the cover mechanics. Not necessarily because they're good in a gunfight, but because it made moving around very swift and fluid. I really liked the "jump to from cover to cover" mechanic that the game had in it. Introducing a Deniable Ops type mode would be a plus as well. I'm a sucker for extra modes. On top of the ones that Conviction had, I'd also put in a "Ghost" one that has you getting to the end of the level or completing some objectives without taking anyone out. Challenging? You bet, but Hunter and what not would still be there.
Chaos Theory was, in my opinion, a bit too easy. Now, I'm not asking for the brutal difficulty of the first one. I don't like artificial difficulty like in the original. The AI just magically found bodies even though no NPC actually saw them. Even the 'three alarms = INSTANT FAILURE" system was dumb and also unrealistic. Pandora Tomorrow eased up on that a bit, and Chaos Theory further. My minor beef with CT's difficulty is that the guards had a tendency to patrol in the dark. Who does that? They're seriously just going to walk around in a dark room all night? That, and the light meter didn't act very realistic either. You could go from max light meter to completely invisible just by walking to the corner of the room. There should also be a distinction between killing and knocking out other than a rating meter; it should have some sort of gameplay effect as well.
Open, sandbox-y levels with multiple ways to get in and out are always a plus, too. The bank level from Chaos Theory is a very good example, but not every level even in Chaos Theory was that open ended, and even the bank could be expanded upon. My version of Blacklist would be very non-linear a la Hitman: Blood Money, a great example of the kind of level design I'm talking about. Each mission generally has five or so completely different ways to take your target out. I've even found some methods I've never seen anyone on the internet use. Now that's good work on the developer's part. I realize that's asking a lot; my main point is just non-linearity in general. Even Chaos Theory was relatively linear even with the branching paths. The main thing is to avoid scripted events as much as possible. You know, the things that make levels the exact same on a second playthrough. Things like scaling down the building in Shanghai in Double Agent (terrible game; I at least hold Conviction as " a decent game, just a bad Splinter Cell game." Double Agent just sucked). It may be cool the first time around, but when you play through the level again, it just isn't that fun. You can keep things like that in there, but it shouldn't be the only way down.
Well I think I've touched on the main points. I'm sure there are a few small things that have slipped my mind, but that's basically the gist of it. Like I said, the stealth genre is dying out fast. The problem is exactly that "everyone wants the same game" according to developers because everything is getting CoD-ified. There's an oversaturation of military shooters on the market trying to appeal to Call of Duty players, now even games that aren't meant for that market are trying to hook those players in by adding elements from that genre into their own games. While new Splinter Cell isn't Call of Duty clone per se, it's definitely sacrificing what made it stand out from the crowd. People (I think I can speak for many old SC fans) don't like the direction the series is going because it's trying to be too much like every other game on the market. We just want something different, not another "run around in daylight killing dudes and calling in airstrikes" with only leftover classic SC mechanics. :)
And when you think about it, how much do Call of Duty games differentiate from each other after 4?