The Splinter Cell franchise first hit the scene in 2002, an offshoot of Ubisoft's Tom Clancy-branded military games. It made waves at the time with unique stealth mechanics that allowed players to hide in the shadows while performing their missions. Also noteworthy was Michael Ironside's gravelly voice performance as the game's hero, aged superspy Sam Fisher. The series has been popular enough to spawn six sequels and a movie iteration that has been in development purgatory since 2006. Tom Hardy was attached to star in the project in 2012.
The most recent game in the franchise was 2013's Splinter Cell: Blacklist which caused a stir amongst longtime fans by replacing Michael Ironside as the star with, mo-cap performer Eric Johnson. Despite being well received critically, the game fell far short of Ubisoft's sales goals and we haven't heard an official peep about the return of the franchise since.
If a rumor on the NeoGaf forums is to be believed, that peep may be coming along sooner than later, and could include the announcement that Ironside is returning to his iconic role. Yves Guillemot of Vivendi dropped a hot quote from a contact she has within Ubisoft:
"I was surprised Splinter Cell didn't appear at E3. I know Ironside is back. He was in the studio, I said Hi to him and his daughter... I'm hoping to hear or see something unofficial, if not official, this year, but its been hard to get anything beyond 'It's Happening'"
Keep in mind that even if the source is legit and the information is true, this is far from a confirmation that a new Splinter Cell is on the way with Ironside starring. Games significantly change in development all the time, sometimes even after they've been announced. This has even happened with chapters of Splinter Cell in the past. The fact that this new chapter hasn't even been announced yet suggest that Ubisoft isn't in a position to confidently announce the direction of their new product.
Despite being a rumor, the logic of these choices checks out. Ubisoft is betting big on the viability of their franchises in Hollywood. Assassin's Creed, starring Michael Fassbender, is hitting this November in lieu of their decade-long traditional game release. Assuming Splinter Cell is ever actually going to make it to the big screen, Ubisoft is going to need to keep the IP alive. They've also learned the hard way that Ironside's performance was a major facet of the franchise's appeal.
Short of casting Ironside in the live action iteration, this could pronounce the difficulty of adapting the property to film. However, keeping the game franchise strong is likely Ubisoft's primary concern at the moment. Let's face it: There's a far smaller chance that a game release of Splinter Cell will be a disaster than a film adaptation.
The Splinter Cell film does not currently have an official release date, and no follow-up game has been officially announced. Screen Rant will let you know when that changes.