Ubisoft Splinter Cell
We interview Mathieu Ferland on the aftermath of Splinter Cell.
Q: What does “Splinter Cell” mean?
A: NSA’s small group of strategists guides or surrounds one spy agent (Sam Fisher), the cell, with a vast amount of intelligence to guide him though all sort of missions.
Q: To what extent was Tom Clancy involved in the design process of SC?
A: He (Franchise office) was first presented with a “believable” concept for the game of Splinter Cell, then soon after along with other designs he asked that real or “not too distant” weapons and equipment be used in the game to give the game a more “now” feel, rather than have us build a game with laser guns and such. He was our guiding light.
Q: What 3D game engine was used? Why?
A: The Unreal engine. We could have used an in house engine, but we decided that we would spend most of our time building and modifying all these components to make the game. With the Unreal engine, it was already stable and just about anyone can license it. So, we decided to build a better experience over and above the unreal. Don’t be fooled, this is a highly modified Unreal engine, and we’ve built it to suit our need for the game.
Q: How many years in the development process?
A: 2 years. (-:
Q: What other platforms is SC going to be making an appearance on?
A: At this time we will have the PC/Windows version of Splinter Cell ready for just shortly after the holidays. You’ll need at least a Pentium 3 processor, minimum of an Nvidia GeForce 2 video card, and 256 MB of RAM. As for the other next-gen console, nothing is scheduled just yet. Maybe.
Q: Did the Xbox hard disk come in handy during development?
A: Yes, a lot in fact. Beside save games, hard drive is use stream sounds and music, this makes for a much cleaner effect.
Q: How easy was it to develop for the Xbox?
A: The Xbox really is the most powerful console out there right now. Xbox console has a unique processor which is nice because you can decide how to share out the memory between graphics, sounds, AI, etc. This is not the case on other consoles.
But, it never changes…I remember when we were developing games for the Nintendo 64, and we’d say…”Man, that can be so much better on the PS2”. So, as you can see it never ends, it all in how you mange your programming functions and try to provide the maximum of content. We all wonder…”What’s next?”
Q: Why was UbiSoft Montréal chosen to develop SC?
A: Three years ago, we wanted to build a game for adults, because we’d only been developing games for kids at that point in time, titles like Disney’s Donald Duck and stuff, and we wanted a change of pace from that. Don’t get me wrong, those types of games are all good, but we wanted to build a game for hardcore gamers and that’s when Splinter Cell was born.
Q: What do think of the overall buzz of SC?
A: Interesting question. We didn’t really know what we had until we showed it off for the first time at E3. Then things just exploded from there! We were suddenly under a lot of pressure to make the game good because just about everyone that saw it at E3 loved it.
We could have added so much more to the game, but we are extremely happy with the overall result.
Q: What does the future hold for the SC design team?
A: A vacation! Man we need one so bad. (grin) After we get back we start working on Xbox Live content for you folks to download out there. As for a possible sequel, we’ll see how SC does.
Q: Thank you Mathieu for this last minute interview with us, and good luck on the success of SC, and we are sure it will be game of the year for 2002.
A: Thanks for the support guys! Enjoy the game! And tell us what you think on XboxAddict.com’s review system, we’ll be checkin’ it.