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Ubisoft cuts torture scene from Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Sam Fisher won't be going 24 on America's enemies this time

A number of outlets have gotten an updated look at Ubisoft's Splinter Cell: Blacklist and one thing that's missing from the E3 reveal is the controversial torture scene. Blacklist producer Andrew Wilson told Eurogamer that the scene was cut and explained why it was in the E3 demo in the first place.

"Definitely we are not going to see when the game's coming out that there are torture scenes in it. That scene is not there anymore. I've not really heard anyone say they loved it," said Wilson. "It wasn't nice to see any negative reaction to something you've thrown your life into."

Wilson stressed that the scene - where protagonist Sam Fisher digs a knife into a hostage in order to extract information - was not indicative of the game's overall tone.

"Because the nature of E3, there are certain things that are easier to demonstrate," said Wilson. ""The first thing I'd say about that is that possibly there was missing context - and in an unabridged snapshot, it seemed like pretty tough material. We've scaled a lot of that back, and as we've gone through the process of development there are always things that you feel are not working as well. Every game does this, and cuts certain things."

Ubisoft creative director Maxime Beland told Kotaku that torture may still be present in the game, but the interactive nature has been removed.

"No, there will not be interactive torture in Blacklist. On Conviction, we called those 'interrogations,' right? And it was kind of, my vision of Conviction was that the player to be in control all the time. We had no camera cuts, I always wanted to make it feel that it was nonstop," said Beland.

"We're doing certain things with interrogation moments where you won't be in control, but you will be in control of what you do with the guy after. So again, embracing that lethal/nonlethal side."

Beland explained to Kotaku that fitting a true morality system to gameplay was difficult, as many players end up gaming to the system for reward instead of pondering moral questions.

"We had a big discussion, [game director] Patrick Redding and I, we had a big discussion about moral choices in games. Our conclusion was that, to have a true moral choice in a game, we haven't found a way to link it to gameplay. As soon as you link it to gameplay, the player sees the matrix, he sees the gold pot at the end of the rainbow, and then he plays the system a lot more than he plays the true morality."

"What we talked about, and we had lunches and meetings about it, we said, let's try something where it's a true moral choice. You're not going to get a thousand dollars if you don't kill the guy and only five hundred if you do; let's remove all the gameplay part of it. Let's put the player into those situations, put them in control-because that's where games shine-and then, hopefully, we're treating it in a way that's mature, that's respectful, that will get people talking about it."

Splinter Cell: Blacklist is scheduled for release on August 20, 2013.

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Mike Williams avatar
Mike Williams: M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.
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