The recently announced Wii U version of Splinter Cell: Blacklist is not being handled by Ubisoft Toronto, the developer of the core version, and is instead being handled by Ubisoft's Shanghai studio.
Producers at Ubisoft Toronto couldn't shed much light on the Wii U version during a recent press event, although they pointed towards why Ubisoft remains one of the Wii U's strongest third-party supporters. "We have amazing brands, and if we make great games on all the platforms people will be happy," said Splinter Cell Blacklist creative director Maxime Beland. "As long as the quality's there and the game is fun it's going to work or have a chance of working."
Ubisoft Shanghai has history with the Splinter Cell series, having made Pandora Tomorrow before lending its hand to Double Agent. It's also working on the co-op modes across all versions of Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
"What I like about what we're doing with the Wii U is that Splinter Cell's always about gadgets, and with the controller it's a natural extension," said Beland. "It's interesting on that side for sure, because we didn't have to invent new ways of interacting with the game to support the hardware. It just makes sense."
Beland went on to say how the approach to the Wii U's hardware mirrors what's being done with the Xbox 360 version within Ubisoft Toronto. "It's just like what we're doing on Kinect - it's a microphone. You've got the back button to whistle and call enemies - with Kinect you just shout 'hey you' and it just works.
"I'm a big fan of supporting technology when it's a natural extension of the gameplay," Beland continued. "I'm less excited when it's unnatural. For example, we've got Kinect which means we've got voice recognition. Do we want players in their living room to say 'reload'. To me, Sam doesn't say 'reload', so I don't want the player to say 'reload'. We're using voice for different things. I just wanted our Kinect integration to be a natural evolution of what Sam would do."
When asked why it's only Kinect that supports voice control when the Xbox 360 isn't the only console to have a microphone, Beland's response was frank and honest. "That's a good question - and I don't have the answer."
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is heading to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC and Wii U this August, and Ubisoft is done announcing new platforms for the time being - although Beland wouldn't explicitly rule out next-gen versions. "I don't know - but right now we're saying Xbox 360, Wii U and PC."