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Sam Fisher going rogue?

Splinter Cell 4 teasers.

Looks like Sam Fisher's next outing might be a painful one. And we're not just talking about the necks that he'll be snapping or the poor crims whose conspiracies he'll be undermining - by the looks of Ubisoft's cryptic promotional efforts, Sam himself's facing up to a bit of inner turmoil.

The Beware Sam Fisher website holds most of the clues - laid out like a pinboard covered in newspaper cuttings, the areas that expand focus on the death of his daughter Sarah in a drunk-driving incident, and his discharge from Third Echelon. There's also a voicemail message waiting on a nearby telephone where the familiar voice of Michael Ironside, Fisher's voice actor, says, "You have no idea what's coming," and, "I'll be the one you're looking for."

Further clues, dredged up by fiddly types on the Gaming Age Forums, suggest that Fisher's gone rogue, robbing a bank - and there's even a "Wanted" poster of a shaven-headed Fisher-like looking rather grim.

Ubisoft, having covered back up some of the clues it hadn't planned for the world to see yet by renaming hidden images, kept up the ruse, telling GameSpot, "[It] looks like Sam is going through some tough times."

Quite what happens to Sam in his fourth adventure remains to be seen then, but it doesn't sound like a world of fun - at least not for him. Fortunately it won't remain-to-be-seen for too much longer. As announced at X05 a month ago, Ubisoft plans to release Splinter Cell 4 on current console formats, Xbox 360 and PC in spring 2006.