Ubisoft has laid bare its plans for the multiplayer component of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, revealing that while Ubisoft Montreal is busy tinkering with the single-player and co-operative game modes, the Annecy studio responsible for Pandora Tomorrow's multiplayer is once again at work on the third Splinter Cell.
The co-operative mode, which seems destined to prove very popular, will consist of a number of specific maps in which a pair of players have to help one another in order to gather intelligence relevant to the plot of the single-player game. Players will boost one another up to out-of-reach pipes and over high walls, and take it in turns to stand watch as they tinker with the innards of vital computers.
The co-op mode will also feature a "knife challenge mode," which "offers additional ways for players to collaborate and further enhances replayability," although we don't have much more than that to go on. More encouraging is the news that co-op will support online, System Link (on Xbox) and split-screen, so it'll be available to everyone who wants to play it.
The versus mode, meanwhile, will see players once again working as teams of third-person Spies and first-person Mercenaries, working through several new levels, making use of new co-operative manoeuvres and interactions, gadgets, weapons, hand-to-hand combat actions and of course taunts, and playing in one of two game modes.
The scenario mode will be more familiar - the idea being for the Spies to complete their objectives without succumbing to the Mercs. There will be neutralisation objectives (which involve reaching a target then tapping away at it for a few seconds to destroy it), extraction tasks (collect a hard disk rack and ferry it away in an attaché case) and more straightforward bombing runs (place explosive charges, don't let the Mercs defuse them).
The other mode is called disk hunt. Here the game randomly scatters a certain number of disks throughout the level, and the idea is for the Spies to retrieve a set amount to win. But, if they die, they drop whatever they're carrying and have to start over. The Mercs just run wild trying to stop them.
All in all, lots to do, and with Ubisoft angling the game at a March 2005 launch on all formats (having decided that the choppy waters of the Christmas market are a little too choppy for its liking), the developers should have plenty of time to get everything into place. We'll let you know how they get on when we get our hands on Chaos Theory. In the meantime, check out these new screenshots on PC and Xbox.
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