Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction is the fifth original game in Ubisoft's definitive stealth action series, starring modern-day ninja Sam Fisher, former NSA special operative. The game breaks from earlier adventures, as Fisher breaks from his government service to embark on a quest of vengeance. The action is faster and more fluid than in earlier games, and Fisher's superior abilities in hand-to-hand combat are brought out of the shadows to the forefront, for fast-paced, violent encounters.
In at least one sense of the word, the title's "Conviction" denotes the main character's drive and dedication to his cause. The story is darker and much more personal than in previous Splinter Cell adventures, even including the morally ambiguous Double Agent. The hero has lost his faith in the NSA and the Third Echelon, turning his back on their institutions and applying his peerless skills of infiltration and assassination to a more personal task. He seeks the killers of his daughter and is willing to leave a trail of as many dead bodies as it may take, be they hardened criminals or government operatives, in order to have his revenge.
Splinter Cell: Conviction introduces a new system, called "Mark and Execute," that allows the hero to attack enemies or objects with amazing speed and accuracy, when properly prepared. While Fisher is hiding and undetected, he can observe a scene and players can use a button to temporarily tag different people or objects. When a second button is pressed, Fisher breaks stealth and immediately fires at each tagged target, in rapid succession, allowing him to shoot out all the lights in a room, destroy cameras and other security equipment, or to quickly kill multiple enemies with the element of surprise, before they have a chance to fight back, defend themselves, or raise an alarm.
Even if Fisher is caught in the middle of a maneuver, all is not lost, as he can still try to dash to the shadows for a quick getaway. If he is successful in regaining stealth, a ghost image of Fisher will appear where he was last spotted, giving players a visual reference to where the enemy will be concentrating its attention and perhaps allowing them to attempt another surprise attack from a different angle.
Conviction was developed at the Ubisoft Montreal studios, where three of the previous games in the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series were created, including the original. Initially intended for release in 2007, the game underwent a notably lengthy development process, with at least one high-profile delay as designers reworked the Splinter Cell formula with more action, combat, and free-flowing violence. Sam Fisher's hand-to-hand combat moves are based on motion-capture of Thierry Cimkauskas, an expert in the Krav Maga martial arts style practiced widely in military and law enforcement organizations. The hero is again voiced by actor Michael Ironside, whose performances in the role of Sam Fisher have defined the character throughout the Splinter Cell adventures and earned him celebrity in the gaming industry.