What was Sam Fisher up to in the time between Splinter Cell Conviction and Splinter Cell Blacklist? Was he able to enjoy a quiet retirement with his daughter, Sarah? Did he start up a poker night? Eisner-nominated comic book writer Nathan Edmondson plans to bridge the gap between the two games with Splinter Cell Echoes.
Yes, Sam did retire to spend some quiet time with Sarah, but his old friend Vic needs a favor and Sam is pulled out of retirement. Edmondson, whose work includes The Activity and Who is Jake Ellis?, explains that the 88-page graphic novel will proceed much like the games, with globetrotting missions, intrigue and danger. But because it’s not constrained by the same rules as videogames, Echoes has the opportunity to explore a different side of Sam Fisher. Edmondson saw this as the perfect chance to look more in-depth at Sam’s relationships. “I think the thing I enjoyed most was writing his relationships, especially his relationship with his daughter. We had to understand, not only how he sees her and what his relationship is with her, but also how she sees him and how she comes to accept him into her life and the strain and difficulty between them.”
Several familiar faces will make appearances in Echoes, some friendly and some much less so. “You’ll learn more about the people he’s fighting and some of the enemies he has made and is making. Part of the meaning behind the title, Echoes, is that Sam’s past actions have resonated and echoed forward into the future and now he has to deal with some of the consequences of his actions in the past, even the unintended ones.” Even sweet, darling Charlie Cole appears in Echoes.
‘Nobody knows Sam Fisher better than the team at Ubisoft Toronto’
When we meet Charlie in the beginning of Blacklist he and Sam are already acquainted, having worked together in Echoes. “Charlie is a little bit of an everyman nerd. What’s fun about Charlie is you get to see Sam through his eyes. He’s almost a fan of Sam,” Edmondson tells us. Charlie is the voice in Sam’s ear when he goes into the field and through the course of Echoes we’ll learn how their relationship develops to point we see in Blacklist.
The comic does not lead directly into Blacklist, and because of this Edmondson was allowed a much higher degree of autonomy. He didn’t have to get the story to a specific point; his only constraints were to create a story that followed the voice established by the series and “end the book in a way that allows Blacklist to come after it.” Beyond that he was allowed complete freedom to tell the story he wanted to tell.
“One of the areas where we did have a lot of back and forth was in talking about Sam’s voice and Sam’s mentality. We may have some familiarity with the character but we’re coming into a group that devotes their 9-to-5 or 8-to-7 or 24-hour day existence at work every day in the head of this character,” Edmondson said of the working relationship with Blacklist’s development team. “Nobody knows Sam Fisher better than the team at Ubisoft Toronto. We definitely had a lot of dialogue with them that helped us understand who Sam is and why he is the way he is.”
Splinter Cell Echoes will only be available in the Splinter Cell Blacklist Collector’s Edition, available for pre-order now on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. For more Splinter Cell Blacklist intel, check out these posts: