"I don't think it matters whether one person can do all the things Sam can do so much that it's believable that one person could do all that," says Richard Dansky, Central Clancy Writer for Ubisoft and part of the team who built the upcoming Splinter Cell: Conviction, due for release in April of 2010. "Sam's awesomeness is accessible in the same way that Batman's is, or that Superman's isn't - he's a human being who, by dint of training and determination and willpower, is capable of remarkable things. Deep down, that says to all of us, 'If I worked that hard and got that kind of training, maybe I could do that stuff, too.'

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"Mind you, I know that even with the best training the world, I couldn't do half of what Sam does - if nothing else, I'm too short - but there's that little part of me that goes maybe ... just maybe ..."

Conviction finds Fisher after he's been hung out to dry by his former employer - a secret arm of the U.S. Government called Third Echelon - and just found out his daughter's accidental death may have been no accident at all. After having devoted his life to the higher cause - as defined by his superiors - he now finds himself set apart from what he thought he believed and whom he thought he could trust. It's a spy story for the modern age if ever there was one.

"I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Conviction really starts a reinvention of the Splinter Cell mythology by putting Sam in a wider context," Dansky says. "He's out of the hermetically sealed world of Third Echelon and forced to make his own decisions - who to trust, what to do, what's important to him - and that opens up all sorts of new situations and relationships. What had been very clearly defined working relationships are now being re-invented on the fly, because everyone's got an agenda and everybody's got a different idea of where the post-3E Sam fits."

All of which raises the question: Where does post-3E Sam fit? Ken Taylor was driven to commit brave yet dangerous acts of espionage because he saw a wrong he wanted to help right. What drives Sam Fisher?

"That's part of what marks Conviction as a turning point in the Splinter Cell series," says Dansky. "Previously, what drove Sam was the mission. He had orders, he had objectives and he had someone whispering in his ear telling him what needed to be done. He was a highly efficient part of a highly efficient team and an instrument of foreign policy. Now, with Sam on the outside, the answer to the question of 'What drives him?' has to change. What's driving him now is what he needs - in this case, finding the answer to the riddle of his daughter's death - and a lot of the narrative tension in the game comes from balancing that vitally important personal good against the quote-unquote 'greater good' he's been sacrificing for all his life."

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