Despite everything we've seen in video games, there remains that thin line no one is particularly comfortable with crossing. Take, for instance, the torture scene in Ubisoft's upcoming Splinter Cell: Blacklist, which was shown toward the end of Microsoft's 2012 E3 presentation this past June. Well, seems enough of a stink was raised over the matter, leading to the decision to drop the scene entirely.
Much like Modern Warfare 2's infamous airport shooting spree, the torture sequence in Blacklist was interactive, which is probably the biggest issue folks were having with its inclusion. After all, it's one thing to witness a heinous event and quite another to take part on it.
Last week, Splinter Cell: Blacklist producer Andrew Wilson commented at a press event in Paris:
"It wasn't nice to see any negative reaction to something you've thrown your life into. But at the same time you have to have the confidence that as long as you've got that stuff in there, eventually people will see it."
The scene in question had players take the role of Sam Fisher (Who else?) during a scene where he's shoving a knife into another person's throat, then twisting it around to cause that individual enough pain so that he talks.
On the bright side, that particular scene was meant to be optional and is apparently not indicative of Blacklist as a whole, and the rest of the game is expected to be much more like a traditional Splinter Cell.
Regarding the decision to show the scene during E3, Wilson remarked:
"Because the nature of E3, there are certain things that are easier to demonstrate. Obviously we were up on stage at the beginning, and it's quite hard to get the value of a stealth playthrough in that environment. We would have got a negative reaction if we showed that kind of stuff."
He also pointed out that the torture sequence was taken entirely out of context with how it was presented, given that it really didn't have any. The audience simply saw a grotesque act played out, without much backstory to go on.
"The first thing I'd say about that is that possibly there was missing context - and in an unabridged snapshot, it seemed like pretty tough material. We've scaled a lot of that back, and as we've gone through the process of development there are always things that you feel are not working as well. Every game does this, and cuts certain things."
All that is moot now, since the scene is gone. Wilso added that he hadn't heard anyone "say they loved it..."
Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be out on August 20. The collector's edition may be worth looking into, if you're a diehard fan or just really into collecting these things.