If You Like Splinter Cell, Thank The Guy Who Played Sam Fisher

Fun fact: actor Michael Ironside, who voiced Tom Clancy stealth juggernaut Splinter Cell's main character, super spy murder dad Sam Fisher, nearly quit before the series even got off the ground.

As part of a Reddit AMA, Ironside talked about Splinter Cell's early days and how he basically didn't want anything to do with it because good ol' Sam was a "two-dimensional killing machine." He nearly walked out entirely:

"I have to confess I'm not a gamer. And when they sent me the contract for the very first game, it was quite lucrative, and I said 'absolutely, I will do this.' I thought it was going to be like PONG, and I would just have to introduce it."

"When I got the script, it was very stiff, very inflexible, and very blood and violent. And I didn't want to do it. And told them I was going to give them back their money. They asked me what would it take to keep me on the project, and I said we would have to change the character, and give him some type of humanity. To their credit, they sat me down with the game creators, and we came up with the present Sam Fisher, who had an empathy and was not just a 2 dimensional killing machine. And we got as much humanity, I think that that format will allow."

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He also espoused the virtues of being able to act alongside the game's other actors, rather than talking into the wall of some cold, sterile booth. He said he refused to do it any other way. "On the first two games, we brought the cast in, and we all did it together, so we had a sense of humanity," he said. "That was one of my stipulations."

So then, why didn't he reprise his now-iconic role in Splinter Cell: Blacklist, the series' most recent entry? Because, as it turns out, real decades-old men aren't so great at the whole super spy gig:

"I think it's a great idea for Ubisoft. They've gone to motion capture, and this spring I will be 65 years old. I don't think anyone wants to pay money seeing a 65 year old Sam Fisher bounce around on set, killing and stumbling while he kills people. I wish them all the luck. I hope that franchise has a long and storied future."

Which is totally understandable. It's kind of a shame, though, given that—as Kirk pointed out in his review of Blacklist—Sam's actually a pretty generic dude without Ironside manning his gravel-spackled pipes.

Ironside certainly had a big hand in making the series what it is, though. Bravo to that. Thanks, Michael Ironside. Thmichaelirons—[trips over his own tongue and down a flight of stairs].

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To contact the author of this post, write to nathan.grayson@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @vahn16.

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