There was way more to it than hero Sam Fisher getting a new haircut. Like, the entire game needed to be re-tooled, its direction and mechanics changed.
"I joined the team in January of 2008 and at the beginning the goal was to fix the things that weren't happening. Ubisoft had identified that there were some major issues with the game", Ubisoft Montreal's Max Beland told Edge.
"We did a lot of playtesting, a lot of consumer research, we talked to a lot of gamers and there were a lot of themes that were coming back all the time: stealth is punitive, stealth is slow. It was funny, because when you watch the movies they're not that. James Bond and Jason Bourne run fast, they don't make noise, they kill one, two, three or four guys super quickly and silently with a sound suppressor, so it's a lot more dynamic. So we needed to do something with that."
"We need to make the ten people who are attracted to Splinter Cell and stealth happy, we can't just make two happy because they want to hide in the shadows and look at the control paths for a minute and then steady the camera placement. I think it's a good and fun type of stealth gameplay but it's hardcore."
That stuff about control paths and camera placement? As someone normally bored to death by the arbitrary way games deal with stealth (Batman & Mini Ninjas excepted), I love it. Where was he five years ago?