[Read it on GIO.]
Granted, I am almost positive this would never happen, but it’s an interesting thought regardless.
What is character, truly? We know its many meanings, we know its many challenges- but what is the true meaning of the word? Is it honor, integrity, loyalty? Or is it good versus evil? Or maybe even intelligence, stupidity, cowardice, and any other character traits you can come up with. Character is all of this and so much more. It might be hard to explain all of the nuance behind this simple nine letter word, however, it is much easier to show you a character’s evolution and progression- and the change in their character along the way. Whereas some fall by the wayside over the years and are remembered callously or even hatefully, others continue on in good standing or go out with a bang (as a certain Sergeant once said…). Today, I’ll use a slightly older man as the example for my writing here, and one of the two in the above picture… You have a fifty percent chance of guessing who it is and I’ll improve your chances to 110% by letting you know he doesn’t normally wield a crowbar and he had a recent release that wasn’t, sadly, Half-Life 3. Yep, that’s right- Sam Fisher is our man today, and far from gliding about in the shadows like some Batman, he will be thrust in the light for a really good look at how a character can evolve over the years. Other great examples include Mario and Co, the crew of Twisted Metal, and even Kratos- for a more recent example. Let us begin.
New Guy on the Block
Here we are, with our first encounter in such gritty fashion, quickly becoming acquainted, and even friends with the covert and wily Sam Fisher. The Third Echelon black ops agent pursues his enemies with a savvy, persevering, borderline dogmatic tenacity (sorry, big words for emphasis) and gets his man nearly every time. Sam Fisher can do no wrong at this point, and is basically an untouchable shadow taking down political, terrorist, and foreign foes at every turn. Not to mention, he is essentially like Master Chief as we first knew him- not too emotionally attached, not too friendly, pretty unknown to the players and detached from nearly everything save practicality and pragmatism. This Sam Fisher is not the Sam Fisher we know now. And here’s how he got there…
Open Pandora’s Box and Expect Some Chaos
Next comes Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory, two more Splinter Cell games with two more dangerous cabals vying for attention from the one and only Sam Fisher- or at least, that’s essentially what this is about anyways at this point. At this point, in the story and in the character it breathes life into anew, we are starting to see a slight similarity in this once stoic and solid agent in relation to the badass mercenary/renegade like man we are now used to from Conviction and now Blacklist as well. Sam Fisher is no longer untouchable as the above picture shows. He is no longer only a creature of the night and shadows, and not always in his natural element either. Sam has evolved with the years, and this is the start right here- making him not only more proficient at what he does, but a more believable character, and a more realistic human being as well. He is fallible just as any and all of us are…
Convicting a Double Agent
Now, we get closer and closer to the mark we truly know and mostly love, or at least appreciate for what he is. Sam Fisher is a wanted man with a mark and price on him. He still fights the good fight, but many variables have changed since his initial times at Third Echelon. He goes from killer elite to double agent to triple agent to mercenary/gun for hire/self-serving assassin in a brutally efficient and scarily fast downward spiral. And the best thing? It only buffs his character out even further. Only makes him better, faster, stronger, and many other things both physically and characteristically. Conviction is the breaking point where all hell breaks loose, and Sam handles it with ease, even coming full circle at the end just in time to set things up for the newly released Blacklist, where he leads what is essentially (as it is properly called) Fourth Echelon. The hunted is the hunter, the hunter is the hunted. All things come full circle, but instead of now being the able-bodied, well-greased rook, we have this grizzled veteran in nearly the same situation, approaching it nearly the same way, but with our benefit- we know how different and how changed he truly is. And that’s what makes a character good, and this is how they evolve.
Many things have changed, and a few things haven’t. Sam Fisher now knows he is not untouchable, and accepts that because he also knows that his enemies aren’t untouchable- or untraceable. His more action versus stealth oriented approach gives him a search and destroy sort of mentality, where there is no quarter and no thought aside finishing his mission one piece at a time. He’ll get the job done, no matter the cost, no matter who gets in his way- and that is the ruthless effeciency we’ve always known, coupled with the experience he has gained from his misadventures and the journey through Double Agent and Conviction. No longer hampered so much by the politics, Fisher knows how the world works from first hand experience, and knows he can’t rely on anyone save himself to get things done. This is how it ends, or at least continues on a different track from the one we’ve known up until now. The sixth addition to the Splinter Cell saga changes many things and refines the others- one of those being Fisher’s persona and character, fleshing them out in ways never before seen. With age comes wisdom, it truly seems…