The Splinter Cell website was “hacked,” revealing potential plot details, new characters, new weapons, locations, and more.Apparently, the site was hacked by a Russian organisation named Voron (Raven, when translated into English, and as we’re translating lots we’ll call them that from here on in) and it’s their files that we’ve spent the day sifting through – after using our not-inconsiderable knowledge of cryptography, computer wizardry, and maybe a little torture to work out the password. These files are divided into five sections, and we’ll summarise them below.First and foremost was information from the “Notifications” section, which detailed Third Echelon and GRU activities. Third Echelon apparently came into contact with GRU “in the case of the sale of military equipment from the pilot bases in Dagestan, the Nenets and 16 other locations worldwide,” going by the text we translated.“The intelligence provided by the Americans, inaccurate, contain a lot of untested materials, [sic] but these rumours affect some senior officers, as well as civilians,” the text continues. “So far we do not have a full analysis of the contact information of the third wave [Third Echelon?] and the GRU, but the case was transferred to us.” This leads to speculation about who and what Raven are. Other than that they’re affiliated with Russia – judging by the text being entirely in Russian – it’s hard to say. Raven could be the Russian equivalent of Third Echelon, evidenced by the case being “transferred” to them, or they could be something rather more unofficial, going by the screen name “[email protected]” that supposedly hacked the site.The big information, though, was directly below that. “According to the latest data, at the moment they monitor the delivery of a prototype weapon that could disrupt stability in the region, and want us to help them, because it ‘our common cause’ [sic].”If that’s not a plot hook, I’m not sure what is. This certainly ties Raven into things, but again, it’s unclear as to what – “they” is ambiguous, and could refer to Third Echelon, the GRU, or both. The news of a region-destabilising prototype weapon, though? That sounds big.“More extensive intelligence and biography potentially involved in the case of persons [sic] has been downloaded to your work computer. Expect more information,” concludes the text, with the signature “BK” – which, taken out of Cyrillic, becomes “VC.” Tantalising.The “Dossiers” section contains information on two characters. The first is a Third Echelon agent named Daniel Robert Sloane-Cuares (or Cuarez), codenamed Archer. An intelligence analyst for the NSA, Daniel’s lack of respect for the bureaucracy led to him being transferred to a “brutal training program for Third Echelon.” A mere 18 months later, “he was assigned the callsign ‘Archer.’”It’s hard to know what to make of Archer. We know that there’s going to be co-op play, and we’ve heard rumours that the next Splinter Cell won’t necessarily focus on Fisher, so it’s plausible that Archer could end up being a protege of some sort. On the other hand, someone akin to Fisher would also make a brilliant nemesis.{PAGE TITLE=Splinter Cell: Conviction News Round-Up Page 2}The other character mentioned in the Dossiers section is – of course – Fisher himself. Raven, for whatever reason, knows very little about our favourite super-spy. In fact, all of the useful little things like occupation, affiliation, and birth details are “Unknown” with the only real information being “Name: Samuel” and “Surname: Fisher.”The text does provide another plot link, though. “About Sam Fisher, little is known. We drew attention to him, after he came into contact with former agents of the crow Ruslan Lyupulem. We know that he is a former Navy Commando, recruited by the NSA in the program Splinter Cell and engage [sic] in various covert operations. Dangerous.”Taking that with a few grains of salt because of translation issues, it’s perfectly likely that “the crow Ruslan Lyupulem” actually means a Raven operative named Ruslan Lyupulem, but it’s impossible to discern whether Fisher came into contact with agents working for Ruslan, or whether it would translate better as “former Raven agent Ruslan Lyupluem.” Either way, barring an insignificant datastick from the original Splinter Cell bearing the name “Ruslan,” this is likely to be a new character.The other sections contain information that’s considerably less concrete, but still intriguing. The third section – “Weapons” – details an SC-3000 rifle, which doesn’t sound like the SC-20k Fisher used to use. It’s unclear whether this is an older version (17,000 older, presumably) or newer (3-series) but this would likely indicate who’s going to get their hands on it. If it’s newer, we’d imagine that it’s what Third Echelon operatives will be using. If it’s older, then it’s possible that Fisher will get his hands on some older, more readily-available technology to replace his SC-20k. As we know he’ll be able to loot weapons from enemies, though, this seems a little less likely.The fourth section, “Security,” shows a video camera feed. Not much can be gleaned from this, although it likely shows off one of the Raven safehouses or offices. It’s in Russia, certainly, and it might be linked to the coordinates gleaned from the page source code – showing it to be at 19 Nevsky Prospect, in St. Petersburg – but barring a giant globe insignia on the floor and what looks like a lobby in the process of being set up, it’s hard to say. It’s possible that this will be one of the game levels, or it could well end up being Fisher’s safehouse, depending on how things play out with Raven.The fifth and final section, titled Intelligence, contains a brief description of Third Echelon and what Raven knows about them. The group’s position in the US intelligence community is “currently not defined,” apparently, and “earlier information on the status of [Third Echelon] as a unit of the Ministry of National Security [NSA?] […] is wrong.”“The main objective of [Third Echelon] – to be the likeness [sic] of special forces in the modern world of information warfare,” continues the text, before adding that the group was “launched with the exercise of one operative, [the] Splinter Cell program has been expanded under the new director Tom Reed.”The implications here are obvious: Third Echelon is much bigger and better equipped than when Fisher worked for it. The other implication, that Splinter Cell: Conviction is going to be a deep, deep game, seems pretty likely, too. We’re looking forward to hearing more.

    Paul Younger
    Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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