Final Fantasy XV

May 07

Splinter Cell Blacklist: Spies vs Mercs Detailed

Zack Cooper's Avatar Posted by on May 07, 2013 // Community Developer, Splinter Cell

It feels so good to be back on PlayStation.Blog! Whether you got a chance to check out our Spies vs. Mercs trailer or not, we’re bringing some deeper insight (and a live Q&A to follow) into what we’re working with in Splinter Cell Blacklist’s multiplayer experience.

First off, if you’re not familiar with Spies vs. Mercs, I will say one thing: It is an experience like no other. Either you’re playing as a Spy in third-person perspective, trying to remain undetected and hack terminals while being quick, agile, and deadly in shadows; or you’re the Merc, in first-person perspective, a brute force with unmatched weaponry who’s trying to defend the data from the infiltrators.

One of the cool aspects of Spies vs. Mercs in Blacklist is that you will be playing both sides before a game is done. There’s a very applicable quote from “The Art of War” (by Sun Tzu) that I like to use: “Know thyself; know thy enemy.”

By that, I mean that you can’t truly master the Spy until you fully understand how to eliminate one. The same thing goes for playing as (and neutralizing) the Merc. A game of Spies vs. Mercs isn’t done until you play as both classes — which also helps prevent the ‘rage quit’ (added bonus!).

Now… that’s the overview. Going under the hood, today we’re revealing two of the multiplayer modes: “Spies vs. Mercs Classic” and “Spies vs. Mercs Blacklist”

Spies vs Mercs

Two VERY different games, played in VERY different ways. ‘Classic’ is a mode that was designed specifically for our fans. Gunther Galipot was the creator of the original concept of Spies vs. Mercs from Pandora Tomorrow. He’s returned for Blacklist as a Game Director, and he’s bringing his baby back just like it was in PT and Chaos Theory.

It’s 2v2… and very much an intense game of ‘cat and mouse’ meets ‘hide and seek,’ in which you and your partner need to be in constant communication to outsmart your opponent(s). Spies have no lethal weapons, and rely on vertical navigation, shadows, night vision goggles, and smarts. The Mercs have heavy weaponry, a flashlight to track the Spies, their own set of tools, and force… but also need to play intelligently, themselves.

What you can’t see is your greatest threat.

It’s also worth mentioning that the maps played in Classic are lit differently, to further push the core elements of light and shadow.

Spies vs. Mercs ‘Blacklist’ is a new and refreshing take on the original Splinter Cell multiplayer experience. It supports a maximum of eight players (4v4) and, while many core principals return, there’s an incredible amount of customization that comes into play.

It’s really all about creating your own playstyle. You can do so by configuring loadouts with different weapons, gadgets, vision modes, and armor parts with both active and passive abilities – which are specific to each of the sides.

Spies now have access to lethal weapons and gadgets – adding an entirely new dynamic to Spies vs. Mercs. Despite the uptick in speed and pacing, strategy and teamwork remain at the heart of the gameplay.

There’s SO much to obviously talk about with Spies vs. Mercs (both Classic and Blacklist), and there’s still more to reveal down the line…

…but for now, what’s on your mind? I’ll be here for an hour to take your questions.

//Add Your Own

87 Comments   42 Replies

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+ Sackzilla on May 7th, 2013 at 9:43 am said:

Zack there is one thing from COD I would like to see in SvM, I never thought I would say that myself either when it never compares to SvM, but a theater to watch previous game and to save short clips of gameplay would be awesome for this!!! I know I would have short clips highlighting stealth and then the Ass beatings I would be puting on the competition!! Just an idea any chance we will get something like that???

    Zack Cooper's Avatar


    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 9:51 am said:

    Hahaha… no idea. Sorry.


+ Alienware1978 on May 7th, 2013 at 9:49 am said:

Thank so much Zack for answering all of these questions, you are GREAT man.
I’d ask more questions but everybody here asked them already.=P =P

    Zack Cooper's Avatar


    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 9:52 am said:

    All good!

    …just catching up now, and running out of time!

    (Thanks for the kind words, btw!)


+ netdude13 on May 7th, 2013 at 9:50 am said:

I’m guessing you’ve played some new svm haha , how does it compare to the old versions ? Does it feel new or just like the old days ? As well will spies vs mercs have a limited number of lives or how does it work , if so how many lives does each spy and merc start off with and is it different in different modes ( p.s. hope I have annoyed you too much with all the Q’s today but I’m so excited lol )

    Zack Cooper's Avatar


    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 9:53 am said:

    All good… we love excitement ;) (we also share that feeling, too)

    So, full disclosure, I don’t have much previous experience with SvM.
    I never had any of my consoles online until a few years into the current generation.

    I played some of the CLASSIC mode yesterday, when we had some of our fans here at Ubisoft Toronto… and that was pretty intense. A lot of the guys said it felt just like PT/CT (which is probably the highest form of flattery)


+ redfoxdelta4 on May 7th, 2013 at 9:50 am said:

Thanks Zack! Is there going to be a demo?


+ Godmode_is_King on May 7th, 2013 at 9:51 am said:


Thanks for the answer!

Follow up: What gadgets do the spies have to choose from in Classic? A variety, I’m sure, but will it be a cornucopia of grenades? Perhaps a terrific gaggle of tech gadgets?

Inquiring minds, Zack. Inquiring minds :)

Also, can you comment about a beta possibility?

    Zack Cooper's Avatar


    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 9:55 am said:

    Terrific gaggle, eh? ;)

    SPIES have:
    Flashbang, Sticky Cam, Smoke Grenade, Sentinel (destroys enemy grenades and drones), EMP grenade

    MERCS have:
    Intel Device (reveals all enemies in range), Proxi Mine, Resupply pack (weapon + gadget ammo), Frag, VX Gas Grenade


+ ExcellerLT on May 7th, 2013 at 9:53 am said:

It seems that time is running out, so in advance Zack, its was really fun to talk to you, thank you for your loyalty for the fans, we will see you on the forums ;)


What are our plans for Blacklist after launch? Will Blacklist be fully supported by devs after launch???

Thanks again Zack


+ DN32-D-500 on May 7th, 2013 at 9:53 am said:

A last question and an old one you may have overlooked:

Are the neck-break and other classical moves returning?

now the old one from last page:

are there coop moves in SvM? (just asking, nothing crucial but would be nice)


+ Godmode_is_King on May 7th, 2013 at 9:54 am said:

Also, how does the hacking work? Wireless? Or is it more classic?

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    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 9:57 am said:

    There are zones for each hacking station… you need to get right up to the station to initiate the process, and then remain alive and in the zone for the hacking to continue.

    If the hacker dies, a teammate has X amount of time to get to the station to resume it.
    If they fail to do so, the transfer of data is reset.


+ Incubuster on May 7th, 2013 at 9:54 am said:

Very happy you guys decided to bring back Spies vs. Mercs! You guys are OK in my book! :)

    Zack Cooper's Avatar


    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 9:57 am said:

    you’re pretty nifty, yourself, Incubuster!


+ netdude13 on May 7th, 2013 at 9:55 am said:

I’m noticing your keeping quite about the demo and beta questions zack :P is there something you can’t tell us :P maybe a spies v mercs beta is possible ? LoL


+ DN32-D-500 on May 7th, 2013 at 9:55 am said:

Btw. Zack you can also read it in the forums but I’ll just say it here as well:

AWESOME job of the SvM team and of you of course. You have answered almost every question of mine to my complete satisfaction!

To quote and “old friend”

“Great Work FISHER! (/Cooper!)”


+ SplinterJVCell on May 7th, 2013 at 9:56 am said:

Hey Zack ;)

Pick up one (or two, or three) of the following questions:

– Are the SvM spy suits available for the solo campaign?
– Will there be split screen in the coop mode?
– Are the 14 coop maps the same that in the solo campaign?

Thanks !

    Zack Cooper's Avatar


    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 9:59 am said:

    Not sure about the suits…

    Pretty sure I can say that split screen co-op is back…

    …and the co-op maps are entirely different from SP maps.


+ netdude13 on May 7th, 2013 at 9:59 am said:

Is it in the spies interest to kill the mercs , are they very lethal , or is it better they go about their game stealthily ?

    Zack Cooper's Avatar


    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am said:

    Given the respawn time, it’s never a bad idea to eliminate the enemy… but it’s definitely not the safety approach.

    Priority #1 for a Spy should always be to get the intel!

Zack Cooper's Avatar


+ Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 9:59 am said:

GOTTA RUN, guys… but thanks so much!

This was a lot of fun for me, and, hopefully you, too!


+ SplinterJVCell on May 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am said:

Wow, that’s awesome.

Thanks Zack, I LOVE YOU !!

    Zack Cooper's Avatar


    + Zack Cooper on May 7th, 2013 at 10:00 am said:


    Much love, all around!


+ Sackzilla on May 7th, 2013 at 10:01 am said:



+ netdude13 on May 7th, 2013 at 10:02 am said:

I really think there’s a beta going to be announced now , zacks quietness on the matter is intriguing , oh well I’d just like to say a super thank you for all my questions you answered today !! Best of luck with splinter cell guys !


+ DN32-D-500 on May 7th, 2013 at 10:03 am said:

I like how he says MAAAAAYYYBBEEEE if he knows something we guessed right but isn’t supposed to tell us^^


+ Sackzilla on May 7th, 2013 at 10:04 am said:

One more time thanks for all the intel!!!


+ DoTheKiller91 on May 7th, 2013 at 10:07 am said:

I love SC, could we have Conviction please?


+ DoTheKiller91 on May 7th, 2013 at 10:10 am said:

Oh Zack i love your avatar, is it available on the store yet? I want it!


+ netdude13 on May 7th, 2013 at 10:12 am said:

Yea I see maybe as a yea really haha , could of ignores the question but leaves it wide open with the maybe ;)


+ VanquishedVoid on May 7th, 2013 at 10:22 am said:

Will the pc version have a server browser?


+ GreedyOctopus on May 7th, 2013 at 10:23 am said:

A while back Maxime Beland mentioned that he wanted to drop the main menu (as in when you first start the game you see “single player”, “multiplayer”, “options”, etc.) and favor everything for a playable hub (the Paladin), but that was months ago when he said it. So my question is, will there be a main menu or will everything be accessed to the Paladin?

Can’t wait to play the game!! You guys are doing awesome :D.


+ Biggz124 on May 7th, 2013 at 10:28 am said:

What do you guys have in order to prevent/deter ragequitters?


+ grashopper on May 7th, 2013 at 10:42 am said:

I always preferred just straight Deathmatch in Chaos Theory. Do you know if “Classic” will still have that option? Kind of the difference between me and a few others buying it.


+ Rezolution77 on May 7th, 2013 at 11:07 am said:

Games do not get much better than this.
I remember playing for hours, on the older version.

Splinter Cells are a personal favorite.
I am glad to see, that there are those; still wanting more.

Hope the online population, doesn’t ruin this, like so many others.


+ IcedDice777 on May 7th, 2013 at 11:23 am said:

Please tell me you’ll include LAN/system link and i’ll buy another copy! Loved playing Splinter cell via LAN at my home with my buddies last gen.

I already preordered My Collector’s Edition. Looking forward too it!


+ tusunami on May 7th, 2013 at 12:45 pm said:

The spies vs mercs looks very interesting, just might by this!!!!!!!!!


+ Welmosca on May 7th, 2013 at 12:54 pm said:

Are you kidding?…the MP will be in 1st person view?…..that cant be true….well I wasnt too much interested now I’m completely disinterested.


+ IXxHIJACKERxXI on May 7th, 2013 at 1:07 pm said:

Wow Nice I hope it come out on the PSN with all the DLCs :)


+ DLDirtyLarry on May 7th, 2013 at 1:14 pm said:

I LOVED this mode in Double Agent. Was truly such a unique take on MP.
Being older and not having as much time to game these days as I once did, I tend to stick to SP only experiences, however I will no doubt make an exception for this game, as this mode is that bad ass.


+ Welfare_Child on May 7th, 2013 at 2:46 pm said:

how did you guys improve spies vs mercs so much since pandora tomorrow and chaos theory?


+ syi-infinite on May 7th, 2013 at 6:23 pm said:

why did no one asked if we are going to have a small beta. whats wrong with you guys omfg


+ Nick930930 on May 8th, 2013 at 12:12 pm said:

They did… many times. he never answered.

The real question should have been if there is going to be downloadable versus maps and split jump moves returning.


+ BK2FUT on May 10th, 2013 at 2:31 pm said:

Hi there, I’m eagerly awaiting this game (been a fan since Pandora Tomorrow) and wish to ask

Will the 2 player co-op element in the story mode be optional (could I play solo if I wish)?

And will the Spies vs Mercs customization be similar to the single player customization?
(e.g can suits & goggles be altered or just equipment such as guns & gadgets)


+ PascaL__M on June 2nd, 2013 at 8:09 am said:

Hi, my question is about spies and mercs classic mode. can you play with mercs bots like in Splinter Cell: Double Agent?

thank you.

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