Clancy's Splinter Cell Heads For Screen

Videogame series to be adapted

You wait years for a new Tom Clancy movie, and then two come along at once. Following the recent news that Kenneth Branagh is now attached to direct the much-delayed Jack Ryan reboot, we're now hearing that videogame developer Ubisoft is planning to infiltrate your local multiplex with an adaptation of the Clancy-endorsed Splinter Cell series.

The games are militaristic, stealth-based afairs revolving around the character of Sam Fisher. Fisher is a super-trained agent of a secret black-ops division of the National Security Agency, called Third Echelon. Originally released in 2002, the first game saw Fisher (voiced by legendary hardass Michael Ironside) and his sneaky team deal with a coup in Georgia. The most recent one, in 2010, was about mercenaries and White House conspiracies, and there's a new one, Blacklist, currently in development.

The series' biggest hook is its extensive use of night-vision and thermal imaging, via an iconic set of "tri-focal goggles" that allow both. The games have already spun-off into a series of novels, again bearing Clancy's franchise-friendly name. They're actually written by "David Michaels", however, which is in turn a pseudonym for a team of authors that includes Raymond Benson, who wrote James Bond for a while.

Variety reported that Ubisoft were working on getting a few of their properties filmed around a year ago. The others included another Clancy series, Ghost Recon, and the historical parkour action saga Assassin's Creed. Creed found a home at Sony last autumn, but the complicated Splinter Cell rights are currently being disputed by Warners and Paramount.

Deadline suggest that Paramount will be the likely victors, since they're already in the Clancy business with the Ryan series, and also developing his non-Ryan Vietnam-set novel Without Remorse. No deals are yet done though, so there's still all to play for.