'Splinter Cell' video game cuts controversial torture sequence

A torture scene in which the player plunges a knife into an enemy’s body and twists it back and forth to extract information -- “move and hold to interrogate,” the game advises -- has been eliminated from the still unreleased game, following widespread complaints from gamers and fellow designers.


“I left the Blacklist demo sick and infuriated,” wrote Tom Bissell on Grantland in July, after the controversial scene was shown off at the E3 video game conference in Los Angeles. “I spent a couple days feeling ashamed of being a gamer, of playing or liking military games, of being interested in any of this disgusting bulls**t at all.” (Bissell co-wrote “Gears of War: Judgment," a shooter from Epic Games set for release in March.)

A video trailer released for E3 showed the entire sequence. Following the screams of the man being tortured and the extraction of information, the player is left with a moral choice, according to Maxime Beland, the creative director for “Splinter Cell: Blacklist,” who narrates the video: Press the left button to knock him out or the right to kill him.

“Whether or not the enemy is spared or killed is a moral choice we leave in the player’s hands,” Beland said.

The moral choice comes after the torture sequence.

At a press event in Paris last week, producer Andrew Wilson said the scene had been stripped from the game.

"Definitely we are not going to see when the game's coming out that there are torture scenes in it. That scene is not there anymore. I've not really heard anyone say they loved it," Wilson said according to Eurogamer.net.

"We've scaled a lot of that back, and as we've gone through the process of development there are always things that you feel are not working as well,” he said. “Every game does this, and cuts certain things."

“Splinter Cell: Blacklist” will be released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC August 20, according to GameSpot.