Players control Sam Fisher, a spymaster working for the Fourth Echelon, in a mission to stop the Engineers, a group of terrorists which is trying to coerce the United States into recalling all of its troops stationed abroad. Blacklist ‘s gameplay is similar to its predecessors, with players tasked with completing objectives and defeating enemies. The game endeavors to combine elements of its predecessors, including the action focus of Conviction and the stealth focus of the older games. Blacklist marks the return of the asymmetrical multiplayer mode Spies vs. Mercs, which was introduced in Pandora Tomorrow.
It is the first title developed by Ubisoft Toronto, a studio founded by Ubisoft in 2009. The game was directed by Maxime Béland, who had worked on Conviction. To prepare for this game, Béland studied reviews and feature lists of the latter. Blacklist is the first Splinter Cell game starring Eric Johnson as Sam Fisher, since series veteran Michael Ironside was unable to perform motion capture for the game. The Toronto studio focused on the game’s Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, and its later-announced Wii U version was developed by Ubisoft Shanghai.