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The Untold Truth Of Splinter Cell's Sam Fisher

Sam Fisher, the lead character of the Splinter Cell franchise of games and books, is a household name for anyone who loves spies, international espionage, and stealth games. Fisher is known for his grit, his dry sense of humor, and for possessing skills the likes of which have never been seen in a real human being. 


His first appearance was in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell; the first game came out in 2002, followed by the first book in the Splinter Cell series written by Raymond Benson under the pseudonym David Michaels. The series took off, eventually blooming into fourteen books and games, with Sam Fisher featured in nearly all of them in some capacity or other. Over the years, Fisher has also been featured in other franchises, including appearances in the highly controversial Ghost Recon Wildlands, as well as Rainbow Six Siege.

But what is the real deal about him? What's so great about Sam Fisher? What are the secrets, hard facts, and thematic elements that surround his character?

Michael Ironside turned down Sam Fisher twice

Actor Michael Ironside, who provides the iconic voice for Sam Fisher, originally turned down the character twice. In an interview with Ubisoft for Ghost Recon: Wildlands, which featured Sam Fisher, Ironside stated that he initially thought the character had "no organic truth to him." 


Ironside went on to explain that he sat down with the developers, who asked him what he thought would improve Sam Fisher as a character. Through these talks, they ended up bringing an "emotional base" to Sam Fisher. Ironside stated, "We created a character that people identified with, that spoke to people's isolation, or their sense of loss, or their mistrust of authority." 

A few years before Wildlands, Ironside was diagnosed with cancer, which led him to try to leave Sam Fisher behind, "in good hands," and walk away from the character and franchise. Upon defeating cancer, he voiced Sam yet again. Ironside says that people assume he returned to the character, but he insists that he  "never left."


His gun is based off a real firearm

In the Splinter Cell games and books, Sam Fisher has a few weapons: his rifle is a SC 20k M.A.W.S., which stands for Modular Assault Weapons System. His pistol is the Five-seveN, or 57, and both models are based on real guns. Fabrique Nationale developed the FN 2000 in 2001; it is a "gas-operated, rotating bolt, selective-fire weapon featuring a polymer stock with a bullpup layout." One of its features is a grenade launcher, which inspired the design of the SC 20k M.A.W.S., a weapon capable of several different firing modes.


The Five-Seven is based on the FN Five-seveN from Fabrique Nationale. Developed in the early 1990s, the Five-seveN is so named because of its unique 5.7x28mm ammunition, and also to emphasize the maker's initials. The Five-seveN in-game is a tactical model with a "single-action trigger, equipped with a threaded barrel to accept a sound suppressor/flash suppressor."

His friends have a habit of dying

Sam Fisher has a good amount of friends, acquaintances, and romantic interests. Most he works with, and some he met when he was a Navy SEAL. But something they have in common is they seem to get into trouble, or worse, killed when they're around Sam Fisher.


Katia Loenstern met Sam Fisher because she taught him Krav Maga in the first Splinter Cell novel. In the book Operation Barracuda, they become romantically involved, and she is eventually shot and killed in Los Angeles by a sniper meant for Sam Fisher. 

Sometimes, Sam is the one holding the gun in these situations. Irving Lambert was Sam Fisher's best friend and mentor; they met during the Gulf War and Lambert personally recruited Fisher into the Third Echelon. Fisher was forced to lethally shoot Lambert to avoid revealing his cover.

Douglas Shetland met Sam Fisher while he was a US Marine working alongside the SEALS. He and Fisher became friends, and Fisher recruited Shetland into the Third Echelon. Sadly, Fisher ended up killing Shetland in battle, as well.


It seems like Sam Fisher is another great video game character who would make a terrible friend.