Building on a successful brand, the next Splinter Cell game, subtitled Chaos Theory, will arrive on the Xbox and PC in time for Christmas, Ubi Soft told us today. Other platforms including Nokia's N-gage will see their versions arrive in the first quarter of 2005.

It's a gutsy manoeuvre from Ubi, and trumps the record for development to under the year that elapsed between successive versions of Hitman or Championship Manager over at Eidos Interactive.

We'll take the “as good as real claim” with a pinch of salt but the headline for us is the Co-Op. Whether it's in a special set of levels or the entire game, it's here that we envisage the most popularity and replay value for sneakers everywhere as long as Ubi Soft keeps the mode supported. We'll find out if development speed compromises either the length or gameplay quality at the end of the year.