Tom Clancy's name lives on in his games

Tom Clancy. REUTERS/David Burnett/Handout

Tom Clancy. REUTERS/David Burnett/Handout

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:43 PM ET

While Tom Clancy will be remembered for high-tech geopolitical intrigue in books and movies like The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games, millions of fans know the Clancy name primarily through virtual warfare in video games.

The works of Clancy, who died Tuesday at age 66, have inspired more than 50 video games, with the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon and Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six franchises collectively selling more than 75 million copies.

Four of the games in the Rainbow Six series and four in the Splinter Cell series - including the recent hit Splinter Cell Blacklist - were created by the Canadian studios of French gaming giant Ubisoft.

Clancy games "have introduced a generation of gamers ... to the idea that in our world there's volatility and hotspots and instability, and the right set of conditions can yield surprising conflicts in unexpected and terrifying ways," says Ubisoft Toronto's Patrick Redding, game director on Splinter Cell Blacklist.

"It's a focus on military and geopolitical action set in a world that, if not exactly the same as ours, at least has the same place names."

Unlike the over-the-top and unapologetically cinematic shooting galleries of the Call of Duty series, Clancy games have always tried to tap into real-world tensions and existing battlefield technology, challenging players to use their brains as well as their thumbs.

In a bid to create the thinking person's shooting game, Clancy co-founded game development studio Red Storm Entertainment in 1996, and the studio's first action game to bear his name - Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six - was developed alongside Clancy's novel about an elite counter-terrorism unit.

Now, the process often works in reverse: the Ghost Recon, EndWar and H.A.W.X. video games have been adapted into books that bear the Clancy name, although none written by the author himself. As well, Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon movies are currently in the works.

In 2008, Ubisoft bought the rights to Clancy's name for all future video game products and ancillary spin-offs, a deal reportedly worth $30 million up front, plus two unspecified payments over the following two years.

While this means Tom Clancy games haven't had any direct creative input from the man himself for many years, it will allow Clancy's name and sensibilities to live on in games long after his death, starting with Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's The Division, coming out next year for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game consoles.

"There are a lot of new announcements on a number of fronts that will be coming out in the coming months and years," Redding says.


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