With no context, the fact that there continue to be several big-budget video games in circulation based on the works of a single fiction writer is bizarre. We are typically not thought of as a society that reads, but we can’t get enough of the works of Tom Clancy. Even after his death, books and movies depict the characters he made famous. In the world of games, Ubisoft runs with the theme of his novels, making a series of tactically focused franchises that lead up to The Division 2 this year. To celebrate the release of the latest Tom Clancy-style adventure, let’s look back a bit. This is the history of this legendary name when it comes to gaming.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the Tom Clancy story is just how much control Ubisoft has over the branding. The publisher originally licensed out the Clancy name from the author himself, eventually tiring of paying a constant fee. In 2008, Ubisoft outright bought the Tom Clancy name for use in games and other media related to their franchises. This led to more arcadey releases like H.A.W.X. and The Division. It also led to Tom Clancy becoming less and less involved in the virtual worlds depicting his name.
Indeed, there are some players out there that only know the name Tom Clancy because of his work in video games. It’s a symbol of a certain style of game, a certain militaristic playground to jump into. It’s clear that Ubisoft will continue to use Tom Clancy’s name to signify this style of game, especially with the continued success of Rainbow Six Siege and a new Splinter Cell seemingly just over the horizon. The author that birthed these worlds died in October of 2013, but his legacy remains thanks to corporate branding. It[s just another strange tale of the video game industry.