Author Tom Clancy, the impetus and inspiration behind a wide variety of games, died yesterday at the age of 66. According to the New York Times, Clancy's publisher did not disclose his cause of death, but he passed away in a hospital in Baltimore, MD.
Clancy's novels stuck to the military and espionage fiction genres and ended up getting turned into numerous films, including The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears. In the late 80s and early 90s, Clancy's submarine-based properties, including The Hunt for Red October, Red Storm Rising, and SSN, were turned into games for the PC, C64, NES, and Super NES.
In 1996, Clancy co-founded Red Storm Entertainment with Doug Littlejohns, with the studio's first title, Tom Clancy's Politika, coming a year later. In 1998, the studio released the tactical FPS Rainbox Six, which kicked off a franchise that has produced 18 games so far. Ubisoft purchased the North Carolina-based studio in 2000, with the release of Ghost Recon in 2001. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell followed a year later, the first game to be endorsed by Clancy, but not created by him or Ubisoft Red Storm. Ubisoft acquired the rights to use Clancy's name for games and related products in 2008.
Tom Clancy-based franchises from Ubisoft account for a large part of the publisher's portfolio: there are 18 Rainbow Six games, 13 Ghost Recon games, 7 Splinter Cell titles, 2 games in the EndWar series, 2 H.A.W.X. games, and the upcoming TPS MMO The Division.
I feel guilty, because while I'm a big fan of the Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon games and I've enjoyed the Jack Ryan films, I've never picked up a Tom Clancy book. Espionage is one of my favorite genres: I've been drawn to books by Bourne creator Robert Ludlum, Rambo creator David Morrell, and James Bond creator Ian Fleming. I've just never gotten around to picking up one of Clancy's novels. Even more saddening is Clancy is a local author for me; he lived and died in Baltimore County Maryland. I've lived for a large part of my life in Maryland and even went to college in the same county. So, today I'll go pick up my first Clancy novel. Any suggestions on where I should start?
I thank Tom Clancy for providing inspiration to some of my favorite games. If I can entertain as many people as he did over the course of my life, it will be a life well-lived.