Op-Ed: Tom Clancy’s death is a loss for the video game community – 10/7/2013


The death Tom Clancy on October 1 is a major loss for pop culture. A literary icon known for his espionage themed techno thrillers, he also had a profound impact on the video game industry.

His contribution to video games should have earned him the same legacy status as John Carmack, Hideo Kojima, Shinji Mikami, and Steven Spielberg.

After a successful career in literature, Tom Clancy partnered with Steve Reid and Doug Littlejohns in 1996 to establish Red Storm Entertainment (bought by Ubisoft in 2000). The first games were Tom Clancy’s Politika and Tom Clancy’s ruthless.com, strategy games based on the Power Play series.

These early games had little significance in the gaming industry and they have been now forgotten. It would be the release of Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six in 1998 that would solidifie his legacy in the gaming world by creating a new genre.

Based on the acclaimed novel, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six focus on the exploits of a counter-terrorism unit as they must stop an eco-terrorist group from releasing a bioweapon during the 2000 Sydney Games. Players took command of Rainbow and were tasked with having to plan a tactical operation then lead the squad in action.

The game was highly praised by critics for its revolutionary gameplay and heavy emphasis on realism. It success was followed by Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear, which firmly established the franchise reputation.

By combining elements of strategic planning and realistic combat, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six created the concept of the tactical shooter genre. Tactical shooters abandoned the need for over the top violence in favor of stealth combat and operational awareness within the context of a realistic combat situation. It was because of the focus on realistic combat experience that the game was used by the military to train in counter-terrorism tactics.

The series became a major influence on military-themed and multiplayer games while its gameplay mechanism became the model used for all tactical shooters. The success of the Rainbow Six series was followed with Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, a tactical shooter designed to simulate the battlefield experience of the United States Army Special Forces.

Unfortunately thanks to the growth of the “casual gaming market” and the need to dumb-down games, the Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon-series had to abandon some of the tactical gameplay components to make the series more action-oriented.

After creating two successful franchises, Tom Clancy would have little involvement with Red Storm while giving his personal endorsement to the Splinter Cell and H.A.W.X. series.

While readers will have to hope for an unpublished manuscript, Tom Clancy’s legacy will live on in the game series that bear his name. Splinter Cell: Blacklist was released not to long ago and was highly praised by critics while gamers are excited for Tom Clancy’s The Division and Rainbow Six: Patriots.

Rest in peace Tom Clancy, your legacy will live on among the gaming community.

Written for Digital Journal
Original Article: Op-Ed: Tom Clancy’s death is a loss for the video game community


About Stan Rezaee
I'm a writer from San Jose who has contributed to several online and print publications.

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