The Tom Clancy franchise is one of the most well-known series of First Person Shooters, spanning an impressive 24-year history in the gaming world. Today we’ll discuss some of the most prominent points in the series’ history.
By the time 1996 had rolled around, Tom Clancy had already written numerous novels, such as 1984’s The Hunt For Red October and 1987’s Patriot Games. During this year he wrote SSN, a techno-thriller fiction novel based around the missions the USS Cheyenne, a US Navy Nuclear Attack Submarine during a war over the Spratly Islands with China. Alongside this, Clancy worked with Virtus Studios, the game development division of Virtus Corporation. to develop Tom Clancy’s SSN, a game which the book tied into.
After the release of SSN, Clancy and Virtus Corporation formed Red Storm Entertainment. Clancy assumed the role of chairman, hired retired navy commodore Doug Littlejohns who became manager of the company, and absorbed Virtus Studios as it’s main development team.
In 1997, the studio released it’s first game, Tom Clancy’s Politika based on the book of the same name. Red Storm then developed a larger commercial following with the release of 1998’s Rainbow Six, the game was developed alongside the novel which Clancy was writing at the time. The premise of the series was following the missions of ‘Team Rainbow’, an international Counter-Terrorism Unit. This release gained the attention of Ubisoft, who ended up buying Red Storm Entertainment in 2000 after the release of the sequel Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear. Red Storm was already working on Ghost Recon during the time of the sale, which then came out in 2001 gaining multiple ward, and marking the first time Red Storm developed a game for a home console.
The next new IP released was Splinter Cell released in 2002. The game was heavily focused on stealth rather than brute force like some of the previous games. Once again the series is based off of novels written by Tom Clancy. The game is focused around Agent Sam Fisher who works for the fictional NSA division ‘Third Echelon’.
For the next few years, sequels and expansions to these series’ were released like Ghost Recon 2 and Rainbow Six: Vegas until 2008 when EndWar was released. The game was a real time tactics game that used an innovative voice command system that let players control the game using voice commands, the game gained a mixed response after release, leading to the game’s sequel to be cancelled due to it’s commercial failure, however it did receive an online browser-based port that was released in 2014. A year later in 2009, H.A.W.X. was released, once again gaining mixed reviews with it’s 2010 sequel receiving even worse responses.
In 2011, Rainbow Six: Patriots was announced, the first entry to the Rainbow Six series since Rainbow Six Vegas 2 in 2008. The game had a quiet development, in 2012 it was revealed that the lead designer and the animation, creative and narrative directors had been removed from development. The game got pushed back to be released on eighth-generation consoles. Sadly, Tom Clancy died of heart failure in 2013 leading the team to be concerned about Patriots being the last game to bear the Tom Clancy’s title. In 2014, the game was scrapped, leading to Rainbow Six: Siege being announced.
In late 2015, Rainbow Six Siege was released, the original reception of the game was mixed, the destructible environments and highly tactical gameplay were praised, but the game was riddled with bugs and glitches and had lowered the game’s quality in the player’s eyes. Over the last 5 years of post-launch updates, there has been new maps, operators and gameplay changes added to make the game into one of the best competitive shooters of the modern day.
In 2016, Tom Clancy’s The Division was released, being the first new IP since Clancy’s death in 2013. The Division is a Cover-Based Third Person Shooter set in a post apocalyptic New York after a deadly virus outbreak. The Division 2 was released in 2019 and follows on from the first game set in Washington D.C.
The most recent entry in the Tom Clancy series is Ghost Recon: Breakpoint released in 2019, with the next release lined up being Rainbow Six: Quarantine which is to be released later in 2020.