The influential writer and entertainment icon leaves impressive legacy.
On October 1, author Tom Clancy died in a Baltimore hospital. Over his long career, Clancy had a profound effect on entertainment of all sorts.
Clancy began his storied career with the release of The Hunt for Red October in 1984, which quickly became a national bestseller in the United States, selling in excess of two million copies. Clancy would go on to write nineteen other novels, the last of which, Command Authority, is due out in December. To date, seventeen of his books are bestsellers, with 2012’s Threat Vector being his most recent. Clancy was known for his incredible attention to detail and accurate depictions of military procedures and technology.
Many of his books were also made into movies. The Hunt For Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears have all seen film adaptations. Actors like Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck have all played CIA agent Jack Ryan, Clancy’s most famous character. Chris Pine will be the next to play Jack Ryan in the forthcoming Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, for which the first trailer has just been released.
Like many people my age, my first experience with Tom Clancy was through video games. It was a while before I realized how involved he had been with the industry over the years, as, to me, Clancy had always been little more than a name on the box of whatever gritty military game Ubisoft was putting out that year. Clancy had actually been involved with game development in one way or another for over fifteen years. In 1996, he founded Redstorm Entertainment. After a few moderately successful games, Clancy and Redstorm really established themselves with the release of 1998’s Rainbow Six, a game developed concurrently with Clancy’s writing of the book of the same name. Clancy and Redstorm would go on to create seven more successful Rainbow Six games independently, and in 2000 the aforementioned Ubisoft, a popular French game developer/publisher, bought the development studio. With Ubisoft, Redstorm went on to make many more games under the Tom Clancy name, including more Rainbow Six games and the acclaimed Ghost Recon series. In 2008, Ubisoft bought the rights to use the Tom Clancy brand in perpetuity and since then games bearing the author’s name have often graced store shelves. There are Tom Clancy flight games, strategy games, stealth games, and, of course, combat games. This year the seventh game in the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series, Blacklist, was released and next year’s The Division will also bear the Tom Clancy name; there is another Rainbow Six game, called Patriots, in development, though not much has been heard about it since its announcement in 2011. To date there have been forty-one games released with Tom Clancy’s name on them.
Clancy had his fingers in many pies and his legacy will live on. The man virtually created the military thriller genre and he helped to create some of the earliest modern military games. Without Tom Clancy, it would be safe to assume that video games would be very different than they are today. Games like Call of Duty and Metal of Honor took many obvious cues from his work in both games and literature when making the jump to a modern setting. The modern, jargon filled, military action movie would not exist without Tom Clancy, or at least not in the same way.
Clancy wore many hats in his career; he was one of the definitive authors of his generation; he was a pioneer in video games; he was an avid sports fan (he became partial owner of the Baltimore Orioles in 1993 and almost bought the Minnesota Vikings in 1998). He was sixty-six when he died.
Sam Moore is a video game and movie enthusiast in his third year at Mount Allison.