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The video game legacy of Tom Clancy

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Tom Clancy (Credit: Getty Images)

Tom Clancy had one of the most valuable names in gaming.

It was so valuable, in fact, that Ubisoft bought it from the prolific author in 2008 for an undisclosed substantial sum. And while Clancy's writing legacy is at an end with his untimely passing, his name will continue to be a part of video game culture.

Clancy died Tuesday at the age of 66 in a hospital near his Baltimore home after a brief illness. The former insurance agent quickly became known for his intricately detailed espionage thrillers such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Clear and Present Danger” (which was the best-selling book of the 1980s). He authored or co-authored 53 books that hit the top 150 in sales. That success led him into other entertainment fields, including movies and, perhaps more lucratively, video games.

Clancy planted his gaming flag with Ubisoft, and the partnership bore a great deal of fruit. Nearly 50 video games bear Clancy's name, including three based on The Hunt for Red October, seven from Splinter Cell, 11 in the Ghost Recon series, and 14 Rainbow Six games. The Tom Clancy game library brought a level of sophistication to the action/adventure genre, laying the groundwork for many of today's top titles.

The success of those games led to the unprecedented decision for Ubisoft to buy the permanent gaming rights to Clancy's name. While the exact value of that deal wasn't disclosed, the publisher did give some hints.

In a press release at the time, the company said it expected to have a net cash position of 130 million euros ($201 million) at the end of fiscal 2007-2008, versus 150 million euros ($232 million) prior to the deal. It also was scheduled to make additional payments to Clancy in fiscal 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.

In a statement today, the publisher mourned the loss of its partner and vowed to keep his legacy alive.

"We are saddened to learn of Tom Clancy’s passing and our condolences go out to his family," it said. "Tom Clancy was an extraordinary author with a gift for creating detailed, engrossing fictional stories that captivated audiences around the world. The teams at Ubisoft, especially at the Red Storm studio, are incredibly grateful to have collaborated with and learned from him, and we are humbled by the opportunity to carry on part of his legacy through our properties that bear his name."

The next game to bear Clancy's name, Tom Clancy's The Division for the Xbox One and PS4, is due out next year.

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