Ubisoft subsumes Tom Clancy, new MMOG en route?

[UPDATE] Author-inspired techno-military media empire--including book, film, and game rights--purchased by Rainbow Six publisher; CEO Yves Guillemot says Ubi looking at massively multiplayer project.

This week began with news that Sam Raimi, director of the Spider-Man and Evil Dead trilogies, was in talks to resurrect film hero Jack Ryan. The marine-turned-CIA-analyst-turned-reluctant-hero was played by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October (1988) and Harrison Ford in Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994). In 2002, an attempt was made to reboot the series with Ben Affleck in The Sum of All Fears (2002).

The now even-wealthier Tom Clancy.

However, the character of Jack Ryan was famous long before his film debut. He was the preeminent literary cold warrior in 1980s fiction, starring in a series of novels by Tom Clancy. Clancy's military expertise and fast-paced writing style made every one of his 14-plus books a bestseller, which made the author rich enough to attempt to buy the Minnesota Vikings football team in 1998.

Though that deal eventually fell through, the 20 years since his first novel was published have seen Tom Clancy become less of an author and more of a brand. Besides the aforementioned films, his name is plastered on several series of books by other authors, including Tom Clancy's Ops Center and Tom Clancy's NetForce.

The past 10 years have also seen the Tom Clancy brand become a heavy hitter in the game industry, with the Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon series selling tens of millions of copies on every platform. Two new franchises, Tom Clancy's Air Combat and Tom Clancy's EndWar, are also in development, the latter of which already has a best-selling novel complementing it.

With the Tom Clancy brand showing no signs of slowing down in gaming, Ubisoft has cut a deal with the 61-year-old author. Today, the Paris-based publisher of every Tom Clancy game announced it has acquired rights to the Tom Clancy name in virtually all forms of media. Under the deal, Ubisoft now has all rights "on a perpetual basis and free of all related future royalty payments" to make or license Tom Clancy-branded "video games and ancillary products including related books, movies, and merchandising products."

Though Ubisoft is publicly traded on the Paris Bourse, it did not disclose the amount it paid to Clancy to own his birth name. However, the company did drop some hints when it said that not having to pay royalties to Clancy would have "an average positive impact on Ubisoft's operating income of a minimum of 5 million euros ($7.7 million) per year." It also said it would be paying Clancy in four installments over its next three fiscal years. When its current fiscal year ends on March 31, 2008, the company predicts to have 130 million euros ($200 million) in cash reserves.

[UPDATE] In a conference call with analysts after the announcement, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot further outlined his company's plans for the Tom Clancy license. First, though, he talked up the strength of the Tom Clancy brand, saying it was the number-two brand in the US last year in terms of sales, according to the NPD group. He also said that the most recent game to bear the author's name, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas 2, had already shipped 1 million copies in the US, half of which he expected to sell in the first week after the game's March 18 release.

Guillemot also said that the acquisition of the Clancy brand will lead to Ubisoft "becoming a major player" in both book publishing and film production. He said the company retains full rights to future print and celluloid offshoots of Tom Clancy branded films, and also that the company was exploring television and online video offerings related to existing brands.

To that end, Guillemot talked up how Ubisoft now has "complete editorial control" over the Tom Clancy brands, which would allow characters from one of the various series bearing the name to appear in another. This crossover potential would be especially important in games, he said, declaring, "It will allow for cross-fertilization of characters between games like Super Smash Bros."

The executive also revealed that another big factor in the acquisition was the fact the deal allows Ubisoft to explore a Tom Clancy-branded massively multiplayer project. "We will be able to adapt the brand to new formats, in particular the MMO format, where the royalties were a big thing holding us back," said Guillemot. Though no specific game was announced, his was reminiscent of those of Activision CEO Bobby Kotick, who recently dropped a huge hint to a group of investors his company was considering a massively multiplayer project based on the Call of Duty series.

That said, Guillemot also revealed the Clancy deal's limitations. For one, it doesn't include exclusive rights to Clancy's past catalog of books, the rights to which are shared among several parties. Second, the deal does not include rights to books or films set in the Rainbow Six universe, which remain with another, undisclosed party.

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149 comments
NoseWeed619
NoseWeed619

Wouldn't that be totally weird though if they made an MMOG over the Call of Duty series? I mean. How the heck would that work. lol.

ImBananas
ImBananas

I've got a library im my town so I can read his books a lot.

Terminator736
Terminator736

Tom Clancy is my favorite author, alive that is. Michael Crichton wil always be the best to me...

usedaw
usedaw

Guys unless you read some of his books you wont understand why he is rich. he is the best fiction author EVA!

bart_ass
bart_ass

wait...so now clancy can't do nothing to progress his games and stories...UBI will do everything?? If I'M right so it suck

PieCrusher
PieCrusher

Haha. Tom Clancy just has to sit back and he makes loads of cash.

SirZappy
SirZappy

wait, so what does it mean by MMO Tom Clancy title? Does it mean like an online game with Tom Clancy style? Or an online shooter for Xbox like RSV2 and CoD4? Please someone explain it to me. Anyone know a good place to get a cheap G.R.A.W 1 and 2?

St0Ne4Ge
St0Ne4Ge

I couldnt have picked a better publisher to do the Tom Clancy franchise,(glad EA didnt get thier hands on it) ubisoft has got to be one of the best around and very rarely dissappoint with thier games. however one exception was R6V 2 which i thought was a dissappointing sequel, nonetheless i think they are heading in the right direction with the brand and EndWar just looks amazing. I am also very excited about the prospect of an MMO tom clancy game which would be a huge innovation and more appealing to me than the hack n slash magic and monsters MMO games of today.

acsam12304
acsam12304

@shiny5 Well with his books he was a #1 New York Times Bestseller a few times in a row.

shiny5
shiny5

Is Tom Clancy even rich?

acsam12304
acsam12304

I just hope they remake GRAW 2 for the PC, like version for the 360 and PS3, The PC version of GRAW 2 is the worst Tom Clancy game i ever played, bad AI, bad controls, etc. I just hope they make good games for the PC like they do for the 360 and PS3

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Personally, i love the Tom Clancy franchise games, from the original Rainbow 6 on PC (very tactical) to R6 Vegas 2 on my 360 not to mention the Splinter Cell games, for me they redefined the standard run-n-gun shooter by including a 'Tactical' approach which i absoloutely love. Am looking forward to 'Endwar' and am waiting in anticipation of the forthcoming H.A.W.X. For me TC & Ubisoft have always delivered a quality experience and i have no reason to believe this will change. As Multiplayer gaming is the future this seems like the next logical step for developers, i think more devs will be watching with great interest to see how this develops.

teknocalpyse
teknocalpyse

A MMOG of all Tom clancy's titles to date sounds really good..imagine in creating either a RSV , Splinter cell or Ghost recon character.

Proust
Proust

Tom Clancy is the quintessential rah-rah hack. Limited input from any McWriter is a good thing.

duck_watson
duck_watson

just hurry up with the next splinter cell

Grahamatica
Grahamatica

Rainbow Six is expanding greatly, hope for more great games!

LAZZOR
LAZZOR

Holy crap I wasn't aware of how many Clancy games they actually was until I saw the list on the right. Jeez.

CalvinCoolage
CalvinCoolage

WeMakinBacon: You're right, I met him abt 20 yrs ago at a book signing, when he was wasn't so famous, and he was a d!ck. The ego that ate Cincinatti.

thaobserva6160
thaobserva6160

For a second there, I thought the article said that there could be Tom Clancy characters in a Smah Bros game. That would be something.

TheoleDominion1
TheoleDominion1

Darkstorn- I was referring to a comment from an earlier post about why some of Clancy titles never appeared on PS3. When people with money and influence (MS,Sony,etc..) use their leverage to keep titles off other systems it's called "politics". This is the same method politicians use in real life.

Chief_Kuuni
Chief_Kuuni

hmm, well I never read any books or played any of the games. Sure they're good but I couldn't see myself playing this game if it was ever made.

Lord__Darkstorn
Lord__Darkstorn

i dunno. Tom Clancy has to be one of the most overrated writers of the past 30 years, but luckily the games are, for the most part, good ones. And TheoleDominion1, I don't think that writing about military technology (a la Tom Clancy) counts as writing about 'politics.'

cdo1536
cdo1536

taj7575 "ubisoft makes great, underappreciated games." So very true. But I gotta say I am glad there are games like Halo and COD out to keep the majority of little kids tied up so the rest of us can play games like graw and rainbow six v2, I just wish the little kid games didnt get 9-10/10 ratings when they are only a 6-7/10.

Zartan026
Zartan026

Let the MMO be a Red Storm Rising MMO, after all, RSR is pretty much one of the only Clancy book in which the Russian and the American really go on a full scale war agains each others. And while they're at it, why not make the next R6 based on the R6 books, sorry, but Vegas has really nothing to do with the books except that theyre an counter terrorist organization...

FallenOneX
FallenOneX

The scariest part of this whole deal, in my own eyes, is that, If they so chose to, Ubisoft could put out the game "Tom Clancy's Splinter Ravving Rabbids Wii-venge Party Game." I think that's too much power for one company to have.......

flight209
flight209

The fact of the matter is that when your looking at a set of games on a shelf, if it has 'Tom Clancy' at the title beginning, I always find its worth a second look. Lets just hope that Ubisoft don't screw it up now Mr Clancy doesn't have the right to keep a game back because he thinks it sucks.

taj7575
taj7575

ubisoft makes great, underappreciated games.

deesnutts25
deesnutts25

with everyone saying "look at the list of games" what you have to notice is that they are all the same game from the 3 different series, R6, splinter cell, and graw. the only new ones in the list are end war and air combat. other than that they have have made tons of money by getting people to buy the same set of games, over and over agian.

Bulldog19892
Bulldog19892

@RaiKageRyu Yeah, but they're all just versions of three games (Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell). Sorry Clancy fans, but this is a terrible idea.

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

Holy crap, the related games list to the right is enormous.

p0rkp1e74
p0rkp1e74

how long can they drag out this series when it really hasn't improved since the last game in the series

Coviehunter
Coviehunter

Why is everybody hopping on the MMO train lately? >_

garcia_jx
garcia_jx

hell yeah, this sounds super awesome.

LewyDeng2
LewyDeng2

an MMO by tom clancy would be completely abysmal.

Franzy3000
Franzy3000

An MMO by Tom Clancy? How will the Mexicans rage war with America this time? And how do you hunt and gather weapons and explosives in the not to distant future this game is sure to take place in? I am intrigued.

football_legend
football_legend

MMO COD and MMO Tom Clany? I would choose MMO Clancy, because of the sheer diversity of the franchise, from Sam Fisher to the Ghosts.

SirFatalChaos
SirFatalChaos

If the MMOG doesn't have bullet lag, I'll be fine.

Filaki
Filaki

I've heard that in EndWar, the player can use Ghost and Splinter Cell units as part of the larger army. Sweet!

sniper-show
sniper-show

its gonna be one of the most awsome games ever.. can't wait a sec....

pacerfan1231
pacerfan1231

HES A BEAST Related Games,Splinter Cell: Extended (MOBILE) Splinter Cell Pack (PC) Tom Clancy's Splinter Ce (DS) Splinter Cell Conviction (PC) Splinter Cell Conviction (X360) Chaos Theory 3D (MOBILE) Splinter Cell 3 (MOBILE) Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Team Stealth Action (NGE) Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (MOBILE) Splinter Cell: T (MOBILE) Splinter Cell: PT (GBA) Splinter Cell: PT (GC) Splinter Cell: PT (XBOX) Tom Clancy's Splinter ell Pandora Tomorrow (PS2)Splinter Cell: PT (PC) Splinter Cell Essentials (PSP) Tom Clancy's Splinter Ce (WII)Splinter Cell 4 (X360) Splinter Cell 4 (PS3) Splinter Cell 4 (GC) Splinter Cell 4 (PS2) Tom Clancy's Splinter Ce (XBOX) Splinter Cell 4 (PC) Splinter Cell 3 (DS) splinter Cell 3 (GC) Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Chaos Theory (PS2) splinter Cell 3 (NGE) Splinter Cell 3 (XBOX) Splinter Cell 3 (PC) Tom Clancy's Splinter Ce (MOBILE) Splinter Cell (GBA) Splinter Cell (GC) Splinter Cell (PS2) Splinter Cell (PC) Splinter Cell (XBOX) ruthless.com (PC) Rainbow Six: Crisis (MOBILE) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear (MAC) Rogue Spear (GBA) Rogue Spear (DC) Rogue Spear (PS) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: one Wolf (PS) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (MOBILE) Rainbow Six: ockdown C) Rainbow Six: Lockdown (PC) Rainbow Six: Lockdown (XBOX) Rainbow Six: Lockdown (PS2) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Covert Ops Essentials (PC) Rainbow Six: Broken (MOBILE) Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (PC) Rainbow Six Vegas 2 (PS3) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (PSP) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (PC) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (PS3) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (X360) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Rogue Spear: Black Thorn (PC) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Rogue Spear Mission Pack: Urban Operations (PC) Rainbow Six: Eagle Watch (PC) Rainbow Six Gold (PC) Rainbow Six Critical Hr (XBOX) Rainbow Six 3 (MOBILE) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (PC) RS3: Black Arrow (XBOX) Rainbow Six:Athena Sword (PC) Rainbow Six 3 (MOBILE) Rainbow Six 3 (GC) Rainbow Six 3 (PS2) Rainbow Six 3 (XBOX) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (MAC) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (PC) Rainbow Six (PS) Rainbow Six (N64) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (GBC) Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six (DC) Tom Clancy's Politika (PC) Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (NGE) Ghost Recon: Jungle Storm (PS2) Ghost Recon: Island Thun (XBOX) Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (PC) Ghost Recon: Desert Siege (PC) Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Multiplayer (MOBILE) Ghost Recon Gold Editiio (PC) GRAW 2 (MOBILE) GRAW 2 (WII) GRAW 2 (PC) GRAW 2 (PSP)GRAW 2 (PS3) GRAW 2 (X360) Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (X360) Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (PS2) Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (XBOX) Ghost Recon 2 Summit (XBOX) Ghost Recon 2 (GC) Ghost Recon 2 (XBOX) Ghost Recon 2 (PS2) Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon(MAC) Ghost Recon (PS2) Ghost Recon (GC) Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (PC) Tom Clancy's EndWar (PC) Tom Clancy's EndWar (X360) Tom Clancy's EndWar (PS3) Counter-Terrorism Classics Pack (PC) Tom Clancy's Collector's Edition (PC) Tom Clancy's Trilogy (XBOX) Tom Clancy's Chronicles (PC) Tom Clancy's Air Combat (X360) Tom Clancy's Air Combat (PS3) Tom Clancy's Air Combat (PC)

PHeMoX
PHeMoX

""It will allow for cross-fertilization of characters between games like Super Smash Bros." " Some one pinch me and tell me this isn't real.... seriously..

zgreenwell
zgreenwell

Good job for Ubisoft. Most of their Tom Clancy games are really good. I'm sure their investors are happy.

ineedanap
ineedanap

I sooooooo did not read all that.

sinister_id
sinister_id

Ubisoft usually makes good games so hopefully they won't go on a brand name rampage with Clancy.

beckoflight
beckoflight

Well why not all of Ubisoft AA & AAA titles have ratings over 8 & the last ones evan had over 9 & you can see that they really try to perfect or innovate a gameplay scheme with each game so WHY NOT !?? .... plus i have heard from some analyst around the web that because of UBI's prdocuts the company managed to buy more than 5% of stock back from evil EA & if this continues ...the analyst are sure that UBI will want payback on EA !

necronaux
necronaux

The only surprise here is that it hasn't happened sooner.

Giant_Panda
Giant_Panda

Look at the list of "Related Games" down the right side of the page. This guy's name is obviously overused.

qiwihead
qiwihead

Aside from allowing Ubi more flexibility with the licenses, this shouldn't have much effect on the games. Tom Clancy has nothing to do with the making of these games.