New Tom Clancy franchise in the works?

Source: A viral Web site picked up by the eagle-eyed Gaming Age forums. The official story: Ubisoft rep--"We don't have any comment." What we heard: To the older generation, the name Tom Clancy is synonymous with novels full of suspenseful espionage, political double-crossing, and military...

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Source: A viral Web site picked up by the eagle-eyed Gaming Age forums.

No Caption Provided

The official story: Ubisoft rep--"We don't have any comment."

What we heard: To the older generation, the name Tom Clancy is synonymous with novels full of suspenseful espionage, political double-crossing, and military action. To the "PlayStation generation," Tom Clancy is the man behind Ubisoft's Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, and Rainbow Six games. The games are loosely tied together, all taking place in the near future with the world on the verge of war.

Now it appears that the Tom Clancy brand of games will get a new entrant. A forum post at the Gaming Age message boards points to a new Web site affiliated with Ubisoft that appears to be viral marketing for a new game. As the teaser begins playing, there's no doubt that it is a Tom Clancy game, as the brand's familiar soldier silhouette logo (pictured) pops up in the Flash player and also sits atop the Ubisoft and ESRB logos at the bottom of the page.

But which Tom Clancy game is the site promoting? The Web site's address--www.rev64.com, which forwards to jsf28555833-80604722.com--doesn't offer any apparent clues, so a little digging is necessary to get any intel.

The site shows a close-up of a man's bloodied and beaten face as he lays down, perhaps in a hospital bed. Audio in the background reads off the latest news, CNN style, and the future does not sound good. The world appears to have gone down the tubes, with battles taking place on US soil and other places around the globe, reverse migration out of the US and into Asia as refugees flee "affected areas," and a crumbling American government and references to rampant terrorism. There is some clue to the time period of the game, as the news anchor talks of the cancellation of the 2026 Winter Olympics and the upcoming 2028 Olympic Games.

On the right-hand side of the site, a readout that is part military intelligence report and part medical log (presumably of the man in the bed) features links to audio clips. When a link is clicked on, the man's eyes open and he stirs restlessly as flashbacks of his past play. The clips make mention of "Ghost leader," Splinter Cell (coupled with the cool sound of Sam Fisher's night-vision goggles turning on), and trouble in the combat field. There is also a clip of a woman saying "Say goodbye to Daddy," before they are accosted by men speaking a foreign language.

The current timelines of the most recent Tom Clancy games--Splinter Cell Double Agent, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, and Rainbow Six Vegas--are set within the next six years. Information from the news anchor on the teaser site appears to indicate this game is set more than a decade after GRAW 2, which takes place in 2013.

Though more are no doubt in production, the only Tom Clancy game confirmed to be in the works is the next Splinter Cell game, which is an Xbox 360 exclusive. However, given the references to the other games and far-off timeline, this appears to be a new Tom Clancy game--perhaps one that brings all the series together.

Some anecdotal evidence not only points to this possibility, but may even reveal a name for the project. Back in March 2006, Xbox 360 Fanboy picked up on an apparent leaked Ubisoft release list, which included "Tom Clancy's Firehawk" for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

[UPDATE] The official sites for the Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, and Ghost Recon franchises have been updated with mock news reports linked to the storyline featured on the viral Web site, further evidence the game will link the three franchises (or that the three franchises will be set during these catastrophic events). Headlines on each site such as "Death Toll Continues," "Southeast Decimated," and "Water Facility Attacked" depict chaos both in the US and abroad. The three sites also have banner ads featuring the bed-ridden man's face and audio clips from the rev64 Web site.

Bogus or not bogus?: Not bogus. All signs point to a new Tom Clancy franchise--expect an announcement soon.

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