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Tom Clancy's EndWar


Ubisoft's Tom Clancy Games: The Future

One thing Ubisoft was keen to talk about at this year's Ubidays conference was the fact that it's now celebrating 10 years of the Tom Clancy games franchises. Of course, games based on Red Storm Rising and The Hunt for Red October predate the arrival of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six in 1998, but it was with the latter that the prolific author (and publishing brand) became a name associated with high-quality military and espionage video games. Since then, the Clancy name has gone from strength to strength. Even those who moan about what they see as the dumbing down of the Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon series over the years can't deny that the GRAW and R6: Vegas games have brought the tactical shooter to a new audience, while in recent years the Splinter Cell games have matched - and arguably surpassed - the Metal Gear Solid titles that clearly inspired them in the stealth genre.


{centre}Sam Fisher has, arguably, eclipsed Solid Snake's adventures.{centre}


This year, Ubisoft is launching two new Tom Clancy games, doubtless in the hope that they will turn into successful series of their own. The first, Endwar, may already be familiar to you. It's a bold attempt to redefine the real-time strategy for consoles, with the assistance of clever voice controls. The second, Hawx, may come as more of a surprise. An action-packed air combat sim, it's designed to bring the qualities the other Clancy series' have become known for to the skies. Both titles were playable at Ubidays, so we had the chance to give them a spin.

If nothing else, EndWar proves that World War III is very much back on the gaming agenda (and hopefully not on the political or military one). It's just over a decade in the future, and the world is a very different place. The world is starved of oil. Russia has become the number one supplier, while Europe has evolved into a continental federation (though British eurosceptics should note that we haven't signed up). The days of the NATO alliance are over, and European, Russian and US forces find themselves in an arms race. As tensions rise to boiling point, it only takes a spark to kick us all into global war.

Playing on the Russian, US or European sides, Endwar is an RTS, but not as you know it. On the battlefield it's a close-up, stripped back experience. It's not about resource building or micromanagement, but just deploying and using your troops and resources as best you can. Resembling a zoomed-in World in Conflict, the view is close-in on the action, kicking you out of the distant, godlike position of your typical RTS general and putting you right there on the battlefield with the troops. While you can order reinforcements, it's 'command and conquer' on the most literal terms.

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