"In the office, the writing process generally involves a lot of touching base with designers and other folks to make sure that what's being written fills the game's needs, is appropriate for context and gameplay and doesn't impinge on other aspects of the game. There are a lot of meetings on the front end, and then once implementation of the dialogue happens, you do a lot of walking through and tweaking to make sure that everything fits just right.

"It's always good to have the writing experience in the building," says Dansky. "Both as a resource and also as a way of making communication a lot easier and cleaner." And, one supposes, as a way of injecting great story into great games. To date, Red Storm has released over a dozen games embossed with the Clancy brand, and is currently working on a next-gen installment of Rainbow Six, set in Fabulous Las Vegas.

"I think people are going to be more than a little surprised with the territory we're starting to move the Clancy storylines into. We're delving more into the consequences of the actions the characters take, and the hard decisions have to be made. What's Sam Fisher willing to do in order to fulfill his mission? How many people can you sacrifice for the greater good before the scales start tipping? That's actually one of the unique opportunities we have doing the Clancy stories, the idea that these are decisions and issues that players can relate to. Just the fact that it's people in the real world gives the material an emotional oomph that you don't necessarily get when it's a question of space lizards or trolls or Roman legionnaires or whatever. We've got that added advantage - and responsibility - of letting the player think 'it might be you.'"

Richard has been with Red Storm since 1999, having written for Shadow Watch, Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow, Ghost Recon: Island Thunder, The Sum of All Fears and "plenty of others." He is currently working on Splinter Cell: Double Agent and Rainbow Six: Vegas, although you'd be hard pressed to find the name "Dansky" anywhere on any of those games' Clancy-emblazoned boxes. One assumes that's all a part of living in the shadow of one of the world's most prolifically ghost-written authors, but we may never know for sure. The Escapist asked Richard about that, but he wasn't allowed to give us an answer. Apparently, that information is classified.

Russ Pitts is an Associate Editor for the Escapist, host of Escape Radio and proponent of the long-held theory that if we play our cards right, maybe - just maybe - we can ice both Starsky and Hutch.

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