Did Ghost Recon Predict Russia-Georgia Conflict?

A number of GamePolitics readers have suggested that Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, a 2001 first-person shooter, foreshadowed the current hostilities between Russia and Georgia.

The Bulletin serves up a detailed analysis:

Sometimes life imitates art, rather than the other way around, and the 2001 video game "Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon" stands as a prime example. The game… accurately predicted the eruption of hostilities between an expansionist Russia and Georgia… the player takes on obstacles posed by South Ossetian rebels intent on creating a pretext for a Russian invasion.


The game’s opening sequence features a Russian leadership intent on bringing the former Soviet republics back under its control. The narrator describes a Russian leader eerily similar to Vladimir Putin… As the game’s intro opens, a lone 2008 flashes on the screen before the narrator reads the following words: "The year is 2008, and the world teeters on the brink of war. Radical ultranationalists have seized power in Moscow – their goal, the reestablishment of the old Soviet empire… The world holds its breath, and waits."

The Bulletin also points out that the National Review Online has noticed the eerie similarity between game and real-life events in McCain, Obama Respond to Scenario Out of First Level of ‘Ghost Recon.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    An interesting thing there is that while Ghost Recon correctly ‘predicted’ the beginning of conflict, it completely failed on predicting its ending (Russians overwhelmed georgians’ attack force and basically took control of the country, but then decided to spare georgian prez – both things are totally anti-Clancy style).

    Seems Clancy was gravely underestimating Russians.


  2. Anonymous says:

    if ghost recon can predict the russian georgian conflict then ghost recon 2 can predict a conflict in North and south korea then a conflict in mexico (graw and graw 2) and finally its tom clancys endwar

  3. Maneul deBettencourt ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’ve been a fan of the Tom Clancy’s game series for a very long time from Splinter Cell to Rainbow Six to Ghost Recon. I’ve always love how the story could happened in real life but with this scenario…it’s getting very tense and it’s just going to go bad. Next thing you know, NSA is organizing splinter cells to the region…

  4. Pr0SEAL says:

    Operation Flashpoint doesn’t talk about Georgia. It talks about 4 islands that only have a few vague relation to irl. Still pretty accurate, but not in the GR setting.  Ghost Recon came out some months later after Ofp, same year.

  5. MasterAssassin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    When I first heard about the whole Russia-Georgia thing two words came to my mind Ghost Recon. It’s also very creepy they got the year right too, and I also heard something they got the month right as well. Wow.

  6. Zero_Beat ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @everyone saying that stuff like, "it’s been brewing for 15 years, only an idiot couldn’t see this coming," you’ll have to forgive me for not being interested in world politics when I was seven.

  7. V-22 Osprey says:

    Refresh my memory…didn’t Splinter Cell Chaos Theory also have a future date where North Korea fired a missile at South Korea, and when the actual day arrived, North Korea conducted missile tests?

  8. konrad_arflane says:

    Predicting a leader "eerily like Putin" in 2001 wouldn’t have been too hard, considering he became acting president in 1999 and was properly elected in 2000… Of course, he’s technically not president anymore, but prime minister, though it remains to be seen if his successor is more than a strawman.

    Otherwise, I’ll just add my voice to the chorus of "predicting that war isn’t impressive, but getting the year right is a little eerie".

  9. Anonymous says:

    Well, the growing relationship between post-soviet states and Russia itself makes this sort of situation unlikely to be the first and last of its kind, especially with Russia beginning to re-emerge as a power proper, and flexing it’s political muscles.

    The situation isn’t a million miles from Korea in the 1970’s, China wouldn’t tolerate the possibility of a US-Friendly state on their borders, nor will Russia tolerate the same, in the same respect, the US and others will continue to attempt to create spheres of influence close to or within Russia.

    Clancy is pretty savvy both on human nature and politics in various areas of the world, the problems between Russia and its former states was inevitable in time.


    Though, as Austin Lewis says, getting the year right was a pretty lucky guess.

  10. Austin_Lewis says:

    Tom Clancy probably did see this coming, as its been coming for about 15 years now.  Most blind people saw this coming. 

    Not to say it isn’t impressive and creepy as fuck that he got the year right too, but wow.

    Good work Mr. Clancy, and please make more games showing the future.  I like knowing what’s going to happen before it happens.

  11. Belgarion89 says:

    In other news, the White House disavows any knowledge of its Special Forces operating inside Georgia during the conflict.

  12. Michael V says:

    Chatter creates psychosis of fear and the fear leads to rambling.

    Crazy people ramble.

    John McvCain was (picture it) at a fancy gala where big wigs and politicians gather. Some mysterious person that most can’t recall comes up toSenator McCain and whispers "Russia is back and they will prove it". When asked to elaborate, he merely resonds – "Georgia".

    Then dissapears.

    In his efforts to contact the mysterious person, John is shocked to see that no one is quite sure who he nor has anyone seen or heard from him since.

    Weeks later John is having lunch with his good friend Tom Clancy. After listening to the story of the mysterious man, Tom WeWdecides to dedicate a theme of one of his game releases to the aformentioned sotry.

    President Mikhail Saakashvili was that man folks and he is living out his game!

    By the way, how does the game end?

  13. Tom Edwards (Englobe Inc.) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Actually it’s not that difficult to predict the Russia-Georgia conflict. In fact 10 years ago, when I was working in a previous job, I was asked to come up with the top 3-5 geopolitical flashpoints within the next 10-15 years where a war was likely to happen. The Caucasus region with a Russia-Georgia antagonism was #1 on my list. As a geographer with background experience in geopolitics, this isn’t a hard one for me to guess.

    As for Tom Clancy, he certainly keeps up on such geopolitical trends and I’d expect him to catch this one as well.


  14. DamnSkippy96 says:

    It’s a plot element that’s been used in a number of games…  I would suggest that Operation: Flashpoint by Codemasters is just as close if not closer to "predicting" what’s going on right now and I believe it came out before Ghost Recon.


  15. MaskedPixelante says:

    Or one on how The X-Files predicted the 9/11 Conspiracy

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  16. Pominator says:

    International warfare where both countries could say VIDEOGAMES MADE ME DO IT!

    This must be Jack Thompson’s wet dream!

    Your soul is a tasty refreshing treat to ones such as I

  17. Kris O. says:

    Heh heh. The first time I heard about Russia getting it’s FPS on with Georgia, I thought to myself, "Why Georgia? Utah needs its ass kicked more than Georgia does."

  18. MaskedPixelante says:

    Until Georgia has the ability to destroy all of western civilization with a computer bug, I’ll save my statements that Tom Clancy can see the future.

    In a side note, wow, there’s actually a country called Georgia? Who knew? I thought it was just a made up terrorist nation for Splinter Cell.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  19. Tom says:

    I was actually talking to a guy back when Splinter Cell came out who said, "dude, it’s so stupid that they made up a country named ‘Georgia.’  Don’t they know that it’s already the name of a state!"

    And if you’re the same guy, then how’ve you been?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, it’s just a pity Clancy is a complete wacko and a talentless writer of military potboiler trash.  If it wasn’t for those minor drawbacks, this prediction might mean something.

  21. Tom says:

    Sweet sweet candy.  Bam.

    Clancy prides himself on research, accuracy and realistic scenarios.  Specialists in the area saw this coming since ’93, but even the great unwashed, if you were watching the news for the past year, would have seen this coming.

  22. BunchaKneejerks says:

    You have it spot on. If anyone had been following Russian politics you will see this has been brewing for ages.

  23. shadaik says:

    Uhm, of course it did. Tom Clancy wanted to make the background of his games as realistic and probable as possible. That means, the whole scenario indeed was supposed to be a predication of a possible future war. Obviously, he succeeded.

  24. Ristoph3r says:

    I’m with Pominator: Tom and EA didn’t predict anything. Georga and Russia are just victims of the game. This is/was a copycat war, it is neither sides fault…

  25. Smarty Pants says:

    Wow, that’s, uh, cool, I guess.

    TOM CLANCY IS A PSYCHIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. shady8x says:

    Everyone was certain this was coming sooner or later(russia trying to reclaim some lands that is), but the game getting the year and the specific country right is freaky…

  27. Lemming says:

    Even if it is just a huge coincidence, it’s awfully eerie no less.  Perhaps Ubi and/or Tom Clancy can predict the future?

  28. Anonymous says:

    Maybe georgia played ghost recon, and decided it was a prediction of the future, so thats why they decided to antagonize russia?

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