Variety reports that rights to create games based on The Lord of the Rings movies have quietly reverted back to Warner Bros. from EA as of the end of last year. The last game released by EA was The Lord of the Rings: Conquest; the story suggests that the quality of the game may have suffered in the rush to get it out before the deal expired.
The site also speculates that Warner will not license the property out again, but will rather develop the games in-house. Interestingly, the right to make games based on the books is a completely separate license, which is currently held by the Tolkien estate.
Warner currently has no plans to make a game based on the LOTR franchise.
Shacknews has received word from a “reputable source” that Lord of the Rings: White Council, the open-ended RPG based on the Tolkien license, has been cancelled. Their source also stated that Steve Gray, the Producer associated with the project, has also been let go.
Their source cites mismanagement issues as part of the project’s downfall. White Council was being developed for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. EA is yet to comment on the matter.
From Turbine, Midway and Codemasters comes word that The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar has officially entered beta in North America, with the pre-beta launching in Europe. Interested participants can enter the beta program by clicking here; the beta is by invitation only and over time more and more players will join the fray. According to Turbine CEO, Jeffrey Anderson, the beta already has nearly 200,000 players registered and will be one of the “largest beta communities” in the industry.
Confirming our previous story, EA has officially announced The Rise of the Witch-king, an expansion to The Battle for Middle-earth II that was revealed some time ago. In addition to offering a completely new single-player campaign, the expansion will add new units for all six existing factions, as well as let players explore the evil side of Middle-earth.
The all new single player campaign’s innovative units will help to tell the story of the evil Witch-king’s rise to power, domination of Angmar and invasion of the great kingdom of Arnor, home to Aragorn’s ancestors. To fully experience the evil side of Middle-earth, gamers can now play as the Angmar faction in skirmish, multiplayer, and War of the Ring modes.
Experience a whole new depth of strategy and upgraded War of the Ring and Create-A-Hero features. Create-A-Hero’s entirely unique Troll class boasts additional weapons and armor that will allow players to have even more freedom in customizing their game play. War of the Ring, a risk-style meta-game, offers upgraded army persistence, a new siege dynamic on the Living World Map, and unified territories that serve as major control points.
The Rise of the Witch-king is scheduled for release this Winter and will require an original copy of Battle for Middle-earth II to be played.
This forum thread on GameReplays.org is host to a response from “EA Apoc”, an EA community representative, who confirms rumors of a Battle for Middle-earth Ii add-on, offering the title of the project: The Rise of the Witch-king.
The development of Lord of the Rings: The White Council, a new RPG in the fantasy franchise, has been announced by EA. In development at Gray Company, the game will be released for the PS3, PC and Xbox 360; and will feature an original storyline derived from J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels. The White Council is due out in late 2007.
Unlike previous games in the series, players will have the freedom to explore the open world of Middle-earth in the game, choosing their role as a man, an elf, a dwarf, or a hobbit. Each role’s destiny is to become a hero allied with the White Council, whose members include the famed characters Gandalf, Saruman, Galadriel and Elrond.
The game was shown off at EA’s summer press event; further details to follow soon.
These have shipped:
- Civilization IV (Mac)
- Disciples II – Gold Edition (Steam)
- GODS: Lands of Infinity
- Jagged Alliance 2 (Steam)
- The Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth II (X360)
And this went gold:
- Civilization IV: Warlords
A playable version of The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, the only MMORPG based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, will be present at E3. Turbine will be hosting the event at its booth (#2900, West Hall).
The studio will also begin the registration process for its beta program for LOTRO and offer a playable version of the Weathertop experience in its booth.
Midway has unveiled its full lineup for this E3 the company will showcase the following titles at its booth (#4001, Petree Hall):
- Stranglehold (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
- Unreal Tournament 2007 (PC, PS3)
- Blitz: The League (Xbox 360, Wii, PSP)
- Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (PS2, Xbox)
- Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run (PS2, Xbox)
- The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar (PC)
- Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War (PC)
- Happy Feet (PS2, GameCube, Wii, GBA, DS, PC)
- The Ant Bully (PS2, GameCube, GBA, PC)
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (PS2, GameCube, GBA)
- MLB SlugFest 2006 (PS2, Xbox)
- RUSH (PSP)
- Mortal Kombat: Unchained (PSP)
- NBA Ballers: Rebound (PSP)
Further information after the jump.
A v1.0.1 update for MX vs. ATV Unleashed has been released, enhancing the editor and menus, while addressing some bugs. Get the patch from 3D Gamers, FileFront and FilePlanet. Matrix Games has made available the v1.095 patch for Maximum Football, offering gameplay improvements, among other things.
In patch related news, EA’s Battle for Middle-earth II website has details on recent hardware upgrades as well as plans for the v1.02 patch and the subsequent v1.03 update.