Is Warner Bros. Working On a New Lord of the Rings Game?

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Both Gamespot and VG24/7 carried stories in the last twenty four hours hinting at a new Lord of the Rings based game currently being developed by Monolith Productions for Warner Bros. Interactive. It would appear that a former employee of Monolith, who is by trade a Concept Designer, claims to have created storyboards for a new and unannounced Lord of the Rings game in December and January of this year. These details were found on his LinkedIn profile. As this was after the launch of Monolith’s last game Guardians of Middle-earth, the implications are that the material was for a separate project. Furthermore, since then Monolith has been seeking to recruit staff for a “cross-generational AAA action-adventure game”. One of the roles required is for a lead mission designer with “open-world mission design” experience.

At present the only formally announced title currently under development from Monolith is Betrayer, which is a period set FPS. Certainly it does not sound like a title that would require a open world mission designer. It may also be prudent to recollect that The Saul Zaentz Company recently registered several game-related trademarks and domains for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. So it is not inconceivable that there is another high profile game based on the franchise under development. Considering that the second instalment of The Hobbit Trilogy will be in the cinemas this December, it would be a wasted opportunity not to capitalise on the ongoing interest in Tolkien’s work.

Saul Zaentz Company

If there is a new LOTR based game under development, it beggars the question what type exactly? The phrase “open-world mission design” does seem to imply some sort of RPG. Those of a more optimistic disposition have even surmised an MMORPG. Considering that LOTRO is currently five years old, it could be cogently argued that a reboot or a 2.0 version could be a viable proposition. The MMO genre is far from dead although it is rapidly changing. It makes sense that Warner Bros. may wish to have a product that can compete with The Elder Scrolls Online and EverQuest Next. They are attempting to enter the MOBA market with the forthcoming Infinite Crisis.

However, it should noted that Monolith were recruiting specifically for a “large AAA quality product shipping on Next-Gen and Current Gen platforms simultaneously”. MMOs do exist for these platforms but they are not so common place so perhaps an RPG is a more plausible option. I personally would not object to a game similar to Skyrim based in Middle-earth. However, whatever the nature of this alleged game, it may while before it see the light of day. The Saul Zaentz Company have a track record for registering trademarks well in advance. The Lord of the Rings: War in The North was was formally registered two years before the final product was released.

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11 thoughts on “Is Warner Bros. Working On a New Lord of the Rings Game?

  1. Brian says:

    “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien

  2. Adam Parsons says:

    Skyrim: Middle Earth? Given Skyrims success and how well that whole world would and game style would work with middle earth, it’d be hard to fail with such a game. It basically just needs a mod to the existing skyrim though!

  3. names_are_useless says:

    I suppose you haven’t heard of MERP, have you? http://www.moddb.com/mods/merp-middle-earth-roleplaying-project
    (Not that it matters too much because of the C&D)

  4. Roger Edwards says:

    I was aware of it and the legal issues you reference. Shame, but such is life.

  5. Adam Parsons says:

    Hadn’t heard of that, its a shame looked good, but honestly having fallen foul of the red tape around Tolkien myself when playing completely by their rules, I know how anybody out side of corporations the size of WB etc had better keep it underground or await the C&D.

  6. tim says:

    WB have to be retarded to not see the potential of a true Middle Earth RPG with an engine equal of better than Skyrim. But only true gaming companies can bull it off like Bethesda. I am sure it will be a really crap game if they attempt to do it.

  7. gush says:

    LOL Skyrim was a mess and just a big empty world sucking players in by that alone. No one ever praises Skyrim for its story or gameplay because both are horribly executed. Bethesda will only be a true gaming company when they stop churning out unfinished games.

  8. Akiba says:

    I like when people make fools of themselves.

  9. Roger Edwards says:

    “No one ever praises Skyrim for its story or gameplay” Really? Co’s I do :)

  10. Adam Parsons says:

    No I’m Spartacus… wait, no, I mean; I do too! I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and gameplay.

    I guess the world could seem empty if you are used to most games where there is a mob stood randomly looking around every 100 yards, and environments directing you along in a linear fashion, but that is awfully artifical and gamey. I just saw Skyrim as a huge opportunity to explore and have some fun.

  11. MegaGothmog says:

    I would personally like to see a Middle Earth game that gives you the ability to play more than just the story of the Fellowship. I would like to see this:
    - Fellowship Campaign,
    splits into two parts after Boromir dies. One follows Aragorn & co. The other follows Frodo and Sam.
    - Realm Campaigns.
    And then i am talking about a seperate campaign for every realm. So that means: Gondor Campaign, Rohan Campaign, Elves Campaign, Dwarves Campaign, Mordor Campaign, Isengard Campaign, Rhûn Campaign and a Haradrim Campaign.
    With these campaigns alone, and someone that knows a lot about Middle Earth (I do) you can make a 100+ hour game, with just the campaigns.
    - (Optional) Scorcery:
    I would like to see some major magic in it. That would make everything more interesting and more fun to play. ON THE OTHER HAND it would also ruïn the story a bit because there is hardly any magic involved in Middle Earth, aside from Gandalf, Saruman and the other Wizards.

    Comment me if you have any other ideas

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