Direct copy of this quite long Press release:
Electronic Arts today announced that it has been granted the rights to develop games based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic literary fiction, The Lord of the Rings. Since 2001, EA has developed games based exclusively on New Line's Academy Award winning theatrical productions of The Lord of the Rings, as depicted by Peter Jackson. The expansion of the rights allows EA to introduce players to depths of the fiction never before explored in an EA game. The company also revealed today the first details of two new games in the blockbuster The Lord of the Rings series; The Lord of the RingsTM, The Battle for Middle-earthTM II and The Lord of the RingsTM Tactics (working title). With the new games, fans will be able to step into a world that looks like the films, but experience characters, environments and battles that have been inspired by the books.
The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II is the next PC installment to EA's blockbuster The Lord of the RingsTM series of video games. The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II is a sequel to the critically acclaimed Real-time Strategy (RTS) game from EA Los Angeles, The Lord of the RingsTM, The Battle for Middle-earthTM. The newest The Lord of the Rings PC title will introduce players to depths of the fiction never before explored by EA, in accordance with an agreement with The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises that grants EA the rights to develop games based on the books, in addition to a separate agreement that allows for games based on the New Line films. Expanding on The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth, the new RTS game will allow players to engage in heated battles with Elven and Dwarven armies plus heroes and creatures that have never been seen in a The Lord of the Rings film.
"The new rights have unlocked the world of Middle-earth for The Lord of the Rings and strategy game fans alike. We're building a deeper, richer, bigger game based on the #1 RTS from the previous holiday season in North America with new fantasy races, places, heroes, and battles from both the books and films," said Mike Verdu, Senior Producer of The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth at EA.
The Lord of the RingsTM Tactics for the PSPTM (PlayStation® Portable) system will put players in the universe of Middle-earth from the books and films and allow them to lead the Fellowship or take control of the forces of Shadow. The tactical strategy game features player-customized characters and a rich system of items, upgrades and skills. Players can guard their heroes, seize high ground, set ambushes and trap enemies while fighting battles across famous locations of the books and films to determine the future of Middle-earth. The Lord of the Rings Tactics will allow them to pit their customized heroes against up to four other players via WiFi. A unique, simultaneous turn-taking system allows for fast-paced play.
"Now that we are expanding our Lord of the Rings universe to encompass Tolkien's books, we'll be able to combine the visual impact of the films with those complex stories," said Steve Gray, Executive Producer of The Lord of the Rings Tactics at EA. "The RPG genre, in particular, is a great medium for story telling. We are delving into unexplored depths of Tolkien's works to deliver new, compelling and immersive experiences. The Lord of the Rings Tactics gives RPG fans a first look at how we will do this."