Hobbit game heads home next year

Warner Bros.' 2012 slate reportedly features Lego Batman sequel, new DC superhero game, return to Middle-earth.

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The big news surrounding Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today is the launch of the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham City, but the publisher's plans for the future beyond the caped crusader's latest are starting to take shape. According to a Los Angeles Times article highlighting the multimedia giant Warner Bros.' gaming gambit, a number of new projects were confirmed for WBIE's 2012 release schedule.

Martin Freeman reads his contract to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.
Martin Freeman reads his contract to play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.

The paper reports that next year will see WBIE launch a new Hobbit game in advance of the December debut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of two Peter Jackson-directed movies based on the book. Beyond that project, the publisher is also readying a new Lego Batman game, as well as a new superhero title based on an unspecified DC Comics character. Finally, the company's Montreal studio is working on casual online games "based on Warner characters." Beyond the DC Comics universe, Warner Bros. also counts the Bugs Bunny, Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, Tom and Jerry, and more among its properties.

While the Hobbit game appears tied to the movie release, the article suggests that is a recipe for rushed games and a strategy the publisher is trying to avoid. As WBIE president Martin Tremblay told the paper, "The movie-based games business is broken, and for teen-targeted titles, we're going to try and distance ourselves from the movies so the game stands by itself."

WBIE isn't the first publisher to see potential in a Hobbit home game. In 2003, Sierra adapted the Tolkien tome into an action adventure game that met with fair reviews. The book also inspired a text adventure in the early '80s.

The original Lego Batman game debuted in 2008 and let players control family-friendly building block versions of not only the Dark Knight, but also a rogue's gallery featuring the Joker, the Penguin, Bane, Killer Croc, Man-Bat, and Catwoman. The game received a lukewarm critical reception but went on to sell more than 7 million copies.

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