The Lord of the Rings game franchise will venture to a new genre this fall in Guardians of Middle-earth. Developed by Monolith Productions (F.E.A.R. series, Gotham City Impostors), the project will be a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game and will arrive on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network this fall.
Guardians of Middle-earth pits up to 10 players against each other in five-vs.-five competitive multiplayer battle venues spread throughout J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional fantasy universe. The game features more than 20 "guardian" characters, including Gandalf, Sauron, Gollum, and Thrain. Guardians of Middle-earth will sport an in-game voice communication system, as well as an online statistic and leaderboard system, through which players can track their friends' accomplishments.
Guardians of Middle-earth will also feature tie-ins with Peter Jackson's upcoming film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. According to publisher Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, "several" new playable characters will be released alongside the film, which is due out in December. It was not mentioned if the characters will arrive day-and-date with the film or if they will cost extra, and as of press time, Warner Bros. had not responded to GameSpot's request for comment.
The most recent Lord of the Rings title to hit shelves was 2011's tepidly received Lord of the Rings: War in the North, developed for Warner Bros. by Snowblind Studios. And according to an October report, a game based on The Hobbit is planned to ship prior to the film.