Next LOTR game unveiled by Warner Bros.

Publisher crafting first Lord of the Rings game, subitled Aragorn's Quest; "kids and families" target market, unveil set for E3.

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The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest
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2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Pandemic Studios' Lord of the Rings: Conquest probably wasn't what most fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy universe were hoping for when it launched earlier this year. In March, Variety reported what very well may have been the reason for the game's shortcoming. The trade said that Electronic Arts' license to make games based on director Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films expired on December 31, 2008--just two weeks before Conquest shipped to stores.

At the time, Variety reported that rights to make games based on the franchise had reverted back to Warner Bros. Now, it appears as if the first project to come of that move will be The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest. The game was revealed as part of an Electronic Entertainment Expo "first look" lineup sent out by event organizers at the Entertainment Software Association to media outlets, including GameSpot.

1977's The Hobbit.
1977's The Hobbit.

A brief description of Aragorn's Quest makes it sound closer to the 1977 Rankin-Bass animated version of The Hobbit than the 2001-2003 live-action films based on Tolkien's later trilogy. According to WBIE, the title will be "the first Lord of the Rings videogame created specifically for kids and their families."

The game sees players taking control of the titular hero during his journeys to protect the ringbearers on their quest to destroy the soul-corrupting One Ring and vanquish the evil Dark Lord Sauron. The apparently cheery game will feature "a friendly, colorful rendition of Middle-Earth" and see players engaging in sword fights, lancing, and archery.

Unfortunately, the brief blurb did not indicate which platforms Aragorn's Quest would ship for, nor did it provide a release window. Warner Bros. Interactive had not responded to requests for additional information as of press time, though the game is expected to be on hand at this year's E3, which runs June 1-4.

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