As part of an investor meeting in February, publishing giant Electronic Arts let slip, and Pandemic Studios quickly confirmed, that its freshly acquired developer was at work on a new game based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings novels. However, aside from revealing that the new LOTR was set in the same universe as Peter Jackson's much-acclaimed film adaptations, Pandemic was only willing to say that more details would arrive "in the very near future."
That future date is today, as EA said that Pandemic's The Lord of the Rings: Conquest will arrive for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, and Nintendo DS this fall. In a marked distinction from EA's previous movie-based LOTR games from the early 2000s, Pandemic's take on the series promises to give players control of both sides of the conflict, fighting for either the alliance of men, elves, and dwarves or Sauron's evil legions.
Gameplay details were sparse in today's announcement, but the game sounds reminiscent of Pandemic's Star Wars: Battlefront series. Conquest is an action title that gives players control over battlefields of substantial size. Players will be able to handle a variety of characters, with EA calling out Oliphaunts, the Balrog, and Sauron himself as units in the forces of evil.
Adding a shade more color to what gameplay will entail, Pandemic general manager Josh Resnick said, "Our experience creating massive, rich, action-packed games means that The Lord of the Rings: Conquest will give fans exactly what they want: full control of the blade, bow, and magic to fight its epic battles any way they want--even if they choose to play from the evil side."
The Lord of the Rings: Conquest is the third project in development at Pandemic Studios, and more information on the game is available on the just-launched Web site for the game. The EA-owned developer plans to release Mercenaries 2: World in Flames for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on August 31, with Pandemic saying last April that Saboteur is expected for release on the same platforms this year.