Report: Peter Jackson displeased with Lord of the Rings games

<i>New York Times</i> says director's unhappiness with EA's movie tie-ins motivated his current partnership with Ubisoft.

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As far as movie tie-ins go, Electronic Arts' suite of Lord of the Rings games was a success. Most games based on the multibillion-dollar film trilogy, such as Return of the King and the Battle for Middle-earth, saw critical acclaim and solid sales on both consoles and PCs.

So it came as a surprise to many when Jackson announced that Ubisoft, not EA, would be developing and publishing the game version of his remake of King Kong, due out on December 14. However, the primary reason Jackson, an avid gamer himself, gave was perfectly plausible. He said he wanted to work with Ubisoft producer Michel Ancel after having played the acclaimed but unpopular Beyond Good and Evil.

That said, an article in Monday's edition of the New York Times (subscription required) said Jackson had another motivation for going with Ubisoft: Namely, he didn't like working with EA. The article, which dealt with how filmmakers are becoming increasingly enmeshed in game development, said that Jackson "chafed at his dealings with the industry heavyweight."

The article also quoted Ken Kamins, Jackson's manager, as saying that "Electronic Arts was not interested in input from the filmmaker" but had no problem marketing the games as though he was closely involved in their making. The article made no mention of the fact that all EA Lord of the Rings games featured digital assets and creature designs from the movie trilogy and Jackson's own Weta Workshop (which is beginning work on the Halo film). The games also featured music from the movies' soundtracks, as well as the likenesses and voices of all the Rings films' stars, many of which recorded all-new dialogue.

The Times quotes an EA rep as saying only that the input Jackson was given in the development process was "above and beyond expectations." GameSpot's attempts to elicit further comment on the matter were unsuccessful as of press time.

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