EA confirms BFME II expansion

[UPDATE] EA officially seals the game today after community manager confirmed The Rise of the Witch-king expansion on forum; game headed to the PC, but no mention of Xbox 360.


The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II - The Rise of the Witch-King

An Electronic Arts employee has confirmed a rumor that the company is making an expansion-pack follow-up to The Battle for Middle-earth II--and that EA had unveiled it at the recently ended 2006 San Diego Comic-Con.

Two days ago, a forum post on Gamereplays.org cited a report from someone claiming to have been present at EA's Comic-Con presentation, where the company apparently unwrapped an expanion pack to its recently released strategy game The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II. The report pegged the add-on's title to be "The Life of the Witch-king."

But before reader comments could spiral out of control, Electronic Arts community manager and developer Aaron Kaufman intervened to clear up the confusion.

Under his well-known alias EA Apoc, Kaufman said that EA did show off the expansion pack at last week's Comic-Con in San Diego, and the company will have more details to share "later this week." The original report also got the new game's name wrong: "The official title is called 'The Rise of the Witch-king,'" the developer added.

The game's title refers to the Witch-king, the leader of the ringwraiths that led the assault on Minas Tirith during the climactic battle in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Other details about the game's platforms and distribution methods, however, are unknown. The original message-board report recalls EA's displaying the expansion pack on the PC but does not mention an Xbox 360 version.

Lately, numerous content updates to 360 titles, such as The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, have been distributed digitally over Xbox Live Marketplace. But it is unclear whether the new Battle for Middle-earth II expansion will be digitally distributed or sold at retail--if it comes to the Xbox 360 at all.

EA representatives contacted yesterday had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.

[UPDATE] Electronic Arts today officially announced the existence of the game, whose name echoes what EA developer Aaron Kaufman revealed three days ago, but noted that the game's name is a "working title." The Rise of the Witch-king expanion pack will come to PCs this holiday season--but again the company made no mention of a possible Xbox 360 version.

New gameplay features include another single-player campaign, which revolves around the ascension of The Lord of the Rings movies' Witch-king, and the Angmar faction, available for play in the skirmish, multiplayer, and War of the Ring game types.

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