Report: Warner Bros. lording over Rings IP

<i>Variety</i> reports film studio's game arm now has control of Peter Jackson fantasy film license long held by Electronic Arts; parties involved decline comment.

102 Comments

When The Lord of the Rings: Conquest arrived on store shelves in mid-January, it faced a tepid reception. In the wake of lukewarm reviews, the game saw only 170,000 units sold domestically through the end of January, according to figures from the NPD Group. It fared particularly badly on the PC and DS, selling less than 6,000 units in the US on either platform during its first two weeks of release.

"On to the Warner Bros. lot!"

Today, Variety aired a possible reason for Conquest's poor reception--namely, that the game might have been rushed to release. According to the Hollywood trade, 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 the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC game shipped to stores.

Variety reports that after the new year, rights for the Rings films reverted to movie studio Warner Bros., an assertion neither EA nor Warner Bros. would comment on. If true, though, the move comes just almost exactly one year after New Line Cinema, the semi-autonomous studio that produced Jackson's multibillion-dollar-grossing Rings trilogy, was folded into Warner Bros. by the pair's corporate parent, Time Warner Inc. (Turbine's massively multiplayer title Lord of the Rings Online is based on the original novels by author J.R.R. Tolkien and is not covered by the EA-Warner deal.)

The expiration of EA's game license also makes sense, given Warner Bros.'s increasing push to become a game-industry player. Four years prior to New Line's absorption, Warner Bros. relaunched its games arm, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The past two years have seen Time Warner pour more resources into the division, which has shifted from merely overseeing licensing game IPs to codistributing such games as Tomb Raider: Underworld and self-developing games like the just-released Watchmen: The End Is Nigh. The publisher also owns developers Monolith Productions and Traveller's Tales, makers of F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and Lego Batman, respectively.

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KOBE23IVAN

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no, no... wth is going on !!! we need a real tLotR rpg soon.

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hitmanxmk

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Ok, so does anyone got any other news that could point us to more specific details about "The White Council" game? Is it going to be released or project has been abandoned?

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InuHanyou1701

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Freaking lame. I hate EA as much as the next guy but with this happening, you pretty much can't fine BFME at ALL anymore. You either have to pay a stupid amount of money or go through multiple annoyances to get it.

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blackwing55

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I wonder if they will ever make a new lotr bfme III the second was one of the funniest rts i have played and can't wait tell a third

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rhyseus

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applepod & rivano, you might want to check out www.lotr-tw.net :D

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kamikazen

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LOTR rpg Oblivion style i really like 2 play this game!!!

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applepod

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Rivano - I completely agree with your LOTR Total War! That way we're certain of a good game.

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Immortal_Sinner

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conquest sucks ! its the lamest game i ever played , i really like RPG's so i cant wait to see a none MMO RPG on my pc

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SWfreak16

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I liked Conquest, even though it could have been better. Wasn't bad, but at the same time wasn't great.

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T-o-m_1980

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i hope there gonna make an rpg oblivion style lotr game that would be awesome!

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the_gamer_kid

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With any bit of luck this will mean that the new LOTR games won't be pushed out to make quick cash

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GodDemon

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BFME IAND II WHERE MADE BY EA! They where good, so how is EA bad? They made the good, ROTK and TTT. It was pandemic that f***** up LOTR, although I think conquest was good. It was just conquest could have been better.

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pigpen4483

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they gotta bring back the hack n slash LOTR games

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Rivarno

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Off course you know what would be the best 'Rings' based game....Lord of the Rings - Total War.......an 'Oblivion' style game would rock as well, of course! :)

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Shadow_Fire41

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traveller's tales? for some reason i don't think this is a bad thing

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mesc420

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I wish Square-Enix or Bioware would get ahold of the license. Maybe then someone would make a good LOTR RPG?

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DPhunkT

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I still want to see LOTR:The White Council to be released. An Oblivion-like action RPG taken place in the LOTR universe.

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pajamas

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Let's have Lego LOTR!!! Yay!!! Imagine hobbits would only be 1 lego block thick.. lol.

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m30w_cP

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This is stupid... the game was finished before the contract had expired. I'm sure when they get to court they will bring this up.

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asteris_

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Do you think Warner Bros will release any game based on LOTR?

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BloodMist

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Well, the thing about the story is that pretty much everyone knows the story.However, you could have an RPG that has you do things outside of the main story, side stories, if you please, which is actually what LotRO does and does very well, and make a really nice single player RPG out of that.It could be open world style, or more traditional style and work very well.

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tig1979

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Pandemic who made this also made Star Wars Battlefront which was awesome, so why not replicate that with LOTR universe, i think it would have had a much better reception

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jamesinho

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I would say too many of the games revolve around the battles. It should focus more on story and adventure instead of dropping you in and out of scenes with big gaps inbetween. Something more like oblivion would be good, but with better gameplay and animation.

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psychobilly4

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Yeah i agree, they need to make an Oblivion type rpg using the LOTR license. I did enjoy the Final Fantasy type gameplay of 3rd age, i find myself going back to it on occasion. They make another similar to that and i'd be happy also.

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joesh89

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when will they just figure it out and make the rpg, i couldnt care less for lotr, but i know an rpg is a direction it needs to go in.

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-Snooze-

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BFME3 or Gtfo

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Adziboy

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Why can no-one make a good LoTR game? BFME 1 and 2 were purely excellent but grew old quick when nobody played online. I want to see some good games coming... something 3 years in the making. Another BFME would just be awesome; for both us gamers and the developer. It would sell well, thus giving money for developer, and will hopefully be a fantastic game for us gamers.

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ricardo-sene

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I'd buy this one if I had time to play it, but I don't have time even for the games I have here with me...

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Hvac0120

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@MatV47 - Good correction. Still... I think LotR is a good start for them to start appealing to a western audience. They may be able to create an amazing Western RPG with a popular license. I guess the concern is that they would be using a license whose fans can be more particular than game their typical game fans.

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Generalmojo

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lol conquest seemed rushed to me from the first place anyway, graphics sucks, and it seems like a star wars battlefront ripoff if you ask me!

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LucASPrime

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I just hope a new Real Time Strategy will rise cause we miss that very much...

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Gorkil

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I agree with -Snooze-... I want a new Battle for Midde-Earth too :(

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MatV47

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Well I never played the Conquest game but I really enjoyes BFME:II it was a good RTS. I don't know what exactly will W.Bros do to the series, but I hope it will be good. Besides alll those people saying they should give it to Bioware. Bioware have their hands full with The Old Republic MMORPG, Dragon AAAge Origins and Mass Effect 2. They just simply don't have time for LOTR. And Hvac0120 Square Enix aren't kings of RPGs they are kings of JRPGs. Lets not confuse the two different genres.

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misterstatus

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I didn't think Conquest was that bad. Sure, it could have been better, but you can say that about lots of games. Doesn't make them bad games. I thought Conquest had lots going for it.

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1357900

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Interesting... Glad LoTRO isn't EA/WB! Incredibly so!

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necronaux

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Any bets that they'll re-re-re (etc) release the movies on DVD?

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Hvac0120

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@barJerubsheol I'm no EA fan, but look at Criterion (the developers of the Burnout racing series); Burnout Paradise is an amazing game with great DLC. EA doesn't ruin every developer it consumes. As long as they continue to allow Bioware to work as they always have without rushing their products, then the games will be in as good of shape as they would without EA. Plus, EA paid too much money for them to be putting out low-quality games. I think Pandemic would still be putting out mediocre games without EA. _

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Darkness7089

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EA ruins another genre. I said it was rushed to shelves months ago, and anyone who's played it would know firmly. "Might have been", are you serious Gamespot? Hopefully LotR will get what it deserves now, but unfortunately for those of us who waited a year or more for Conquest just to be pissed on, we now have to wait even longer.

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Infinite_Access

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We need a game like battlefield... or fuels of war... or killzone.. but LOTR.. I know that was conquest semi goal.. but lets face it. It wasnt that good. 30 vs 30 (or heck many more) LOTR !!!! Either that or a Oblivion style game with online parties available.

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barJerubsheol

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Ea owns bioware now (and i believe we will begin to see a noticeable decline in quality there, just as pandemic's mercenaries), so I don't really care to see anything made by them anymore either. I'd love it if Capcom or Enix picked it up.

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Hvac0120

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It would be nice to see Bioware take on a LotR RPG, but they are currently busy with the Star Wars MMO and the sequels to Mass Effect. Not to mention any unannounced projects that might have lined up. I doubt they have time for LotR, even if they are perfect for the job. If Warner Bros does this internally, I am curious which studio would develop the product. What other developers do they have on tap? I think this is a good IP for Square Enix to pick up. They're tyring to get into the Western Market. They are the kings of RPG. It seems to me that SquareEnix and LotR are a perfect match. _

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barJerubsheol

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Yes, please take it away from Ea. I'm tired of seeing a great IP go to waste.

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svaubel

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Hmm... Conquest being rushed by EA? No surprise

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maldoror19

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All should be careful who covets the precious!

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giolinna

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I totally agree with you drand24. They can do way better then what conquest delivered. It's sutch a good story and one of the best movies ever made, please make a game that is worth the title LOTR. Stop making rushed LOTR games !

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drand24

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start the White Council back up! make an LOTR game worth playing, instead of mediocre games that only have the intent on exploiting the license and getting more money from us fans

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wkociol

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I would love to see a single player rpg - my idea is that the game should start from Rivendell where you would be able to choose one of the fellowship's characters that would carry the ring to mount doom.

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Septim007

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I think Bioware should make Lord of The Rings: The White Council, the RPG they cancelled a while back. Seriously guys, are you so stupid that you don't think we LoTR fans wouldn't absolutely devour a game like that? Mixing Bioware's talent with Lord of The Rings would be so epic. Plus they could base it on the books, so then they could actually develop it i think.

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biltros

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Good news then.

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Noctis7

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Hope they does a better job than EA. But yeah, I want another BFME game too.