Warner Bros. Acquires Film and Literary Rights to The Lord of the Rings, Announces Aragorn’s Quest

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The Lord of the Rings trilogy is now in the hands of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment — as far as developing games goes that is — with the publisher today reaching a long-term deal with The Saul Zaentz Company and New Line Productions for the literary and film rights to the beloved fantasy franchise.

Rights secured, WB is ready to milk the brand for everything it’s worth, with plans already in place to publish “multiple games across many genres designed to appeal to a wide range of unique gamers, including hard-core RPG fans and families.” The first game to be released on the agreement falls into the family-friendly category. And no, it’s not LEGO Lord of the Rings, although it does sound cut from the same mold.

The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest is a third-person action/adventure game in development for the Wii by Headstrong Games and the DS, PSP and PS2 by TT Fusion (the team behind the DS versions of the LEGO Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Batman games) for retail release in the fall. The game is set to take place after the War of the Ring with Aragorn and Samwise Gamgee returning to Hobbiton to a huge party honoring their service. As the new mayor of Hobbiton, Sam begins telling children stories of Aragorn’s bravery, and you will take up arms as the ranger formerly known as Strider and relive his most important adventures throughout The Lord of the Rings trilogy, as told by Sam.

Co-op play will be supported in the Wii version, with a second player able to hop into the game and lend Aragorn a helping hand as Gandalf. But strangely the game announcement doesn’t mention the DS, PSP and PS2 version having such support, so I guess that means they’ll be single-player only.

“The Lord of the Rings franchise is world renowned for its captivating adventures, and we are creating new experiences in the game space designed to appeal to a wide array of consumer tastes from core to casual,” said Martin Tremblay, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest is the first of many different types of games we will be developing with the film and literary rights. It is also the first game allowing kids and their families to interact in their favorite locations and stories from The Lord of the Rings with accessible gameplay.”

“We are looking forward to continuing The Lord of the Rings’ amazing legacy with new videogames that capture and expand upon elements from the trilogy,” said Fredrica Drotos, Business Affairs, The Saul Zaentz Company. “The first title with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest, is set in a colorful, action-filled rendition of Middle-earth that will appeal to new and dedicated fans.”

So watcha think? Are you game for some casual LOTR action or hanging your head in despair at the “kid-ification” of such a treasured franchise?

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Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!