Press Release: Decipher LOTR Trading Game to Feature New Characters - WETA in Charge of Design

Press Release

THE LORD OF THE RINGS™ TRADING CARD GAME TO FEATURE ORIGINAL IMAGES FROM Weta WORKSHOP

THE AWARD-WINNING STUDIO THAT CREATED SPECIAL EFFECTS FOR THE FILM TRILOGY WILL DESIGN IMAGES OF CHARACTERS NOT YET SEEN EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE TCG

(Norfolk, VA--March 8th, 2004) -- Decipher announced today that Weta Workshop, the Academy Award-winning special effects studio responsible for creating many props and special effects used in New Line Cinema's The Lord of the Rings films, will create unique photographic images that will be featured on cards in The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game.  Under the terms of their agreement, Weta Workshop will cast, costume and create character images that did not appear in the films for Decipher's use in The Lord of the Rings TCG.

Current plans for character designs include:  Tom Bombadil, the enigmatic character who saved the Hobbits before they got to Bree in the first novel of the J.R.R. Tolkien epic; Goldberry, Tom Bombadil's wife; Radagast, Gandalf's wizard peer; Glorfindel, the original elf who took Frodo to Rivendell; and Elrohir and Elladan, sons of Elrond; among others.

"We are extremely honored to have Weta involved in bringing these characters to life through our trading card game," said Warren Holland, Decipher's Chief Executive Officer. 

"Richard Taylor and his team in New Zealand have created some of the most outstanding special effects in the history of film. We are looking forward to the wonders that they will create for our game, further extending Middle-earth for TCG players, as well as J.R.R. Tolkien fans and collectors."

Richard Taylor, Director of Weta Workshop, said, "Weta Workshop is very excited about the challenge of creating these wonderful new characters for Decipher's The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game. We wanted to create many of these characters for the films, but obviously the limitations of screen time prevented that from happening.  These are characters the fans have been clamoring to see and now they can exclusively through Decipher's game."  He continued, "Staying loyal to the words of J.R.R. Tolkien has been enormously important to us in everything that we have created for the film trilogy -- and we intend to do the same with the images that we will create for Decipher."

The first four cards to feature Weta's original images are bonus premium cards from The Countdown Collection: Tom Bombadil, Goldberry, Radagast, and Glorfindel.  The Countdown Collection is a retail promotion that began in August; the promotion offers players and collectors the opportunity to earn 18 exclusive cards, a collector's binder designed to house the cards earned through the promotion, and the four bonus cards bearing Weta's exclusive designs that will ship this spring.  The next Weta original image cards will appear in the game in 2004.

Creating almost every aspect of Middle-earth, Weta Workshop designed and produced over 1,200 hand-made suits of armor, 2,000 weapons, miniatures, and prosthetic feet and ears that helped create the authenticity manifested in the films. In addition, Weta Workshop was responsible for the creation of 12 major creatures, including such computer-generated characters as Gollum and Treebeard.

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