by John Gaudiosi
Electronic Arts has signed a contract with New Line Cinema to develop a series of games based on “The Lord of the Rings” motion picture franchise, an Electronic Arts spokesman said. The games are in development for multiple gaming platforms. Terms of the multiyear deal were not disclosed.
New Line executive vp worldwide licensing and merchandising David Imhoff confirmed the Electronic Arts videogame license and said an official announcement will be made shortly.
Riot Entertainment has been awarded exclusive handheld wireless interactive game rights for the films and will debut the first graphical and text “Lord of the Rings” products this summer for personal data assistants and cell phones.
Electronic Arts will face competition at retail from Vivendi Universal Publishing’s Sierra Studio, which will develop and release multiple console and PC videogames based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” literary works over the next eight years. The first 3-D adventure game, “The Fellowship of the Ring,” will ship early next year for Microsoft’s Xbox. The game’s release will likely allow Sierra to take advantage of the home video release of New Line’s “The Fellowship of the Ring,” which bows theatrically at Christmas.
“We plan to release titles on all major gaming platforms in order to make the interactive versions of Tolkien’s great works available to as many gamers as possible,” Vivendi Universal Games CEO Hubert Joly said.
New Line will release “The Two Towers” at Christmas 2002 and “The Return of the King” at Christmas 2003, which gives a large window of marketing opportunities for any videogames based on the books or the movies. Consumers will have a choice of a line of “Lord of the Rings” video games based on the books from Vivendi Universal Publishing and a line based on the movies derived from the books by Electronic Arts.
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