The Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers Preview
GameSpot.com – July 16, 2002
Last year’s adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring to the big screen sparked newfound interest in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic literary works for an entirely new generation of people. While Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy have been standard reading material for any fan of fantasy for decades, his work has caught the attention of a much more mainstream audience since the movie’s release. Spurring that mainstream craze for all things Tolkien will be a flurry of upcoming games from Sierra Studios, Vivendi Universal, and Electronic Arts. While the first two publishers are currently working on PC and video game adaptations of Tolkien’s books, EA is the sole possessor of the movie license. And just as director Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema brought the world of Middle-earth and all its characters to life on the silver screen, so too will EA take Jackson’s creation and adapt it to a medium that even Tolkien himself couldn’t have imagined.
The first of several Lord of the Rings games from Electronic Arts is The Two Towers, which is being codeveloped by Stormfront Studios and an internal design team at EA for the PlayStation 2. Like New Line’s upcoming movie of the same name, The Two Towers will tell tale of the fellowship–Frodo, Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and Gandalf–and its struggle to destroy The One Ring and overcome the dark lord Sauron’s evil minions. The game will actually start during the events of The Fellowship of the Ring–it opens up with the attack of the ring wraiths on Weathertop, covers some of the movie’s other battle sequences, and then re-creates the events of the forthcoming The Two Towers, finally closing with the climactic clash of forces at Helm’s Deep, a battle that’s so huge that it spans the length of three in-game levels.
It’s these dramatic and all-encompassing battles from The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers that EA and Stormfront hope to capture with this game. The Two Towers first went into development about 20 months ago, but its planning stages started even earlier. “We received our first script of Fellowship in February of 2000, and we instantly knew that it was going to be a spectacular movie,” said producer Scott Evans, who sought to re-create those same spectacular scenes in the game. “We also saw some of Peter Jackson’s storyboards and a few early trailers at that time.” With the general idea of the movies in mind, Stormfront and EA went to work on The Two Towers, though their consultations with Jackson and New Line were far from over. In June of 2001, members of the two design teams traveled to New Zealand to spend a week on the movie sets and take a close look at the Weta studios, where all the special effects for the films are being made. They’ve been back several times since, and even this late in the game’s development stage, they are still regularly consulting with Jackson’s team in order to ensure that the line that separates game and movie is as fine as possible.
To say that the game resembles the movie would be an understatement. Not only are EA and Stormfront re-creating the numerous locales of Middle-earth like the Rohan Plains and Fangorn Forest with the utmost level of detail, but the game itself will contain full-motion video footage from the actual movie. What’s the big deal? The Two Towers the game comes out six weeks before The Two Towers the movie, which means that you’ll get to beat those obsessed fans who’ll camp out in front of box offices all over the country by a full month and a half. How’s that for bragging rights? You’ll have the inside skinny on all the movie’s new locations, monsters, and plot twists.
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