To tie-in with Peter Jackson’s upcoming film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment has announced plans for a new multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game set within the Tolkien universe. In development at Monolith Productions, Guardians of Middle-Earth will be available this Fall, ahead of the film’s December 14, 2012 opening.
According to Samantha Ryan, Senior Vice President of Production and Development at WBIE, the company hopes that the downloadable title for both Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network will recreate the success of MOBAs on PC, such as DOTA and League of Legends, in the console market: “The MOBA genre is wildly popular with PC players and we are excited to bring it to consoles through the lore of Middle-Earth. The heroes and villains of Middle-Earth are crafted in a way that perfectly intersects with MOBA game features, allowing the development team to create guardians with deep skills and abilities for gamers to master.”
The game will feature five versus five engagements, either with 10 live players or with AI combatants, as well as standard MOBA traits such as voice-chat and in-game currency. Although there will initially be 20 characters to choose from, including Gandalf the Grey, Sauron, Gollum and Thrain II, father to Thorin, more will be added as the release date of the film draws nearer.