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EA Rings Tolkien Game Rights

Electronic Arts announced that it has been granted the rights to develop games based on J.R.R. Tolkien's epic literary fiction, THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Since 2001, EA has developed games based exclusively on New Line's Academy Award winning theatrical productions of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, as depicted by Peter Jackson. The expansion of the rights allows EA to introduce players to depths of the fiction never before explored in an EA game. The company also revealed the first details of two new games in the blockbuster THE LORD OF THE RINGS series; THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH II and THE LORD OF THE RINGS TACTICS (working title). With the new games, fans will be able to step into a world that looks like the films, but experience characters, environments and battles that have been inspired by the books.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH II is the next PC installment. This sequel title will introduce players to depths of the fiction never before explored by EA, in accordance with an agreement with The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises that grants EA the rights to develop games based on the books, in addition to a separate agreement that allows for games based on the New Line films. Expanding on THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH, the new RTS game will allow players to engage in heated battles with Elven and Dwarven armies plus heroes and creatures that have never been seen in a THE LORD OF THE RINGS film.

"The new rights have unlocked the world of Middle-earth for THE LORD OF THE RINGS and strategy game fans alike. We're building a deeper, richer, bigger game based on the #1 RTS from the previous holiday season in North America with new fantasy races, places, heroes, and battles from both the books and films," said Mike Verdu, senior producer of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH at EA.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS TACTICS for the PSP will put players in the universe of Middle-earth from the books and films and allow them to lead the Fellowship or take control of the forces of Shadow. The tactical strategy game features player-customized characters and a rich system of items, upgrades and skills. Players can guard their heroes, seize high ground, set ambushes and trap enemies while fighting battles across famous locations of the books and films to determine the future of Middle-earth. THE LORD OF THE RINGS TACTICS will allow them to pit their customized heroes against up to four other players via WiFi. A unique, simultaneous turn-taking system allows for fast-paced play.

"Now that we are expanding our LORD OF THE RINGS universe to encompass Tolkien's books, we'll be able to combine the visual impact of the films with those complex stories," said Steve Gray, exec producer of THE LORD OF THE RINGS TACTICS at EA. "The RPG genre, in particular, is a great medium for story telling. We are delving into unexplored depths of Tolkien's works to deliver new, compelling and immersive experiences. THE LORD OF THE RINGS TACTICS gives RPG fans a first look at how we will do this."

Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTS, EA, EA SPORTS BIG and POGO. In fiscal 2005, EA posted revenues of $3.1 billion and had 31 titles that sold more than one million copies. More information can be found at info.ea.com.

The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises is the holder of worldwide motion picture, legitimate stage, merchandising and other rights in J.R.R. Tolkien's literary works THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT. Tolkien Enterprises has been producing and licensing films, stage productions and merchandise based on Tolkien's works for almost 30 years. Its headquarters are in Berkeley, California, and its website may be found at www.tolkien-ent.com.

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