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GCN: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

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Metal Mario
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GCN: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Post by Metal Mario » Fri Apr 25, 2003 3:56 pm

*Source: Planet Gamecube

Electronic Arts officially announced today the development of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance, and the PC. All versions of The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King game will be released worldwide in fall 2003 under the EA GAMES brand.

Based on New Line Cinema's upcoming film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King video game will let players journey through multiple gameplay paths, taking control of the motion picture trilogy's heroes including Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Sam, and Frodo. Set in all of the breathtaking locations from the upcoming movie, The Return of the King's third person gameplay will include immersive action and epic adventure elements based in rich, interactive levels. An all-new multiplayer co-op mode will let players form their own Fellowship before embarking on their journey through Middle-earth.

Under an exclusive licensing agreement with New Line Cinema, EA has the rights to create and publish interactive entertainment games based on the movie trilogy. Currently under development, The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King game is the second installment in a series of licensed The Lord of the Rings games from EA. The console and PC versions are currently being developed by EA's Redwood Shores Studio. The Game Boy Advance version is being developed by Griptonite Games, an Amaze Entertainment Studio. For more information on EA's The Lord of the Rings games, visit the official product website at http://lordoftherings.eagames.com.

The Lord of the Rings, The Return of the King film from New Line Cinema will be released in theaters nationwide on December 17, 2003. For more information about The Lord of the Rings movies, please go to [url="http://www.lordoftherings.net.[/i"]]www.lordoftherings.net.[/url]

[ April 25, 2003, 02:57 PM: Message edited by: Metal Mario ]

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Post by Fishmael » Sat Apr 26, 2003 1:44 am


Yippe ki yay!! Wokka
I have no sig.0_0

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Metal Mario
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Post by Metal Mario » Sat Apr 26, 2003 9:40 am

Originally posted by Yoshimaster sez Get N or get out:
Jeez, MM, you sure posted a lot of topics today. ;)
It was a big news day. News is bound to be rampant over the next few weeks due to the impending E3.

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Post by Metal Mario » Sat Apr 26, 2003 9:47 am

*Source: IGN

In an announcement made to IGN just moments ago, Electronic Arts' sequel to the ultra-popular movie-licensed action hit The Two Towers is now officially underway. Developed by the same team that assembled last year's excellent effort, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King could be set to be everything the last title was, and more. Slated for appearances this fall on every major platform, including the GameCube, Xbox, PlayStation 2, and PC (sorry, Mac users -- none for you!), the new action/adventure is already being hyped as the most accurate rendition of Middle Earth since the movies themselves. That fact that there's an all-new multiplayer co-op mode has us hyped up as it is.

But what can we expect from Return of the King that we didn't experience before? And what elements from the previous game have been retained to keep returning fans hungry for more? To get those answers, we spoke with EA's Lord of the Rings Executive Producer, Neil Young, a man who has previously worked on the aforementioned Two Towers, Majestic, Ultima Online, and one of our personal favorites: Wing Commander. Here's what Neil had to say:

IGN: After the success of EA's first Lord of the Rings game, The Two Towers, what suggestions did you take from players and critics to implement in this new title?

Neil Young: We felt like Two Towers was a good game, it was very well executed on a very focused thread.

IGN: What kind of game is this? A beat-'em-up, an RPG, or a straight action title?

Neil: Big action, little adventure is probably the best way to describe the game. Like last year, we've kept the concept of experience points that get converted into a currency to purchase upgrades; although, there is a greater differentiation between the characters this time out.

IGN: Which characters can you play? What are some of the differences between them? Like, for instance, what's it like to play Gandalf as opposed to Sam or Frodo?

Neil: You play Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Frodo, Sam and two to four hidden characters. Characters are differentiated by their moves, upgrades, weaponry, stats, and of course, the environment that they're operating in. Frodo or Sam are not as expert at dispatching Orcs in Cirith Ungol as Gandalf would be at Minas Tirith and of course, they also don't have Magic on their side.

IGN: How have the characters from the first game improved? What can we do with Legolas, Gimli and Aragorn that we couldn't do the first time around?

Neil: One big change this year is how we're making the environments relevant to gameplay. This adds a lot, characters can operate machinery (firing a catapult for example, or cranking a winch) which helps them progress through the levels. Imagine Sam cutting a rope that unleashes a loaded catapult at a wall that collapses a bridge, sending orcs flying and then, as Sam runs to the now unguarded entrance, the bridge collapses around him. The environment will allow for some pretty cool interactions.

IGN: This second game looks worlds better than the first. The character models are more realistic, the texture work has improved and the levels appear larger. What kind of work -- be it low-level programming or a better understanding of the particular systems -- has been achieved to get the game to look so much better?

Neil: Thanks. We're very proud of the look of the game. There's no one answer to your question, but in short we've taken assets directly from the film this year (last year was more of an artists impression) and we've developed some new lighting techniques to allow the characters to look richer. We are pushing 2x the number of polys & 2x the texture density this year and we used the entire stunt team from the film for all player & non-player character human characters and motion captured there movements. We are lucky enough to have some great artists working on the team.

IGN: From what we understand, the LOTR: Return of the King provides gamers with the chance to follow the various parties along their unique paths. Can you give us some detail of how the branching system works?

Neil: The Return of the King really follows three arcs through the story; that of Gandalf, that of Aragorn, Legolas & Gimli and lastly that of Frodo, Sam & Gollum. We allow the player to explore these arcs through the gameplay, following the paths of these characters through the story. There are certain gates that prevent the player from progressing that might break the fiction, but that motivates them to essentially bring a party of characters through the game to its conclusion.

IGN: LOTR: The Two Towers did a brilliant job of integrating movie assets into the game through seamless cut scenes. How has the development team integrated the story, and the movie assets, into the game this time around? Does it work the same way or are there improvements or changes?

Neil: Last year we intentionally didn't try to tell a story, we rather loosely connected and set up the battles for the heroes. This year we're taking the storytelling forward, and we're certainly transitioning from film to game and back to film as we did last year. One important addition this year is the concept of adding to the user's comprehension of the story that will be told in theaters by focusing in on some specific themes that may make you look differently not just at the Return of the King, but also Fellowship and The Two Towers.

IGN: The first game blended the upgrade system of Devil May Cry into a kind of Double Dragon-style beat-'em-up. How has the upgrade system changed or improved this time? Please provide examples of some of the kinds of improvements a character can make to his or her move set.

Neil: We're not discussing that right now.

IGN: Are there more weapons this time around? Can Aragorn use more than just a bow and arrow and a sword? Can he use more than one sword?

Neil: Yes!

IGN: Please tell us about the level design. How has it changed? Are there wider, bigger environments? Is there backtracking? Or are there levels the same linear passages like before?

Neil: The Levels are both bigger and wider (at least two times the size of the largest Two Towers levels) and we also stream our geometry and textures from the disc so the game has a much higher density of imagery. Two Towers had arenas and A-2-B levels. Return of the King has bigger versions of these, but the criteria to accomplish levels is often not simply just getting to the end or surviving long enough. They more often involve accomplishing objectives in an order of the player's choosing.

IGN: Can you describe some of the enemies that make an appearance here that weren't in the Two Towers?

Neil: Obviously we have Orcs & Uruk'hai. There are also Nazgul, Fell Beasts, Mumakil, The Army of the Dead, Haradrim, Mountain Trolls to name but a few.

IGN: Please tell us how some of the orcs, trolls and goblins have improved graphically.

Neil: See my last answer for that. But in short we're using the models, motion data & textures from the films as a basis. There are no goblins in Return of the King.

IGN: Has the enemy AI grown any smarter from the previous game? If so, how?

Neil: Yes. (No specifics were given)

IGN: What kinds of bosses should we expect to play?

Neil: We're not discussing that right now.

IGN: Lastly, The Two Towers was filled with excellent movie assets, character unlockables, and goodies. What kinds of unlockables are there in this game?

Neil: Expect everything you saw last year, and more!

IGN would like to thank Neil Young, Electronic Arts, and everyone involved for their time and effort. From what we've seen so far, this game looks like everything the first one was, and more. We expect this one to be a major player in 2003!

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