Two Rings To Bind Them All
EA and Vivendi Universal battle over Lord of the Rings license
With Peter Jackson's big budget take on The Fellowship Of The Ring hitting cinemas this week, attention has once again been focused on the inevitable video game tie-ins. Electronic Arts today reiterated the fact that it has "an exclusive deal with New Line Cinema to create games based on the upcoming The Lord Of The Rings movies". Unfortunately this exclusive deal isn't quite as exclusive as EA might have liked, as just last week it was Vivendi Universal reminding us that they had the exclusive rights to publish games based on the Lord Of The Rings. Of course, the truth is that both companies have an exclusive license - Electronic Arts will be developing games based on the sure-fire hit movies, while Vivendi Universal went straight to the Shires and got rights to the original novels from Tokein's estate. Given that relations between the movie makers and Tolkein's heirs have been somewhat strained, this is perhaps not too surprising. As a result both companies are now planning to release Lord of the Rings games for a variety of platforms, although neither of them had a game ready in time for the Fellowship's cinematic release. Instead EA are hoping to cash in next autumn, when the Fellowship will no doubt be released on DVD and interest will be rising again in anticipation of The Two Towers arriving in cinemas, while Vivendi have yet to confirm their release plans. Whichever interpretation of The Ring comes out on top, gamers can at least look forward to an entertaining battle between the two licensees, and hopefully the result of this competition will be better games from both sides.