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New publisher for Middle-Earth Online

Developer secures rights previously owned by Vivendi, and gets permission to bang out a load of other Tolkien nonsense in the process.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Vivendi Universal has signed over the rights to publish forthcoming MMORPG Middle-Earth Online.

The game will now be published by Turbine, which is currently developing the game, after an agreement was reached with Vivendi and Tolkien Enterprises. It also means that Turbine now has the rights to develop and publish other massively multiplayer online games based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

"Together with Tolkien Enterprises, we intend to produce the best possible representation of these outstanding literary works and ensure along and exciting future for Middle-Earth online," said Turbine bigwig Jeffrey Anderson.

An estimated 100,000 people have already registered at www.middle-earthonline.com. "As a result of this commitment, Turbine's production team is considering changes to make the game even better than before," said a statement.

Turbine is also the owner of the Asheron's Call franchise, which it purchased from Microsoft in 2004, and is working on the first Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG. Middle-Earth Online is due to launch in Europe, the US, China Japan and Korea some time in 2006.

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